28 'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'
Yesterday's gospel reading (Matthew 11: 25-30)... God's perfect timing once again. I sat listening to message of giving our sorrows and burdens to God... and taking up His yoke of LOVE and FORGIVENESS. Delivered with simplicity, the words have settled in my heart. I need to get better at remembering that burdens and labors are part of life, and that it's OK to be at peace while I work through them. My success at this ebbs and flows, perhaps because I've been trying share the burden with my God but haven't replaced its weight with the absolute beauty and feather-lightness of Jesus' love and mercy. When it comes to raising children, I struggle so intensely with what is looks like to give them grace and serve them in Jesus' image. Sometimes I wish Jesus been married with a brood of little ones. What I wouldn't give to have that concrete image of him correcting children. He loved and welcomed then, no doubt, and taught extensively about Christian family and parenting. In the midst of defiance, tantrums, or disobedience when our kids don't seem to be responding to love and mercy, I loose sight of all the lessons. I keep correcting with love as best I can, but sometimes I feel like a pushover and wonder if I should be yelling or punishing more harshly or if I'm at all cut out for the task of mothering. In the midst of all the struggle, I forget that marriage and family is my calling. I don't stop to pray in the middle of getting an eight year old to brush his teeth. I shake my head and wonder why in the world we're STILL struggling with this after eight years of teeth brushing, and I never think to offer it up in the moment.
These children are not my own, they are God's, and I am to be an instrument of His love to them, just like our priest was a vessel for God's message yesterday.
The Christian family is a community of faith, hope and charity. I need to get better at keeping that image in the front of my mind and demonstrating it to my children.
When I can let go of the heavy, helplessness of our trials and channel Christ's love and forgiveness, parenting gets simpler, more joyful, and (go figure) more effective. God's good like that. After the closing song yesterday, I knelt with Miriam and prayed that God would provide the grace we need to take up Jesus' yoke of gentleness and humbleness of heart.