Inspired to be the Heart of the Home

Lessons from Mary: how I reconciled with “A mother is the heart of the home.” 

My birthday was coming up and I had big plans.

I was going to do all the things I wanted to do for me. It was going to be a whole day of me-ness. I planned to take off first thing in the morning, meet a friend for breakfast, do some shopping by myself, have a nice lunch in a coffee shop, maybe even do some writing, and come home to a quiet dinner with my husband.

I had been feeling overwhelmed with meeting everybody else’s needs, and I was sick of it. For once I wanted to just do what I want. To not have to answer to anyone else. I was becoming more and more short-tempered. Less engaged in effective discipline. More shouty than problem-solvey.

So I was going to escape. For an entire day. Happy birthday to me.

But then, less than 24 hours until birthday time, I flipped. My frustration and dissatisfaction came to a head. I lost it on my kids, my husband, the world. I shouted and screamed and cried and longed to get away.

And then it ended.

I felt so sorry for the way I behaved. I knew I was going about this all wrong. That flip-flopping between bare tolerance of the world around me and running off to a world of my own was not the right way to live.

I knew that my kids weren’t the problem, even though I was treating them that way.

The problem was in my heart. The problem was in the way I was detaching, pulling away from my vocation.

So I cancelled my me-day.

I apologized to my family.

And I decided to spend the day, not running away from my vocation, but leaning in to it.

Let us pray

“A mother is the heart of the home.”

Thanks, St. Mother Teresa. No pressure whatsoever.

My Jesus, for so long, I’ve fought this concept. The stress and pressure it laid on me. How could I, as a mother, have the full responsibility of being the heart of my home? The peace of my home? I’d much rather it be a cooperative effort.

Or push the blame off on my children. That’d be nice. If they would just be quiet, stop fighting, clean up their messes, our home would be more peaceful. More orderly. More loving.


“A mother is the heart of the home.” Thanks, St. Mother Teresa. No pressure whatsoever. Tweet this.


But I’ve come to see the role I play as heart of the home all too clearly.

Especially with my daughter.

She absorbs my moods and mirrors them back at me. When I’m stressed, she tantrums more. When I’m happy and laughing, she’s in a more playful mood. When I’m calm and peaceful, and maybe even take an afternoon nap, she curls up beside me.

When I suffered from depression, she struggled greatly with irrational moods. Now that I’m healed and well, we can work through conflict.

And I see it in my other kids and my husband as well, though not to such an astonishing degree. My baseline mood truly plays a huge part in determining the baseline mood of the entire family.

The state of my heart – its joy, peace, or discontent, is the heart of our family. But how do I find peace in my heart?

Nothing in this world can satisfy my heart.

Dear Jesus, when my eyes are turned inward on myself, I’m unsettled. When I seek to satisfy my own wants and needs, I find no peace.

And when I turn my eyes to the world around me, I’m unsettled then too. When I look to my family, social media, dark chocolate, to meet the needs of my heart, I find no peace.

If peace is what I want, I must turn my eyes to You, Jesus.

Mary’s peaceful heart

It sounds beautiful. Keep my eyes on You, Jesus. But I’m not a mystical person. What does this mean, practically? How can I do this in my life, every day, every moment? How can I walk away from this time of prayer, and yet continue to keep my eyes on You?

Who can show me how it’s done?

Mary.

My mother. And the Mother of God.

She alone attained perfect peace in her heart amidst a crazy life of motherhood. An unexpected, out-of-wedlock pregnancy. A week long trip on donkey at nine months pregnant. An emergency flight to Egypt to avoid the murder of her Son.

A heart filled with peace.

How did she do it?

Not in an abstract way. Not only through times of formal prayer. But in every moment of her life, she turned her eyes to You. Her life was entirely centered on You. Devoted, not just to knowing You, praying to You, conversing with You. But to living for You. To remaining in union with You.

Her life was centered on following Your will for her perfectly in her vocation. In all the tasks You called her to, great or small.

And it's in here, not out there, that I find myself. Here in being loved by my God, and sharing that love with my family. My heart is in this beautiful, noisy, chaos of love I call my home. My heart is in my vocation. My heart belongs to Christ.

Mary cooperated perfectly with Your will. When You sent the Angel Gabriel to announce Your Incarnation, she said yes. Not a halfhearted yes. Not a concession or permission. But a yes of total giving. A yes of surrender of her very self.

And not a one-time yes, either.

A yes that was repeated every moment of her life thereafter. A yes that was lived in growing and nourishing You throughout her pregnancy. A yes that was lived in every day of raising You.

From the moment You were conceived in her womb, to the moment You died on the cross, Mary never stopped giving her yes.

She opened her heart to hear Your holy will.

Then she opened her life to put it in practice.

You came to life within her. Both through Your grace, and through Your Incarnation. You lived in her womb for nine months. You lived in her soul every moment of her life.

She brought You into her family. To live as a baby, a child, a teen, and an adult. And to live through her peace. Her presence. Her motherly heart.

Your Holy Family was steeped in peace and joy. Even when the bad things of life came Your way. Because of Mary. Because of the way she lived in union with You. Because of the faithfulness with which she pursued her vocation every day.

A Temple in my Heart

And You call me to this same devotion to my vocation. You call me to find the same peace and joy. To have the same rest and fulfillment in my heart.

I can carry You within me, physically, in the amazing gift of Holy Eucharist. Your life, Your very self, given as my food, brings the life of Your grace into my heart once again.

But, just like Your life within Mary didn’t end when her pregnancy was over, neither does Your life leave me when 15 minutes pass after communion. When the material substance of the Host is completely dissolved.

Your grace continued to grow in Mary in a very real and fruitful way, and it grows in me too.

She held Your presence dearly in her heart.

And I can too.

My heart can be a Temple of You, my God. I can say yes to Your Presence. And like Mary, my yes isn’t a one-time yes. I can say yes continually. Every moment, of every day.

My vocation is my yes.

At the time of my marriage, I said yes. Yes to my husband, my marriage, my motherhood. Yes to Your plans for me. But I can’t let my yes stop there. I must continue to say yes to my vocation all the time.

I can create a Temple in my heart, like Mary did. There, You can live. You can reign.


My vocation is my yes. Tweet this.


And I can be grounded in You. In Your peace and Your joy. Nothing can shake me, when I live for You. Nothing can harm me, when I’m following Your will.

You satisfy my heart.

In all the ups and downs of life, by seeking and following Your will, I find myself fulfilled.

I don’t have to run away. I have to run towards.

To run back to You and Your plans for me. To ground myself in Your calling. To remember that my vocation isn’t a burden, but a gift. And to respond to that gift with the gift of my whole self. The gift of my constant yes.

Give me the grace to live my vocation, Jesus. To live as wife and mother. To live as Your faithful servant, Your friend. And to live it well.

Amen.

Restoring Peace In My Home

When my shouting, crying, overwhelmed mommy-tantrum subsided, I paused. I stepped into the bathroom to wash my face. And I let go of my birthday plans. I loosened my grip on the me-day I had planned.

I knew I still needed a way to find time to relax, to step away, to recharge. But not this way. Not by running away. Not by retreating from my family.

And I walked out of the bathroom, eyes still puffy, voice still hoarse, determined to lean-in to my vocation. My family.

Instead of sticking the kids in front of a movie to veg out for a couple hours, we sat down on the rug and played Legos together as a family. We said the Rosary and colored.

We went to bed. And woke up again.

I didn’t go out to breakfast with my friend. I cooked eggs for my kids instead. I didn’t go shopping on my own. I sat on the couch and read books to my kids instead. And instead of a quiet dinner prepared by my husband, we had dinner together as a family. Dinner that my children helped cook.

I spent the whole day being present to them. Living my vocation, for the sake of Him who gave it to me.

My peace was restored. I apologized for my outbursts. I was swallowed up in hugs and feel-better-kisses from my kids. I was forgiven by my husband.

The peace is here. In my heart. It was placed there by my King, Jesus. I find it when I live my vocation. When I become who I am, for His sake. When I accept and embrace the purpose He put me here for.

And the peace is spreading.

It’s born in my heart, but it grows in my family. It radiates from me, encompassing those closest to me.

I am the heart of my home.

And it’s in here, not out there, that I find myself. Here in the very real living of my daily life. Here in being present to my kids. Here in being loved by my God, and sharing that love with my family.

It’s not out there in the me-day I fantasized about. It’s not in the shopping and the writing and the quiet.

My heart is in this beautiful, noisy, chaos of love I call my home.

My heart is in my vocation.

My heart belongs to Christ.

And it's in here, not out there, that I find myself. Here in being loved by my God, and sharing that love with my family. My heart is in this beautiful, noisy, chaos of love I call my home. My heart is in my vocation. My heart belongs to Christ.

My heart is in this beautiful, noisy, chaos of love I call my home.

My heart is in my vocation.

My heart belongs to Christ.

Tweet this.

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great post

Heart of the Home Pinterest

4 thoughts on “Inspired to be the Heart of the Home

  1. Such a great reminder to turn to Mary as our example! A loving, brilliant, gentle example of motherhood. She, no doubt, struggled to “juggle it all,” but she always pointed back to (and continues to point back to) God in living her vocations

    Beautiful thoughts written – thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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