I was never one of those people to go pray in front of an abortion clinic. Sometimes I felt like a bad Catholic, since the thing to do at Franciscan University of Steubenville was to do just that, but I just never felt like that was my thing.
Instead, I was involved in youth ministry. I felt that if we could teach the message of real love and chastity and the beauty of life and marriage to teens, then we would have less abortions to worry about anyway. In youth ministry, girls ministry and chastity were the topics I was most passionate about. In it, I saw my part in spreading the culture of life.
Then I got married, had kids, and left youth ministry. I’m not about to bring my 2 ½ and 1 year old to pray a rosary in front of an abortion clinic (if you do, you rock but I’m not going there). I can’t donate my stuff to a crisis pregnancy center because, well, I’m still using all of it. But I have been encouraging other women to embrace their vocation to life as mothers, and most recently this week I realized my part in the pro-life movement is being a witness to life by simply being a mom.
What do I mean? I mean, instead of being all frazzled and running around yelling at my kids all day, I can ask the Holy Spirit to bring peace into the chaos. I have two kids ages 2 and 1, and I am clearly pregnant again. In public, this brings on a lot of uncomfortable stares from strangers. But instead of being embarrassed, I want to be a witness for life and show the joy of life with children to strangers, instead of the stress.
This morning I took the kids to the indoor playplace at our mall to run off a little energy. Instead of sitting there on my phone while they ran around or being stressed about trying to keep an eye on both at the same time, I asked for peace and just went with it. As I played with them, I saw strangers smile at us instead of give the usual uncomfortable stares. I felt the peace of being in the moment with my children,
Mind you, this is just day one of intentionally asking for peace in my mothering and I definitely can’t stay that I’m a peaceful, stress-free mom all the time (or ever, usually). But I know God can give me the grace if I keep asking! We had a speaker at our moms’ group last week who is pregnant with their 9th child and their 8th boy. She gave all of us younger mothers so much encouragement as we watched her speak with peace and joy about ways to raise your kids in the faith. I want to be like her. I want less stress and more peace and in doing so I can be a powerful witness to the culture of life.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the story of Martha and Mary. In Luke 10:40 it says that Martha was “burdened with much serving.” Sounds like the story of every mom’s life. Jesus says to her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.” Like, feeding my family and paying bills and stopping fights and doing laundry and changing diapers and cleaning up. But Jesus goes on to say, “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part.” Mary, who was sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him speak. “Mary” can be you and I, as moms, sitting at the feet of our children and basking in their glorious, messy, and chaotic joy. It is witnessing to the presence of God in each little child that deserves a chance to live.