I have come to terms with the fact that I do not have time to write long, well-thought-out blog posts with beautiful photos.
It’s probably a stretch to say that I’ve ever written really well-thought-out blog posts with beautiful photos anyway.
I still feel sad and a little (just a little) bit resentful about it, but I feel almost like I’m being CALLED to write something here, even if it isn’t perfect.
So, rather than continue to stew about it and post nothing, I’m going to try sharing the stuff I’m thinking about, even if it isn’t quite the way I want it to be. I know that the message and mission of Radical Motherhood is important, and I’m praying for guidance on how exactly I’m supposed to share it.
So. I’ve been thinking a lot about trusting God lately. It’s an idea that’s pretty relevant to our current times, and it’s especially relevant to moms who are considering leaving a fulfilling career and income to stay home with their kids.
If you know that God’s got your back, it’s a lot easier to make tough decisions. You know, like the decision to cut your family’s income in half, spend all day every day with your children, and form a whole new identity apart from your work.
For most of my life, I’ve thought of trusting God as kind of a hope against all odds that he will stop bad things from happening, if I can manage to anticipate them and pray about them first. God, please keep my kids from getting sick. Please protect my husband’s job. Or, on the other side of it, as a way of getting what I want from God, if I’m good enough and pray hard enough, and my motivations are pure enough. God, I said a Rosary today. Please heal my friend.
That kind of trust never really felt like trust. Instead of worrying less, because I was trusting God to take care of me, I worried more. Was I praying correctly? Was I praying enough? Why would God answer my prayers, if even the saints had prayers go seemingly unanswered? How do I know whether God wants the same thing that I want, and if he doesn’t want what I want, am I ticking him off by continuing to ask for it? Am I actually changing his mind when I pray for something to happen? Is that even possible?
It doesn’t take much to prove that God allows hard things to happen to the people who love him. Look at the lives of the disciples. Look at the lives of the saints. Heck, look at the lives of the Christians in our own times. Misery and tragedy touch all of us, even the best of us. God asks a lot of his followers, and he tells us repeatedly that he does all of it for our own good. Sometimes, we suffer, and that’s part of his plan for us.
What I’ve learned is that, while God does want to know the desires of our heart, prayer isn’t about convincing God to do things for us, or to spare us from suffering. Trusting God doesn’t mean that you trust him to protect you from every bad thing, or to make everything easy for you, or to give you what you ask for. It means acknowledging that he’s smarter than we are, and he loves us even more than we love ourselves.
So what does it mean to trust God? Simple. It means that you surrender. You allow him to be God. You spend more time asking what he wants than explaining what you want. When a prayer goes unanswered, you trust that he has something better in store for you. When you suffer, you trust that he will give you the strength to keep going. You have confidence that whatever is going on in your life, he is using it for your good – your eternal good.
You can’t change God’s mind. You don’t need to. He’s never wrong. His plans are never bad. If he wants something for us, and we want something different, the odds are 100% that we are the ones who need to change our minds. To me, that revelation was such a huge relief. I can still tell God what I want to happen, and because he loves me, he will listen. But I don’t have to worry about trying to control everything by praying for it. All I have to pray is that God’s will be done, and that he gives me the grace to align my will with his.
If you’ve been asking God to protect you from something, or to deliver something good, or to make something easier, I challenge you to stop, right now, and ask for something else instead: Ask him to help you to trust him. Ask him to give you the grace you need to do what he wants you to do.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a stay-at-home mom, but it seems like there are too many obstacles and too many sacrifices involved, ask God to strengthen your will – so you can break your attachment to your current lifestyle, to sharpen your mind – so you can come up with a transition plan that works, and soften your heart toward your vocation as a wife and mother – so you can put first things first without resentment or bitterness.