It’s a desire that is expressed in many ways. “I want to help.” “I do it myself.” “Let me do it.” When these words come from my three-year-old, I have to admit that I usually feel a sense of dread. Because these words, if I indulge them, are usually followed by splattered brownie batter, laundry that requires refolding, or a simple task that takes ten times longer to complete than I had anticipated.
But I read something recently that changed my entire perception of these words:
“You may hear Jesus a hundred times a day, saying to you, ‘Let me do it.’ In your difficulties, in your problems, in all those things in your daily life which are sometimes so difficult, so distressing, when you ask yourself, ‘What shall I do? How shall I do it?’ listen to Him saying to you, ‘Let me do it.’ And then answer Him, ‘O Jesus, I thank you for all things.’ And it will be the most beautiful dialogue of love between a soul and the all-powerful and all-loving God.” –Fr. Jean C.J. D’Elbee, I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Therese’s theology is so applicable to us mothers! It’s easy to feel that our lives don’t live up to the worldview of “success.” Maybe they don’t. But when we forget what type of success we’re supposed to be striving for, all we have to do is see Jesus in our children, hear Him in their voices, and surrender ourselves to Him through their hearts.
Our days can be overwhelming. The messes, the piles, the crying, the tantrums, the exclamations of “Look at me!” and the drawn out “Mooooooommy!” that seems to come every 30 seconds. There are many days when we want to just get everything done, get the kids to bed, and sit down!
But Jesus isn’t calling us to only get the laundry done, do the dishes, and resolve arguments and tantrums. He’s calling us to grow in patience, kindness, and gentleness. He’s calling us to greater love and unity with our family and with Him. He’s calling us to heaven.
So when I start to have thoughts of “What shall I do? How shall I do it?” as I list off my seemingly insurmountable tasks for the day, I try to hear Jesus when my three-year-old says “Let me do it.”
When I surrender my laundry, my cooking, and my cleaning, it is the first step in surrendering my heart. When I favor relationships over chores, Jesus steps in and takes over. He multiplies my time. He makes little miracles happen within the humble walls of my home. Like my three-year-old spinning an elaborate story about a dream she had. Or my eleven-year-old sharing his hopes and dreams for the future. Or my seven-year-old finally opening up about a worry that has been weighing on her mind. I build my relationships, and somehow the truly necessary work still gets done. I let Jesus in, and He does it.
It is when we hear Jesus in the simple conversations of our day that the dialogue between us and our children becomes that beautiful dialogue between us and our all-merciful, all-loving, all-powerful God. And there is no sweeter success than that.
Photo credit: mccartyv via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain