Gentleness….Beginning With Ourselves


by Leane Vdp

I live around a world of women who have a purpose and an ideal.

We are striving to be noble women. You are most likely one who is doing the same. We are intent on living up to our vocation and making the best of it. We roll up our sleeves and get it done!

We are always on the lookout on how to improve ourselves, our family and our spiritual lives.

We look up the most healthy ways to feed our children. We get a goat, we buy coconut oil, we start a kombucha mushroom. One child has to be gluten free and you need to give up your beloved dairy because it affects the baby. On your limited one-spouse income, you eke out enough to buy books with recipes and tips. You gather your dimes to buy some nut flour and some almond milk.

We have to feed the family so we soak our flour the night before and make bread. We try to use all fresh ground whole wheat flour but it doesn’t rise very good so we break down and end up using some white, feeling nervous we may be doing an injustice to our family.

We search around for grass-fed beef but find it too expensive so we buy it from Aldi’s and feel like we are missing out. We make up our mind to raise chickens only to realize it costs more than its worth.

Then there’s the baby….the problem of his daily bread and his daily bottom.We invest in cloth diapers or sew them ourselves. We get a Happy Grinder and grind all his food right from the table! We’re happy about our solicitousness!

We try hard to be the best wife we can be, feeling we lack terribly in areas. We come to the conclusion that living with a person is not easy. We pick up books that have been recommended…..only to be too busy to read them.

We get up each morning and make ourselves kneel down before we hit the floor running….only to find our mind isn’t only running, it’s motorcycling! Yikes, that was fruitless. 😛

You get the picture. That may not be your scenario but you have your own, don’t you?

Whew! Always this pressure…..Do you feel it?

These nagging doubts that you are not measuring up…..do you have those?

Stretching and reaching for that ideal…..Do you live up to it?

Of course we don’t.

We are women with faults and failings.

We have days when we are exhausted and all we find ourselves doing is waiting to snatch that one-eyed little nap on that ever-illusive couch!  We are irritable when hubby asks us to do something. We are impatient when our toddler continues to ask for things when we have given him everything he could possible want.  PMS, pregnancy and post-partum blues threaten the little bit of equilibrium we seem to have.

Does this sound familiar to you? At the end of the day, do you take out that baseball bat and proceed to give yourself a good thrashing?

In my experience, that is not the answer. Besides, it hurts….ouch. It actually makes things worse. We draw more flies with honey than with vinegar, and that includes how we treat ourselves.

At the end of the day, you need to first and foremost be patient with yourself….look back on the day and see the energy you DID EXPEND for your family. If your intention is to be a good wife and mother, and if you are giving it your sincere effort, that is huge and you need to be thankful for that. Be thankful that you desire to do and be better. These are incredible gifts you give to your family, in spite of the nitty-gritty details in between.

Did you get tripped up during the day? Of course you did….that’s where the act of contrition each night comes in and then leave it in your Mother’s hands. Tell her you want to be better. Ask her to help you. Of course she will help you. She loves you and knows what it is like to be a mother. She’s not standing there with a baseball bat. She is smiling at your efforts and extending her hand to help you with the rest.

Those times when you were impatient and yelled at the kids….give them to her, ask her to help you to do better. Those moments when you snapped at hubby….lay them at Our Lord’s feet and ask Him for grace. They understand, they know we are only human beings, wrought with frailty and well….humanness.

A huge part of being a Child of God is child-like confidence in Him…in His love and His understanding of our fallen human nature.

The Little Flower teaches us well:

“Theresa of Lisieux was known for falling asleep during prayer hours in the chapel but she noted that ‘God loved her even though she often slept during the time for prayer’. The Church would recognize a profound and valuable teaching in ‘the little way’–an awareness of one’s limitations, the wholehearted giving of what one has no matter how small the gift.”

Discouragement knocks the breath out of us, it paralyzes us.

Sometimes….oftentimes…we are our own worst enemies. Let’s give ourselves a break. Learn to accept and love ourselves so we can pass that love and acceptance on to others. Our Lord does that for us, we can at least do the same for ourselves.

In my many readings, I often ran across the thought….you need to fill your own cup so you can have some to give to others. I never understood it….I was on “Super Mom Overdrive” doing all of the above and more.

As time went on I began to realize how very important this is. It is not a bad thing to give yourself a break….it is a good thing. Stand back, take a deep breath and realize that God loves YOU. Does that sound too simplistic?…well, do you really understand what that means? He loves you as the individual woman that you are….with your personality, all your strengths and yes, even your sins.

Our Lord knows we are trying and He gives us His Hand to help us along the way. We need to reach up and take it, smile and say “Help me, Lord, to be the woman, wife and mother you created me to be…..”

BGA man does not expect his wife to neglect important duty in his behalf. He is aware of the demands of her life and wants her to give each responsibility the attention it requires. He does not want his children to suffer neglect. And he knows she is entitled to other interests and diversions. But, he doesn’t want to be less important. And he doesn’t want to be regarded as a convenience, a paycheck, an escort, a social asset, a ticket to security. He would like to feel that she married him for him, and not as a means of filling her needs or reaching her objectives. -Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2wzXAzO (afflink)


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