As Christian women, it’s easy to wonder if we’re doing things the right way, if we’re good enough moms, good enough spouses. The list goes on seemingly endlessly. At least this is where I find myself, not infrequently. I want to be a good wife, homemaker, Christian woman. I want to live out my vocation the way God is calling me to, but sometimes it all feels so overwhelming.
Trying to balance everything is hard let’s just get that out there.
As Christian women, we have an especially demanding call in today’s world where it seems everything is designed to pull us away from our most central focus, a relationship with God. From this relationship, everything else should flow: our family life, our friendships, our disposition towards suffering and menial, redundant household tasks.
None of it should be separated. But, that’s the hard part isn’t it? Staying focused on the center.
Vocation and why it matters!
Simply put, a vocation is your God given call for how you can best serve Him throughout your life. In other words, it is the individual and universal call to holiness.
Within this primary vocation (call to holiness) there are what are known as secondary vocations. These are the specific states of life we are called to in order to fulfill our primary vocation and become holy.
Generally, we recognize three secondary vocations:
- Married Life
- Consecrated Life (Single or in Community)
For the vast majority of us, married life is the secondary vocation to which we’ve been called. This means that for most of us ladies, our primary way of attaining holiness is through living out our vocation as Christian women by being faithful wives and homemakers.
What does this look like practically speaking?
Well, a simple answer would be that it’s different for everyone.
But, that’s not very helpful! So, let’s dig a little deeper into what living as a Christian Woman looks like!
To begin, it’s important to understand that Christ is always calling us deeper. Deeper into relationship with Him, deeper into relationship with others, as well as into a deeper understanding of ourselves and His love for us. He wants us to participate as fully as possible in the Divine Life He offers us through holiness and grace. We just have to be willing to make the effort and continue striving towards that deeper union.
The best way to deepen our relationship with Christ is through prayer and the sacraments. While it’s easy to find the rubrics for what participating in the sacraments should look like, I find it harder when it comes to developing a deep seated prayer life. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what prayer should or shouldn’t look like. There’s private devotions of all kinds, novenas, chaplets, meditations, and the list goes on and on. It’s overwhelming!
Where do you even start in prayer as a Christian Woman?
As a Christian woman, I think it’s kind of expected that prayer is just something I do. Like cleaning the house, or doing dishes, it seems like it should be fairly intuitive. Or maybe that’s just me.
Regardless, I find myself stuck more often than not. Memorized prayer? Not difficult. Well…at least not difficult to go through the motions. Spontaneous prayer? Unless I really want something (be it for myself or someone else), or am desolate, not really my forte.
Being more inclined to feeling the need to follow pre-written devotions, I really struggle with spontaneous prayer. Just talking with God is hard for me. I feel like I have to have the perfect words to say, and not many of them at that. I’m worried that I’ll be too much of a bore or too full of myself somehow.
Thankfully, Christ gave us a beautiful example of how to pray with the Our Father.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or eloquent, the important thing is to continually turn your mind and heart towards God. In doing our daily tasks with love and intentionality, we are offering up little prayers with all we do throughout the day.
My will or Thy Will?
In addition to developing a prayer life, we also need to strive towards total conformity of our will to Christ’s. Most of His life consisted of performing the menial daily tasks of a son and carpenter. His whole life didn’t consist in crazy miracles. Rather, all but the final three years of His life were spent living the ordinary and unglamorous life of a carpenter.
We can learn so much from this and find a deep comfort in knowing that Christ didn’t just sanctify public ministry. He also sanctified and modeled the quiet, private life of all of us. The key is to try, in each moment, to do His will. To do His will in the small as well as the large things. For, when we conform our will to His, we are growing in holiness and perfection.
For most of us, this looks like repeating, every day, the same routines: making meals for our families, doing laundry, teaching our children.
But it’s hard being a Christian Woman!
Consistency within the interior life is extremely difficult to achieve as a mother and homemaker.
Why you ask?
Well, at least for me, I find it really challenging to maintain consistency with rigorous daily prayer when I’m living off three hours of sleep because my little one woke up every two hours to nurse. Or when I’m rushing around trying to fit in laundry, making supper and maintaining the garden. We have to be patient with ourselves and realize that our prayer life, much like everything else, has seasons.
Am I saying to just give up wholesale when life gets hectic? Absolutely not!
But, what I am saying is that you shouldn’t feel guilty for not getting in a daily rosary. Or to get down on yourself when daily Lectio isn’t feasible. Sometimes the best we can do is multiple short, devout turning of our thoughts towards Our Lord as we go about our daily tasks.
This is why the morning offering is so beautiful. At the start of the day, we can offer up every thought, every action we have throughout the rest of the day as an act of love towards Christ. What a wonderful way to keep Him at the center. 🙂
At the end of the day, if we want to truly be good Christian women and homemakers, we need to constantly strive towards deepening our relationship with God and conforming our wills more perfectly to His. We need to remember that no matter how menial a task may seem, if done with great love it has immense value. So, for every dish you wash, every shirt you fold, and every diaper you change, you are growing in holiness and living out not only your secondary, but also your primary vocation!