||I am teaching a fourth grader, a second grader, two first graders and a kindergartener. I also have three younger children not yet in school. Then there is the house and sports and music lessons. I am constantly overwhelmed and feel like I am just going through the motions. I am in a spiritual dryness that has been on-going for several (3 or 4) years now. How can I bring back the love and passion for my vocation? There is no one to help with the school or chores or chauffeuring. My children have chores and pitch in but my house (currently being remodeled) is always a mess. I feel like I am drowning in this world I have created for myself. But homeschooling is it for me. I would not dream of sending them to ANY school. How do I regain control of my life, keep up with the demands of my family and home, and re-kindle a devotion to God, who is the reason I started doing this in the first place? Thanks for your wisdom.
The purity of your letter and the obvious love you have for the Lord is a strong and powerful witness. Let us contemplate the dryness that you spoke about with such sincerity.
Spiritual dryness certainly makes our spirits burdened. We are not peaceful and yet we force ourselves to be busy with many things just the same. We move from one task to the next with an emptiness that feels oppressive. Our hearts are longing for ways to rest and take joy in the tasks that are before us but the feelings of accomplishment do not come and we are forced to continue just the same. We pray the prayers that have always comforted us and yet the comfort does not seem tangible. Our intellect tells us that the Lord is near but our spirits feel He is far from our side. This feeling does not necessarily come from the amount of work we have to do for there are those persons that we see who are doing so much more than we feel capable of and yet they are happy and seem fulfilled. What then is the reason or cause of spiritual dryness?
I believe that spiritual dryness is a season that must be embraced in order to fully appreciate the rewards it will bring. When plants in the desert go through the long periods of drought they appear for all purposes dead, however nothing could be farther from the truth. It is amazing to see how much they bloom into loveliness with just the smallest amount of moisture. The dryness is actually a way to ensure that they will fully use the moisture that eventually arrives. In another example some trees will produce great amounts of seed when they have experienced drought and here again this is to ensure the survival of the species despite the drought.
All too often in our very secular and pleasure centered world persons who do not understand the calling to family, homeschooling, and the demands of a large family are eager to point out all the things that a mom should do in order to overcome weariness. They will tell us to stop homeschooling, put little children in daycare, find an outside job that will ease financial burdens and the list goes on and on. I believe that this approach is merely surface oriented and does nothing to reach the truth of a season of dryness. In other words your commitments are not the reason you are feeling burdened but you are feeling burdened because there is a season of dryness in your heart. Once we reconcile the dryness then we are better able to discern our situation.
Once we decide to approach the feelings we are experiencing from this standpoint then it is easier for one to work through this time. Jesus longs to bring us to a real knowledge of His continual presence in our life. He wants us to know Him fully and completely as we are able in this human life. During the time of spiritual dryness He is eager that we store up experiences of His great love and have these to reflect upon. Please remember that though Jesus was in the desert for 40 days He was God while He was there. He was the fullness of His Divine Glory though He may not have appeared as such.
The Tempter was also in the desert. The Tempter strives to separate Jesus' little ones from the life giving power of the knowledge of the Lord's great love for us. He does this by trying to convince us that Jesus loves us less when we feel His presence less. Nothing, nothing could be farther from truth.
I would encourage you to begin a spiritual exercise that has brought me from the dryness and out of darkness. One day ask a friend to baby-sit for you and make an effort to sit before the Blessed Sacrament. Take along with you a simple notebook and something to write with. Begin your time of quiet with the Lord with the rosary or another prayer that comforts you personally. After this time of prayer, sit back on the pew, take a deep breath and begin to talk to the sweetest of all loves, Jesus. Tell Him everything that is on your heart and all that burdens you in your spirit. When you have finished this time of talking to Jesus, relax and allow Him to speak with you. Breathe slowly, relax every part of your body as if you are falling into the arms of the Lord. As you relax listen carefully. You will hear the Lord inspire you through your thoughts. If you become distracted, make an effort to return to the peaceful thoughts you are having. As you listen to the things the Lord wants you to know thank Him for His great love. When this time is finished, take your pencil and right there jot down all the thoughts that you had. That evening or at another time that is convenient reflect upon the thoughts you had during this time with Jesus.
I would encourage you to begin your day with quiet prayer followed in much the same way. Certainly it is not practical to go to the church everyday. For this reason it is important that you create a place of peace in your home. A Family Altar is a wonderful oasis. Sit before your family altar and pray each morning. Read the liturgical readings for the day and ask that Jesus instruct you through these readings. Jot down all that comes to you. This is the Lord wanting to make His presence known to you. He loves you so much and desires to be in your life. Remember that miracles are always happening because Jesus is in every moment and where Jesus is miracles happen.
On the practical side, speak with your husband and communicate the needs that you are having. Work together with him to effect a plan that will ease some of the physical burdens you are experiencing. Allow the Lord to send persons into your life that can help you work through the challenges you are experiencing. Evaluate your personal needs. Your life though hectic should be peaceful and fruitful. Do not let your mental situation border upon emptiness that makes being a mom difficult or painful. Communicate with those that love you and speak with them candidly.
I want you to know that I consider the privilege of your sharing your letter with me a great blessing. I am humbled by your steadfast heart and your love for your family and especially your Lord. I see in you a woman of great strength and a worthy witness of the very real life that mothering brings us into. Please continue to be a seeker and seek the Lord for He can be found among the mundane and the ordinary. Please pray for me as I would consider the prayers of such a one as you to be a comfort to me.
Jesus, we love You and long to see Your face. Your great love for us is beyond our human comprehension to understand such a love. Hold us close, Lord, and fill our hearts with Your love. Bring the refreshment that is Your desire to be among us and to care for us. You are a tender shepherd and Your embrace makes all our sorrows joy for we are able to rest in You. St. Joseph pray for us.
Sending out a prayer,