I often forget as the day goes on to continually put quality into my daily responsibilities and activities by offering them to God in prayer. Many times, too, I forget that I resolved that morning to work on some virtue I know I need to grow in, or to avoid some temptation or sin I struggle with.
It's funny how quickly I return to self-centeredness sometimes after the ambitious but heartfelt words of my little morning offering. I want so much to center my life on God and to let him lead me where He wants me to go, but I'm the first to admit that I haven't had the clearest of plans for living that out practically each day.
I heard something recently, thought, that has been helping me on that front.
My friend Kathi and I were talking last week about prayer and the need to reconnect with God all during the day. She explained that it's helpful to structure prayer times throughout our day by identifying natural lulls in our day (even creating them if at all possible). Those short or longer times of prayer are "like telephone poles with line strung between them. If we stay faithful to even short moments of prayer regularly during the day, we stay connected to God and don't hit the ground."
I'm a busy mom too. I understand messy houses, messy children, working inside and outside of the home, dirty dishes and tripping over Mr. Potato head and heaps of laundry and the front door knob sticking and a deadline due for work and the AC repair man being two hours late. And--it's 5:17 p.m.--what are we going to do for dinner again?!
I am coming to understand as well though, that even the messy lives of young mothers like me are called to some structure when it comes to prayer (and honestly, almost everything else to some extent).
We can do it. Just because the baby is fussing and the toddler is more interested in finding Mr. Potato Head's ear than praying doesn't mean I can't spend 90 seconds praying the Angelus after lunch on the living room floor.
I can pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy or a rosary (in pieces, if needed!) while running errands. Or while pushing the kids on the swing set at the park. Or just after the kids go down for naps.
I can say a heartfelt Hail Mary while I hold Bo-bo Frog the ice pack on Faith's head after she climbs onto the couch while I'm not looking and falls off for the third time that day.
We are not too busy to pray. In an age of microwaves, washing machines, refrigerators, and cell phones, we have far less on our plates than many mothers before us. If we always excuse ourselves as "too busy" to pray regularly, if we hide behind motherhood and messiness and put everything else in our lives before our souls, I'd bet nine times out of ten that we're settling for mediocrity in our spiritual life.
A wise priest once told a group I was with during a talk that, "Satan's standard is mediocrity. Christ's standard is holiness."
A good reminder. (By the way, I volunteer to be the front man for the Tempted Often to Mediocrity support group. Dues are daily prayers for all members. Contact me for details.)
This idea has really changed how I look at living each of my days, and I've felt God's mercy pour down on me lately as I've tried to live it out. Here's to encouraging you (and myself!) to work little by little on erecting our own "telephone poles" of faithful prayer into our daily lives!