When our newest addition was born four weeks ago, my parents came to help with the kids and house for a week, followed by my mother-in-law for another week. They took over many of my normal tasks so I could take care of the baby. And since they left, my husband, Mark, has been doing more than his fair share of the housework. The fact is that there is a lot more to do with a newborn around and for me, it is a lot harder to do my normal daily tasks. It has been difficult to let go of the way that I do things and just be thankful that others are serving me. I know it is a little over the top, but sometimes I just cannot be around when someone else is vacuuming for me; what if they use a different outlet than I do? (And seriously, I know I am not the only wife and mother who worries about these things.) Sometimes my anxiety causes me to wonder if it would be better for me to simply do the task myself than trust someone else to do it even though I truly need the help.
So what is going on? Why is it so hard to accept the aid and love of others? I have realized that as I have trouble trusting others to take care of things for me, I also have difficulty trusting God to care for me. I have found that when I am trusting God, I am happier, more peaceful, and more likely to trust as well. Further when I trust others to care for me, I have more trust in God.
In the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), Mary spends her time listening to Jesus teach while her sister Martha is preparing food and laboring to serve Jesus and her guests. As a mother, my life is spent being Martha to my children and husband and anyone who comes to my home. Because of this it is hard for me to remember there are times that I am called to be like Mary and to be ministered to by Jesus, be it from others or in a few moments during the day I have to pray. Having three children, one of them a newborn, is teaching me again that I must lose control of things that are less important and to trust God and others. I know that being a parent is continually leading me to surrender my need to control details of life and of my children’s lives. I am learning the things that are important to take care of with precision and the things that do not need as much attention. While the cleaning is important, how it is done is not. While raising children to be independent is important, having to tuck them in multiple times at night is good and teaches them that they are loved. In losing this control, I am learning to be like Mary, to accept from God the love He is giving me, and to not be “anxious and troubled about many things.”
We are all called to learn to be like Mary, no matter what our vocation. Mary is traditionally as seen as representing the contemplative life and Martha the active life, but we are all called to be contemplative to whatever extent our duties in life allow us to be. This is how we learn a true love of God, in trusting Him and learning how to be loved. This is why it is so essential to give control to God, even when life is full of uncertainties. Saints are the people who face the trials of life knowing that God loves them and trusting and loving God through it all, and it is in the little matters of trust that we learn to trust in the great matters.
Originally posted on Truth and Charity.