By: Hollie Adamson
As a mother, my experience of worship has changed. I have found that I cannot be as present in the same way or for as long a time during worship, whether I have to leave to change a diaper or whisper instructions to one of the boys as they wriggle under a pew. As I have learned to relax and accept these changes as part of this season of my life, I have also learned about intentionality and the moment of grace. When I walk into the sanctuary, I purposefully focus during the first few moments of the liturgy and try to find other moments later when I can reconnect and worship. Note that I said moments. Sometimes it might be just for one phrase in a prayer or hymn, and if not, I can always count on the Eucharist. I purposefully trust that the crumb and the drop will sate my hunger and my thirst. At the moment of Communion, I know that the physical and the spiritual intertwine, while saints pray, angels sing, and the Lord triumphs.
As for my apostolate, my main mission field is contained mostly on two acres of land, within a white ranch house, serving two boys under the age of six, a husband, and an eleven-year old collie-retriever mutt. I am a stay-at-home mother and wife and I have answered the call to homeschool the two immortal souls placed under our care. I have chosen to be, as G.K. Chesterton said, “shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t.”
As a homeschooling mother, my apostolate mirrors my renewal as I intentionally go about my work and am surprised by moments of grace. I am privileged to teach the boys about the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) as well as the 3-in-1; I can teach them about the life cycle of a sparrow while reminding them that His eye is on the sparrow; I teach them about the lights in the heavens (the moon, the sun, and the constellations) and about the Father of Lights. Jon and I plan God moments into our family’s day, creating our own sort of homely litany: Morning Prayer, memorizing Scripture, singing hymns and spiritual songs, reading the Bible, blessing the boys before Jon goes to work and before they sleep. We also, by being faithful church attenders, have emphasized renewal and carved an expectation into the minds of our children, who now cry if we do not go to church, which happened when we got the flu earlier this year.
I don’t only serve my children as spiritual guide and schoolteacher. I serve them literally – binding up wounds, feeding and clothing them, amid the rest of the tasks that a mother and wife needs to accomplish to create a home. As I go about my work, I hope that I show the boys how the smallest tasks can be of great spiritual value depending on how one uplifts it. Something as simple as making bread can fill the house with an aroma that can lighten a weighted heart.
I could not continue to do this without asking for and receiving spiritual sustenance myself. A mother’s apostolate is all-consuming. That is why coming to church, focusing, and asking for spiritual food and drink is so important. I am fed so that I can be a source of nourishment for my children and give them true and good food. It happens moment by moment, with just enough grace to get to the next.
A few ways to exercise your apostolate as a parent:
- Learn a Bible verse by writing it out on a large piece of paper and hanging it on a wall in a prominent place in your home. Have the children decorate it, either all at once or day-by-day as the family learns it. Make a new one once you’ve mastered the first.
- Say prayers taken from Scripture such as the Our Father or the Magnificat either in the morning or at bedtime. Repetition is the key to learning. To add some fun, try a call and response method, alternating phrases between you and the children.
- Bless each other using the blessing found in Numbers 6:24-27 before you leave for school or work for the day. You can create your own blessings. Speak good into the hearts of your family’s members.
- Be prepared to talk about spiritual matters when you least expect it. For example, you never know when an ordinary conversation about the weather might lead to questions about clouds and why God made rain.