“Don’t think that if you had a great deal of time you would spend more of it in prayer. Get rid of that idea! God gives more in a moment than in a long period of time, for His actions are not measured by time at all. Know that even when you are in the kitchen, Our Lord is moving among the pots and pans.”– St. Teresa of Avila to her fellow nuns (attributed)
St. Teresa of Avila, in the past couple years, has become one of the Cowden Family’s favorite saints, so in parodying her quote with our title, I mean it with the utmost respect.
As we’ve been learning more about the Carmelite spirituality and the quest to ascend to the heights of holiness, I personally have admired the struggle of the Carmelite saints, like Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, and John of the Cross.
In the life of a parent, the journey toward heaven is not a single act of conversion. It is an everyday struggle – diapers, laundry, meals, messes, more diapers, more laundry, homework, more messes, even more laundry…
With the never-ending cycle of responsibilities of parenting, how could any parent expect to have any time to focus on prayer?
Well, in my chat with Julie Nelson and Chris Magruder of “Catholic Women Now” on Iowa Catholic Radio (which you can listen to here), we discuss just how parents can make prayer a possibility: in recognizing that God moves among the diapers and throw-up.
God is here in every single moment in parenting, even if we don’t notice Him.
From the first babble in the morning to the last forehead kiss of the night, and all the sleepless nights that turn into sleepy mornings, God is here.
In the abundant groceries in our fridges and pantries, and in the leftover bits on the dinner plates, God is here.
In the last-minute book report poster, and in the precious little scribbles of your toddler, God is here (even if those scribbles are with Sharpies on your wall).
In the mountains of laundry, and in the tiniest orphaned sock, God is here.
In the happiest days, and in the hardest of days, God is here.
When we wrote “The Prayer Book for Tired Parents,” we didn’t want it to be a parenting book. We wrote it to help parents make prayer a priority in their lives, through recognizing God’s presence in the everyday moments.
We introduce parents to a new mindset when it comes to embracing your vocation and offering every minute of the day to God.
We show how, through prayer, the sacraments, and holy reminders, you can change your life as you pursue closeness with God. You are made for communion with God, even if you don’t know what that means right now.
It’s not going to make your life easier, but perhaps it will make it more fruitful. It’s not going to take away the stuff that makes you want to tear your hair out – picky eaters, endless laundry and dishes, colic, sibling squabbles, and so on – but perhaps these things will no longer drain you the way they do now.
God is here, fellow tired parent. God is here.