He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! Such happy words! Such joy! It is Easter week and we rejoice in our Savior.
But what if our alleluia feels a bit half-hearted, what if we can't muster that true deep joy that we know we are supposed to feel?
Mamas, Lent is a beautiful time that takes us into the desert. It interrupts Ordinary Time and calls us to focus, to look within, to sacrifice, and to lay ourselves bare, pruning ourselves for the glorious feast of Easter when we celebrate the Victory our Savior has won for us. But aren't there times in this vocation where Lent doesn't start with Ash Wednesday and end with Easter? Aren't there whole seasons of life that feel like Lent?
I want to write an Alleluia post. I want to share the joy that is overflowing from my soul! But this year, Lent came early and it doesn't feel over. I am deeply grateful to my Savior. I can ponder the Passion and give thanks for the Resurrection. My voice got choked up singing all those Alleluias on Easter Sunday, but still I felt like I was in the desert while surrounded by flowers. Past Easters have been glorious. I truly felt that passing from death into new life. Not this one.
Are you there? Been there before? If you know what I'm saying you probably felt some guilt, some thought that you were doing something wrong. Why isn't God pouring those graces you need into your soul? Surely, you are missing something. But, mama, it's not your fault. And you aren't alone.
We are a tired, striving lot, mothers and women. My crosses in this season might look nothing like yours, but they are real, yours and mine. Maybe this Easter is boundless joy for you, but it comes after a season of dryness you thought would never end. Or maybe you are in that place where consolation is rare and barely discernible. You just can't fix what you desperately want to fix and you can't figure out why it's so hard. And it is hard. I know it's hard.
When confessing the state of my soul, my temper, my discouragement, my worry, and really near despair at times, right before Easter, Father said that God must really love me a lot to allow this suffering, this lack of consolation in my life. He said that my perseverance, even if that looks like just going through the motions, is so beautiful to God. He sees us, mamas! He hears those aspirations and pleas you send up because you don't know what else to do. He knows our hearts. Our striving and even our worry are beautiful to Him because it shows the depth of our love. But we must remember that worry is not from Him, and striving, whether it is striving to serve our family or fix their problems, or striving just to keep it all together, often ends up us taking on crosses and burdens that He has not asked us to take up.
I was begging for prayers, again, from a dear group of friends, and a sweet, beautiful mama told me this, " I don't think there can be anything more beautiful to God than you, a mother struggling on without consolation in the darkness of this fallen world, her arms full of her children's needs and every moment filled with an ache to heal and help them. Do you know how beautiful you are? Even Mary didn't solve everything for her Son. There is nothing on earth wrong with things going well and enjoying life, but it is because the sword is piercing your heart that you are so close to Mary. She feels you next to her, even if you can't feel her. Rest in her motherhood; Mary didn't carry the cross for Jesus, she just loved Him through it and was there."
My friend wrote this to me, but it is true for every one of you mothers who carry on in darkness. To be a mother is to ache for your children, whether it's colic, or growing pains, or broken hearts, or a battle for their souls. To be a mother is to strive for more, always. But today, stop striving and worrying. Go to Mary. Stay close. Rest.
Easter will dawn in our hearts when we finally surrender. We don't have to feel it today to hold fast to the knowledge that the Victory is Won! Consolation will come. There will be rejoicing and a feast overflowing with graces that will erase the darkness and bathe us in Light!
Tired mama still waiting in the desert, trust in this. He sees you and you are loved. You can do this.
We are an Easter People. Alleluia!