Although raising children can be demanding and difficult, they are in fact God’s crown of glory placed on the sacrament of matrimony.
By Rashele Birmingham
17 April 2017
My eyes sting from lack of sleep, my arms are heavy, my nose congested from a recent bout of the common cold … it’s 3:00 am and I hear our youngest begin to cry again. I have lost count of how many times she has woken. It isn’t just tonight; it’s night, after night, after night. My body is weary but my heart is full because as I respond to this precious little soul I am reminded that I am a mother. Not so different from other mothers, but perhaps I do have a deeper understanding of what my sacrifice means.
“Yes Lord,” 1,000 times over. “Yes Lord.” This is my prayer as I scoop her into my arms and calm her in the rocking chair. My human nature tends toward being grumpy; at nearly nine months old, why hasn’t she gotten the hang of sleeping? But my heart tells the Lord, thank you for this sweet little child.
My husband sits up in bed and asks if he can sleep in the guest bedroom. I send him off, hoping he can fall back asleep quickly before he has to wake for work in a couple of hours. I am a wife. Not so different from other wives, but perhaps, again, I am being fueled by the deeper meaning behind the countless sacrifices I make each day.
I am not so different from other mothers … I change countless diapers, wipe snotty noses, prepare half a dozen snacks in addition to meals, do piles of laundry, and inevitably my food is usually cold by the time I get to it. I get hardly a spare moment to myself which has been one of the hardest sacrifices of raising children.
It is when I get discouraged or extremely fatigued that the deeper meaning behind my sacrifice keeps me going. It helps me to get out of bed each day, to smile more often, and to be a better person.
And so in the midst of a culture that constantly pressures women, including mothers, to “be more” … to pursue careers, education, to have that perfect post-baby-body again, and other forms of vanity, I remind myself to let these things take a back seat. My ultimate vocation is to love the Lord by serving my husband and family first.
I remind myself that these children are not just mortal beings; they are immortal. These children are not destined for earth but are called to be saints in heaven. These children are not ours to selfishly raise; they are God’s children and we are their caretakers. These children are not a burden on our marriage and free time; they are the essence of our marital vocation. The purpose of our marriage is for the procreation and education of these children who have been given to us. “Yes Lord,” 1,000 times over.
“Yes, Lord. Please continue to bless us and give us the grace to live our vocation and raise these little souls for You.”
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Rashele Birmingham is a Catholic, wife, mother, and Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department of a large hospital. She and her husband are focused on raising their children and promoting a Catholic culture in the home. Rashele enjoys sunshine, hiking, all things family oriented, playing piano, making healthy and delicious food, and action movies. Be sure to check out her new website featuring healthy food and healthy living: thenourishedfamily.com