Different Gifts

Christina Baker // Scripture: A Mother's Lens


May 19  

Now that my three girls are teenagers, they look enough alike that they often get confused for each other, and sometimes for me! Despite the family resemblance, though, the older they get the more I realize that God has given each of them unique gifts. There are the obvious things—a head for math or a beautiful singing voice, for example—but there are other, more subtle differences as well. One has a passion for justice that we started noticing as soon as she could talk. One is joyfully obedient. One has a tender heart for anyone (human or animal) who is suffering. As they have grown and these spiritual gifts have matured, they have blessed our family time and again. A daughter generous enough to take out the trash when it’s not her turn or patient enough to help her little brother tie his shoes for the third time in one morning is a great blessing.

Watching these gifts blossom so close to home has made it easier for me to understand how the Church as a whole works. We read in St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians that To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. Each of us has been blessed with gifts of the Spirit which are for the good of the Church. Just as each of my family members contributes to the smooth and (hopefully) holy running of our household, so also each of us has something to contribute to the Church. Our gifts don’t all look alike—you’ll never find me as a parish bookkeeper, for example—but they’re all necessary to the Body of Christ.

The same is true of our unique expressions of motherhood. No two of us care for our children in exactly the same way, in part because God has given us all different children with different gifts and challenges. Offering our lives in prayer and sacrifice to raise our children in the Church is a great responsibility—and praise God that he gives us the grace needed to do it, because it is almost never easy! When our kids are trying to lie upside-down in the pews at Mass, it’s hard to imagine them as future saints. But it is this imagination, and perseverance in this hope, that God asks of us.

The good news is, however hard it may feel, God has promised to give us all the grace we need when we need it. One of my mom friends is blessed with an amazingly calming voice, another with the energy to keep up with several little boys—different gifts, but all fitted precisely to help them serve their families.

Above all, along with his Spirit, Jesus sends us his peace, so that by calling on him we can weather the storms of parenting toddlers, teenagers, and all the other stages our children go through. With his peace in our hearts, we can join Christ in rejoicing in the great gifts our children bring to our families and to our Church.

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