At the outset of this mini-series, I confessed my self-diagnosed case of QFS (Quarantine Fatigue Syndrome) since I had uncovered my inner-introvert as I felt myself surrounded by constant, varying needs. Then, I shared the first two steps I began applying to one specific relationship in particular—focused prayer and removing unhealthy expectations. My desire is to be led by the Holy Spirit so that the loving presence of God can expand my heart in a season of confined living. When the Holy Spirit begins to flow through me, more space is created in my heart for the unending love of God, and the relationship is touched with renewal that allows the light of love to enter in a new way. How can I apply practical steps of wisdom and open even more fully to the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in my relationship to my child?
3) In the past week of quarantine, I have reminded myself of the need to reach out to my close mom friends. As we wait for the world to fully open—to taste of the support of the community we were once accustomed to—we must remember to combat isolation. It may sound simple, yet it is so powerful. Friends help; other moms-in-the-trenches help. Just yesterday, I poured my heart out on my friend’s front lawn. It was not neat, kempt, or theologically eloquent, but at a social distance, my friend was there to bear my burden, and I was strengthened to return to my domestic church and pursue the life of beatitude I know I am called to. Struggling alone is not what God intended. In isolation, our struggles can seem like failure, and negative emotions can fester. Why have I often thought (without thinking) that I am the only one struggling to live my best mothering self? The only one struggling to love a particular child? The only one hurt by a relationship? Asking a friend for her wisdom and for prayer is healing and strengthening. We are the Mystical Body of Christ—meant to bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ (Rom 12:5; Gal 6:2).
4) When faced with a particular kind of need, my human response can sometimes be either to avoid it or to find someone else to address it. After all, I give daily care and attention to this child (along with all the others) in the form of meals, education, and training, but the “putting others first” (Phil 2:3) is brilliant in a practical sense. If I devote intentional love and pour into my child’s particular area of neediness on a regular basis, it is amazing how it fills my child’s cup. Take for instance the child that wakes up talking and goes to bed with no apparent need for quiet breaks (ever). If I recognize this particular need for one-on-one engagement, and I intentionally seek to devote time to my child with this very thing, it is alarmingly effective. By filling the child’s cup in this way, the abundance I long to see flows in our relationship. This is a practical step I can take to know and love my child well!