I knew my internal view of things was askew when I broke out in a cold sweat as I eyed the list scrawled out in a hasty scratch on the kitchen counter. Just earlier this morning, I had discerned the Holy Spirit gently prodding me in a quiet moment of prayer—a Scripture passage coming into focus: “In repentance and rest you will be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength, but you were not willing.” What promises this short verse packs! In the here and now I’m pressed—fighting anxiety. I need the promise of saving strength today. How do I adjust—on what terms of my willingness might I begin to see his divine intervention of saving grace woven intricately throughout my day? How do I, as a mother, busy mainly with and over ordinary things, experience the extraordinary strength of his powerful providence when the day looks daunting?
The prophet Isaiah used four prompting words that show me how to adjust the lens of my heart and how to find the strength and salvation so desperately needed to carry out my work as a mother in virtue and freedom.
- Repentance – By definition, the word “repent” means “to turn”—To see the truth, to align my internal view with that of a sovereign God means I must be willing to turn to him. God does not expect me to rely on myself. I must turn away from my tendency to be self-sufficient. God pours his favor upon me in my weakness and brokenness of spirit. When I turn to him in this way, recognizing my need for complete dependence, then I am reconciled back to the floodgates of his unending love.
- Rest – So often I see all that needs to be accomplished, and I am “not willing” as the verse states. I turn to productivity and performance (even in my domestic realm). My reliance on this internal mode is vain, and this points directly back to whether or not my repentance is genuine. I must remember, especially in times of exhaustion or overwhelm that, although I am a mother, I am first a child of God—his beloved. To “rest” is not another thing on my list, it is a command and the way to divine dependence. This is the place of communion of spirit wherein God creates serenity within. I must simply come as I am and cast my cares.
- Quietness – How countercultural this very word is! It contradicts the world in which we live where action and productivity reign. A fast-paced, non-stop, noisy, stimulating rush characterizes the mode of modern life. How many times, in my humanity, have I pursued the work at hand with a prideful, fearful, or hasty performance-driven approach? Am I willing to surrender and slow down? When I consider my tasks, my day, and my call with “quietness” of heart and mind, then I am reminded of the mighty purposes God has set forth for me as a mother. My strength is renewed in his calming presence, and my thoughts begin to shift in real time, allowing for purity of action.
- Trust – This means having a holy confidence. It is God’s desire for me as a Catholic mother to possess this confidence in my very character. This type of trusting confidence is not just a feel-good concept, but rather it is faith in action. I am aligning my will and confidence to that of God. It is here that my heart is united to the provident creator and redeemer of all things. Trust brings meaning and direction to my day, dispelling the lies of worry and anxiety.
Dear Mamas, are you and I willing to adjust, and turn toward God to receive his offer of soul-refreshing truth? For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing (Isaiah 30:15).