For the Secrets of the Sacred Heart Book Club, Elizabeth Tomlin ponders how her reliance on one promise of the Sacred Heart impacted her journey as a mother.
I love that Emily Jaminet has written Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Twelve Ways to Claim Jesus’ Promises in Your Life. This book is broken into twelve bite-sized chapters that present the twelve promises of the Sacred Heart. Within this devotion, the first promise from Jesus is “I will give you grace sufficient for your state in life.” This has certainly been true in my life. I especially see this in my journey as a mother.
I’ve been a mom for nineteen years. Patrick, my oldest child, is 19 and my youngest just turned eight. Some days it feels like I’ve been a mom for a long time. Other days, I look at my 19 year-old son and think, “How did you go from a little, squishy baby, who was complete dependent on me, to a 6’2” college student?”
When Patrick was in preschool, he was full of energy. Every morning, we would run to the playground in our neighborhood, play for about 30 minutes, and then run home and start our day. Exercise was my strategy for getting anything accomplished during those stay-at-home-mom days.
One day I felt exhausted, and I didn’t want to go to the park. I decided to sleep in while Patrick watched TV. When I got out of bed, I walked into the family room to find Patrick watching Sesame Street. But to my horror, a Costco-size bottle of maple syrup lay empty next to him. In an attempt to make himself breakfast, he emptied a gallon of syrup onto the cream-colored wall-to-wall carpet. Yes, an entire gallon.
In that moment, I felt angry, tired, overwhelmed, and defeated. I spent hours blotting and shampooing the sticky mess. And while I cleaned, I prayed. I remember praying that God would give me graces –- grace sufficient for this day –- the grace not to yell; the grace to get over it; the grace not to beat myself up over the mistake; the grace to be more obedient to rising with an alarm; the grace to give up my fastidious perfectionism, and any other graces I needed.
Fast forward to today, and that syrup-dumping toddler has grown into a college student with a fiercely independent streak. The transition from child in the nest to young adult away from home can be heart-rending. With the transition to parenting a young adult, I found that I need different graces today than I did in those early motherhood years.
Now I pray for the grace to navigate being a college mom. I pray for the grace to let go. I pray for the grace to love Patrick in the ways he needs me to love him, which includes stepping back from the role of shielding him from playground falls or mopping up messes, and instead walking alongside him, letting him make his own decisions, and praying that the values and Catholic faith we imparted to him stick.
Tracing my path of motherhood, I see Jesus’ promise, “I will give you grace sufficient for your state in life” in every experience. He has given me the graces I need in each day and in every minute. In Secrets of the Sacred Heart, Emily Jaminet points out that Jesus offers us the graces we need each day: we need merely to accept them.
One of the things I love about having an image of the Sacred Heart in my home is that when I look at it, I’m reminded to ask Jesus for the graces I need. I’m also reminded to thank Him for those I have received.
Looking back on your mothering years, can you recall a time when you were keenly aware of how much you needed God’s grace? How did you receive grace sufficient for that state in life? As you face this day, know that in this moment, Jesus is extending grace sufficient to you.
Did you miss this week’s Facebook Live with author Emily Jaminet? View it now!
Purchase your copy of Secrets of the Sacred Heart from Ave Maria Press and save:
Get 25% off the single-copy price with coupon code SACRED25.
Buy 5 or more copies and pay only $10 each with code SACRED10.
Both coupon codes expire April 30, 2021.
Download these FREE bonus Book Club printables from Ave Maria Press:
Copyright 2021 Elizabeth Tomlin
Images: Ave Maria Press
About the Author
Elizabeth is the author of Joyful Momentum: Building and Sustaining Vibrant Women’s Groups (Ave Maria Press), General Counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and director of stewardship for the Military Council of Catholic Women, where she previously served as the president and as director of faith formation. Elizabeth is a catechist and speaker, and blogs at JoyfulMomentum.org.