Susan Ciancio wonders whether being a good mom is enough in the eyes of God.
In 2018 I saw Hamilton in Chicago with my daughter. This past weekend, I watched it on TV with my sons. Eliza’s query at the end has stayed with me since the first time I saw the musical: “When my time is up, have I done enough?”
Anyone who knows the full story of Eliza Hamilton can answer that question in the affirmative. She was a tenacious and loving woman who sacrificed not just for her own family, but for the children of others. She gave of herself until the day she died. I was so entranced by her story that I read her biography.
As that song continues to echo in my head, I keep asking myself, “Have I done enough?” By that I mean, have I done enough to attain eternal glory with God? Will He welcome me into His arms and say the words I’ve always longed to hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?
Although I believe I’m a good person, I sometimes think, no, I have not done enough. Not yet anyway. I wonder how God will answer.
Like countless moms out there, I work hard every day. I do what I can to balance work life and home life. I often work into the wee hours of the morning so that I can tell my kids yes when they ask if I want to play a game or race Mario Kart. I know that I am a good mom, but is that enough in the eyes of God?
I look around at the world today and see so many people who need things — materially, psychologically, and socially.
I have friends who volunteer at soup kitchens, at homeless shelters, or with organizations that build and repair houses. I look at them in wonder and with a little dismay. I don’t have the energy for that. I wish I did.
But then I think about God’s mercy and realize that I cannot — and must not — compare myself to others. After all, God doesn’t compare what we do to what others do. People and their circumstances are so very different. He only holds us responsible for what we do with the gifts we are given and how we respond to the events and situations in our lives.
Just knowing that helps. God does not want us to feel inferior to the supermoms who make volunteering seem easy. What He does want is for us all to look at our own lives and see what we can do better. He doesn’t want us to be complacent with His gifts. He doesn’t want us to waste them or bury them, never using them at all. Like in the parable of the talents, He wants us to nurture and cultivate His gifts.
The more I worry about whether I’ve done enough, the more I desire to do more, even if on some days it’s just saying extra prayers or maybe even fasting for someone who’s suffering. Everyone has time for those things.
But I also know that I must make an effort to give of myself in other ways as well. Prayer is powerful, but actions make a tangible difference in people’s lives. God understands that we all have limitations, but He calls us to act. He calls us to care for others. He calls us to help build a culture of life, even if the difference we make isn’t on a grand scale. Sometimes just a kind word or a small act are enough to change the course of someone’s day or life.
In knowing that I must do more, I also know that I must teach my children to make doing for others a part of their daily lives. I must teach them about the sanctity of all human beings — born and preborn. Together, we must come up with ways to make others feel valued. Whether it’s baking cookies for mothers in crisis pregnancy centers, cooking a meal for our priests, preparing meals for families staying in a Ronald McDonald House, cleaning out our closets to donate gently used items, or checking on a lonely neighbor, the effort we exhibit will make a difference.
In Hebrews 13:16, we read: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.”
We must all remember this as we strive to balance taking care of our families and doing good for others.
It shouldn’t have taken a fictional song in a musical to make me ask a question I should have been asking myself all along, but I’d rather have that wake-up call sooner rather than later. When I ask God if I’ve done enough, I pray He says yes.
About the Author
Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer. She is executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program and editor of ALL's Celebrate Life Magazine.