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Jane Korvemaker details four spiritual practices to help you survive the chaos of the beginning of school.

  • Daily planners? Check.
  • Monthly calendar? Check.
  • Medications? Check.
  • Two week trip? Check - and hold on the panic until next week.
  • Medical appointments? Check.
  • Prepped for each member of family getting sick at separate intervals? *shakes head vigorously*
  • Back-up plan if the world starts burning? Uhhhh ...

Whether you’re homeschooling or attempting brick-and-mortar schools this term, I think it’s safe to say that chaos is about the only thing we can expect. There is so much unrest and unanswered questions.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, we’re all in need of a boost to help rely on God continually through it all. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this (far from it!), but here are several ways I’ve been spiritually encouraged to keep trusting and keep relying on God in times of unrest. 

Go to Confession

When I am anxious and stressed, I know by far I am not acting my best towards others. Going to Confession is an opportunity to look at myself and acknowledge my failings, reminding myself that I need to trust that the will of God will come about in spite of the circumstances. It always has and it always will. The more I can attune myself to God, the less likely I am to experience internal resistance, which means more peace. If you are in a place where this is allowed, I encourage Confession.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry."

“Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” Famous words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio). While this might seem like a pie in the sky goal, the first two, pray and hope, are really important to the last one, don’t worry. We often forget to pray when we’re stressed and anxious. A key here is that it’s not just desperate prayer, but prayer that hopes and expects that God will respond in the best way possible. Our God is a God of mercy: tender, overflowing mercy.

If you need help getting started on the prayer part, a prayer that is about God’s mercy is the Divine Mercy chaplet, a simple and easy prayer. If you’re finding you don’t seem to be able to find the time to say the whole thing, make the repetitive part of the prayer your motto during the day, repeating it as often as you think of it: “For the sake of your sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” God will hear your prayer, don’t worry: pray and hope.

Your Path to Sainthood

We all are called to be saints, and it looks different for everyone. Listening to God’s voice in Scripture and prayer and seeing the examples of others who’ve come before us (saints) can help us to navigate our own path to sainthood. Maybe right now that path is wrestling between your desire to be glued to your phone vs playing yet another game of Crazy Eights with your child, or maybe your path is finding the means to respond in a calm way to the next angry episode in your home, like when you find your child is playing computer games instead of paying attention in their online class.

The path to sainthood is paved with the mundane, ordinary tasks of life done with love and mercy. And oh gosh, as I write that I have an overwhelming feeling that I need to pay attention to that little bit of information there. Sainthood is not for the faint of heart in the face of the mundane.

Feed Your Spirit

Whether it’s reading a page of a Gospel a day or picking up St. Faustina’s Diary, we can be greatly encouraged by reading Scripture as well as stories of the saints. The word of God feeds us, stories of the saints encourage us in the struggles we all face to be faithful to God in our own times. Making that extra trip to the church to squeeze in getting to daily Mass, going to visit or phone that friend whom you know is more isolated and is struggling, or asking for help from your community during this trying time are all ways that we can build up our spirit. There is absolutely no shame in asking God for spiritual fortitude at this time -- where we are weak, He seeks to embolden for His cause. He will give us the grace we need to do His will.

I’m making a note in the margin of my planner this month to pray for all of us who are struggling with the chaos. #catholicmom

As I lay out my monthly planner, I’m trying hard not to be overwhelmed. I’m making a note in the margin this month to pray for all of us who are struggling with the chaos, asking God to strengthen our hearts for the work ahead and to rely and trust in him more. God is love and God is mercy; let us throw ourselves into that ocean.

Where do you find strength in times of chaos?


Copyright 2020 Jane Korvemaker
Images (top to bottom): Isabella and Louisa Fischer (2017), Unsplash; Max Kleinen (2019), Unsplash