I spent December 31st with a group of close friends. Before we went out to ring in the New Year, we had dinner together and sat around making resolutions and thinking a lot about the past. Someone brought a list of questions to use as a guide and one of them resonated with me until this very day.
The question was “What do you want God to say to you when you meet in Heaven?” Isn’t that the most powerful question? As a kid, I grew up with the notion of a very judgmental God. The nuns in the Catholic schools were quick to tell you how your sins would, literally, “bring you down”. I never thought I would come close to making it to Heaven so I gave absolutely no thought to what God might say. As a young adult, I spent a lot of time trying to make up for the past - buy my ticket in, if you will. (That doesn’t work!) But I thought if I would always put others first, at the expense of my own happiness and peace, I would ‘x’ out the sins of my youth and Heaven would be mine.
It took a long time for me to find a sense of peace and balance by taking care of my own needs. I learned, often the hard way, that I must practice self-care and that doing so is not selfish. I need to have internal balance in order to be a good mom. I can’t come home fatigued and stressed and magically transform into a loving, understanding mother. I must take the necessary steps to rest, eat well, meditate and prioritize my life in order of what is of utmost importance, so that I can do the job God gave me to do - being a mom.
Motherhood is my life’s work. I have a career that I love and have had great jobs in the past. I love the freelance work I’m doing now as well; but, ultimately, being a mom is my main job…the one I was created to do.
My cousin, a Catholic priest, said once that people would ask for advice on their missions in life. He would tell them they are doing their mission - being a husband/wife/father/son/daughter/mother. Not so glamorous, is it? When I think of ‘mission’, my mind goes straight to working with lepers in India or something. I don’t look at giving out hugs, helping with homework, dispensing advice and Band Aids as a mission. Yet I think that my cousin was right - this is what God has in mind for me. And I only get one chance to do it right. While I might not be saving the world or helping tons of people, I do matter most to two girls in RVa who are counting on me to show up with my game on and be a great mom - every single day.
So then, what was the answer to the question in December? What do I want God to say to me when we meet in Heaven? The answer is simple.