As moms, we naturally question our parenting choices… constantly. There are articles everywhere about how to parent. And then another that contradicts the last article. Labels are everywhere and judgements run wild!
So, what are we to do?!? How can we be certain that the choices we make with our children are the right ones?
Short answer: We can’t be certain. We can pray for guidance and wisdom as we discern the parenting choices in our particular situation, but overall, we simply hope we don’t screw up.
In my prayers for guidance, God answered me through an acquaintance.
Side note: Isn’t it funny how God uses people to answer our prayers – often without them knowing they are being used!!! I wonder how often he has used me to answer someone’s prayer?
Something that I have fought with over the years is the realization that Motherhood is a vocation. It is something that we must take pride in and continue to work at in order to do our vocation well.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Michele Faehnle and in our time working together, Michele asked me if I would review a book she was working on. She and her friend Emily Jaminet are the authors of the book, Divine Mercy for Moms.
In this book, Michele and Emily share the lessons of St. Faustina and how we can teach mercy to our children. This book offers guidance and direction in teaching our children practical ways to show mercy and love to others each and every day. (There is also a complementing web site with free resources – DivineMercyForMoms.com.)
What is Divine Mercy?
Fr. Michael Gaitley shared that Divine Mercy is “a particular kind of love, a particular mode of love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin. Divine mercy is when God’s love meets us and helps us in the midst of our suffering and sin … every good we receive is an expression of Divine Mercy.”
Each chapter begins with a note from the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalski: Divine Mercy in My Soul. At the end of each chapter, there are practical suggestions from the authors as to how you can live out mercy in deed, word and prayer, both as an individual and as a family.
The notes from St. Faustina are so fascinating! She had several visions of Jesus throughout her life and was instructed to have the Divine Mercy image painted with the words “Jesus, I trust in you” inscribed at the bottom. She was a very simple girl, tasked with many ordinary tasks. At various points in her short life, she was a nanny, a gardener and a baker – jobs very similar to those moms complete every day.
So, why teach mercy?
Christ calls us all to bring God’s mercy to others. We, as mothers, are tasked with training our children to do the right thing. With so much pain and suffering in the world, it is important to demonstrate how we can offer mercy every day to those in need.
- To feed the hungry;
- To give drink to the thirsty;
- To clothe the naked;
- To shelter the homeless;
- To visit the sick;
- To visit the imprisoned;
- To bury the dead.
- Admonish the sinner;
- Bear wrongs patiently;
- Comfort the sorrowful;
- Counsel the doubtful;
- Forgive all injuries;
- Instruct the ignorant;
- Pray for the living and the dead.
Each mother/author has her own style that I appreciate both throughout.
Michele takes on the Corporal Works and gives you a plethora of resources to provide you with everything you need in order to accomplish each act.
Emily tackles the Spiritual Works and offers examples and stories that demonstrate how to recognize a need and then how to act upon it.
Both authors lay out HOW you can act upon each need. This was powerful for me. It is one thing to have pity on those in need, but it is completely different to DO something about it.
We strive to find ways to show mercy in our home and I was a little happy to see that some of the lessons we teach in our homes were also found in Divine Mercy for Moms (See Give Help WITHOUT Giving Money). But one thing that I did note throughout the book is that while we have done a pretty good job teaching the Corporal Works of Mercy to our kids, we might need to step up our game on the Spiritual Works…
Luckily, this book lays out straight-forward plans for each work of mercy and understands the place we mothers are in life. The mothers/authors know that moms don’t have a ton of time, but there is always time we can find to honor God and share his mercy in the world.
In our home, our goal is to create a firm foundation for our children so that when they are older, they make wise decisions on their own. We are, of course, here to guide them, but ultimately, they need to know HOW to choose what is wise and avoid the choices that may take them down a dark road. We hope and pray that the parenting choices we make are the right ones, but we really can’t know until they are older.
Making the priority to teach our children HOW to show mercy is essential in this foundation.
Divine Mercy for Moms is available at Amazon both in paperback and electronically for less than $10.00. (Personally, I love the actual book in hand so that I can highlight throughout!)
In this Easter Season, I recommend finding ways to teach mercy in your home. It will be a blessing to you and your family as the joy that fills your heart when you help someone in need is well worth it. Not to mention, the various people your mercy will help.