This past year has been a whirlwind of change. My husband and I bought our first house right as our first son was being born. We came home with a newborn and a house that needed unpacking and decorating. It would have been stressful but I was to tired to care. I slowly attempted putting decorations together and hanging things on the wall. By this point Ryan was wrapped up in the middle of basketball season and I knew I would just have to be patient.
Patience seemed like something of the past. Everywhere I turned something was testing me. The baby wouldn’t stop crying, he wanted to eat all the time, the house was a mess, and I couldn’t muster the energy to move from the couch. When Cooper did sleep I wanted to decorate, read, workout, and sleep. I had to choose though. Sleep always won in the early days (as it should).
As my energy started to come back I was able to start reading and actually comprehend. It was at this point that I discovered 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley. I bought the book and committed to devoting myself to Mary. She was so inviting to me in these early days. What a perfect (quite literally) role model for a new mother.
As I was getting into the devotion, I came across Mary’s 10 Principle Virtues, and I fell madly in love. I wrote them down, I highlighted them, and I made a canvas with them on it. I hung this canvas in my dining room as a reminder of the person I want to be and the qualities I want to emulate.
The virtues are as follows:
Constant self denial
That last one though. Heroic patience. That one cuts me to the core. It is so hard to be patient, and it is all to easy to get worked up and upset about minor things. I’m taking these all one at a time. Right now, I’m working on patience. Patience with my baby, with my puppy, with my husband, and with myself. I find peace in the knowledge that I cannot accomplish these virtues on my own. There is no pressure to be perfect, only to try again and never stop asking for God’s grace.
Above the canvas I hung on my wall is a cross that we recieved as a wedding gift. It has the Bible verse “love is patient, love is kind…” written on it. When I’m feeling short on patience and overwhelmed by the daily demands I stand in front of this wall. I read the beautiful virtues of Mary and I repeat the phrase “love is patient. Love is kind.” In a weird way, this wall grounds me. It reminds me to stop focusing on the problem and focus on how I can be changed by the problem. In every moment there is opportunity to grow in virtue.
Do you have a wall that inspires you? If you don’t, what sorts of things would you put on such a wall? What things do you struggle with most and need constant reminding? I’ve found great help in my little wall. It is so simple yet so powerful.
These virtues echoe in my heart and make me smile. What beautiful things to strive for.