St. Gianna’s Secret of Happiness for Homeschooling Moms
This is a post by Mary Donellan, Pre-Grammar tutor in the Birmingham, AL Chapter. You can learn more about her at our Blog Contributors Page.
Many homeschooling moms confess that, even after years of experience, they still feel they don’t know what they’re doing—but they’re willing to do it anyway because they love their children. I find this incredibly inspiring!
In fact, I’ve found it so inspiring that, since girlhood, I’ve only wanted to be a stay-at-home mother and homeschool my future kids. (At 22 years old, I’m blessed to be tutoring for CSH, as well as looking forward to getting married and starting a family in the not-too-distant future.) This desire took root in me not only because of my own mother’s example as she homeschooled our family, but also because of the witness of so many other lovely, dedicated homeschooling moms whose lives I’m blessed to be a part of.
Homeschooling mothers deserve far more credit than what they’re used to giving themselves. If you are a homeschooling mom, the same applies to you! You are truly a hero.
Are you in need of inspiration?
However, due to the weight of their tasks—not to mention all the negative currents in our culture flowing against sacrificial motherhood—I’ve often noticed that homeschooling mothers are, at one time or another, unconsciously in need of encouragement and recognition for their tremendous acts of love.
Just like any soul would be, homeschooling mothers are also in need of inspiration at times, especially as they navigate the demanding seas of motherhood and home education combined at the start of the school year.
Accordingly, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce a beautiful quotation from St. Gianna Molla—an excellent model of sacrificial motherly love—and explore her secret of happiness on three different levels for homeschooling mothers.
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.”
- It’s a secret
This quote is both powerful and deeply simple. But it’s worth pointing out that St. Gianna distinctly prefaces her words by saying, “The secret of happiness . . .”
In our world, happiness is, indeed, a secret. It’s something everyone relentlessly chases but rarely attains.
Through faith and reason, we know that happiness only comes from surrendering our lives to God. As a homeschooling mother, you have surrendered your life to God in an especially profound way.
However, this doesn’t mean that happiness doesn’t still feel like a secret sometimes. The stress, effort and sacrifice routinely required of you as a homeschooling mother can make it very difficult, at times, to feel happy.
Be intrigued and encouraged by the fact that St. Gianna points out happiness is a bit of a secret! It isn’t towering directly in front of you, glittering with the glamor of the world. It’s simple and beautiful, humble and hidden. And best of all, this secret can be known.
- Moment by moment
The most powerful attraction we human beings can experience is to dwell in the future. Whether we’re motivated by eagerness, impatience, or anxiety, we can fall into living in the future with stunning ease . . . to where the present moment we’ve been given slips by us, entirely unnoticed.
It may not be an exaggeration to say mothers have more natural reasons to worry than anyone else! The responsibilities of running a home, raising and teaching children, and carrying the crosses of family life are numerous and heavy.
St. Gianna surely knew this when she was simultaneously carrying both her unborn daughter’s life and an aggressive cancer in her body. How addictive it would have been for her to dwell constantly in the future with worry and pain! However, she wisely perceived that the secret of happiness was to live in the present moment.
And so whether the present involves a sleeping baby, a mischievous smile, a drive down the road, a book being read aloud, a meal to cook, or a horrible mess created by healthy and active children . . . embrace your present moment and live in it with joy, and without worry.
- Everything comes from God’s goodness
How often were we told by our own mothers to have the proverbial “attitude of gratitude”? Even if, as children, the phrase made us grimace, it’s inarguable that the happiest people are those who display the most genuine gratefulness.
To be grateful to God is to be free from resentment, jealousy and anxiety. Moreover, to perceive everything that happens to us in our days as coming from His goodness is wholly transformative. If we strive to increase in gratitude, as St. Gianna did, we can’t help but become happier.
When homeschooling mothers acknowledge that even those things that are stressful, burdensome or worrying to them have been allowed to happen because of God’s love . . . they become the most powerful witnesses of God’s goodness to their families possible.
Let’s ask St. Gianna Molla to intercede for all homeschooling mothers, that they would be able to live in the present moment with gratitude and joy as they begin this new school year!