Sacrifice is a part of motherhood, and it’s hard. But they are good for us even when they are painful. Here’s how to offer it up.
Sometimes, I don’t want to give any more.
I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night for one more feeding.
I don’t want to give up the last cookie for those big round pleading eyes.
I don’t want to skip my morning workout for extra snuggles.
The sacrifices we make as moms can be so hard.
They can try us and challenge us. And frankly, sometimes we would just rather not.
And the world tells us we should come first, our kids hold us back. It’s so hard to fight these lies.
Catholics aren’t called to a life that revolves around self.
We’re called to a lifetime of following Christ. A life of taking up our cross. A life of sacrifice.
And motherhood is one of the ways we can fulfill this calling. Motherhood requires so much sacrifice. These sacrifices can seem bigger than we are. We feel like we can’t do it all by ourselves, we can’t give one more ounce.
And it’s true. We can’t. Not on our own.
But Jesus gave first. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice – for us, for our salvation, for our families, for our vocations.
And Jesus will give us the strength to imitate His sacrifice. He will help us learn from Him. His sacrifice will enable us to make the sacrifices we’re called to make.
Let’s pray a meditation together.
Enter into the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Walk with Jesus through the sacrifices He made for you, for me, for the world.
Learn from His sacrifices. Draw strength from them.
See how His sacrifices – and the ultimate Sacrifice, His death on the Cross – provide the graces we need to make the sacrifices required of Catholic motherhood.
The Agony in the Garden – Sacrificing Willingly
Jesus, when You prayed in the Garden, You knew the suffering ahead of You. You knew what sacrifice would be required, and You knew all the good that would come of it. You knew it would be hard. But You didn’t run away from it. You united Your will to the Father’s will. You prayed, “Thy will be done,” just like You taught us to pray.
I know that the sacrifices required by motherhood will be hard. I know there is hurt ahead of me, but also great joy. My end goal is to raise these children up to be Your faithful followers. To lead them to the hope of the Resurrection. Help me to pray “Thy will be done,” as I face the struggles and sacrifices that come with the vocation of motherhood.
The Scourging at the Pillar – Sacrificing Body Image
Dear Jesus, You sacrificed Your body in the scourging at the pillar. Your skin was torn to shreds. You let Yourself be ripped apart, all for my sake. You gave Your body up to the whips and endured the disfigurement silently.
It’s so hard not to cling to my self-image. It’s hard to let go of the perfect body I long to have. Help me sacrifice what I wish I were, and embrace the beautiful person that I am. Help me accept the changes brought on by bearing children, the imperfections, and the scars. Let me bear it silently – not with whining and complaining, but with peace in my heart. Jesus, remind me to endure this sacrifice for the children I love so dearly.
The Crowning With Thorns – Sacrificing The World’s Opinion
Jesus, You know who You truly are, but Your accusers didn’t understand. They mocked You, they mocked Your kingship. They didn’t understand the depth and beauty of Who You are. But You endured it all. You didn’t get angry or annoyed. You didn’t correct them. You simply prayed for them and clung to the truth in Your heart.
Oh, Jesus, the world doesn’t understand us either. They call us “just moms.” They can’t fathom the depth and value of the gift of motherhood You have given us. We sacrifice their good opinion of us, and we endure the tight-lipped smiles, the headshakes, even the mockery. They think we’ve lost something by sacrificing our lives for our children. But we cling to the truth in our hearts – we’ve gained the world.
The Carrying of the Cross – Sacrificing our Schedule
Jesus, when You carried Your Cross, You sacrificed Your freedom to do as You please with Your life. Others laid Your burden on Your back. Others told You what road to walk. You embraced that Cross for love of us. You didn’t turn from the path laid out before You. Rather, You walked it to the bitter end. You kept the goal in sight – the salvation of the world.
We moms give up our freedom of schedule to be at the beck and call of our little ones. We endure the time-suck of car seats and diaper changes, soccer games and waiting rooms. No longer can we get up and go like we used to. No longer can we have lazy days and spontaneous outings. Our little ones dictate how we spend our time. Dear Jesus, help us embrace this road we walk. Help us keep the end goal in sight – the formation and salvation of our beloved children.
The Crucifixion – Sacrificing Life Itself
Finally Jesus, at the end of it all, You gave Your life itself. Not just Your will, Your esteem, Your fame. Not just Your schedule. Not even just Your body. Bur Your very life. You gave it all for me. The ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate gift. My Jesus, thank You for doing this for me – for giving everything for me. By this, I truly know that I am loved.
Sometimes, as a mom, I feel like I give up everything for my kids. I give up my time, my desires, my schedule. I give up my body and my sleep. I even give up my food, as their tiny fingers dig into whatever is on my plate. But Jesus, You call me to give more. To give my very life as a gift for them. To show them, with my whole self, how much I love them. And through my love, to show them Your love. Jesus, help me give my children this gift of total love. Help me love them with every sacrifice I make – and especially the sacrifice of pouring myself out for them.
Motherhood Calls for Sacrifice and Self Care
It may sound like I’m saying moms need to run ourselves into the ground. Like we should give until we’re burned out.
Don’t buy that lie either.
We have much to sacrifice, much to give. But we have to take care of ourselves so that we have the energy and emotional and mental strength to be able to give.
Jesus gave everything on the Cross, but He was also known to take time for Himself. He retreated to the mountains to pray. He slept on the boat while His disciples weathered the storm.
We can follow His example.
We can make the sacrifices God calls us to, and care for our own needs at the same time.
So make the sacrifice of getting up in the middle of the night for one more feeding, but allow yourself to sleep in an extra hour in the morning.
Give up that last cookie to the sweet smiling child at your feet, and treat yourself to a healthy smoothie.
Say yes to the extra snuggles in the morning, even if it means you don’t get the workout you wanted. You can still take an afternoon walk with your kids.
Catholic motherhood is sacrificial.
It’s beautiful. It can bring us strength, joy and peace. It can fill our lives with grace.
Take up your cross and follow Jesus.
He will help you make the sacrifices your motherhood calls you to.
He will show you how.
We can’t do it on our own. But with Him, we can do it all.
Sara Estabrooks is a Catholic wife, mathematician, former teacher, sometimes artist, and mom of 4 who loves the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. She brings women closer to Christ through prayer and meditation at To Jesus, Sincerely. Connect with Sara on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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