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March 17, 2020

When God Gives You the Answer Ahead of Time

Eight days ago, I met with my spiritual director, our first meeting in months. We checked in and talked about Lent. He asked what was going on in my life, if there was anything I was concerned about.

There were a few things on my mind we discussed. In a couple of these situations, I knew there was no course of action I could reasonably take, because the circumstances I was frustrated with were out of my control. He encouraged me to take them often to prayer, but the action he called me to was much closer to home.

“Take care of your husband and kids,” he told me. “Focus on them.”

I didn’t take notes, but the gist of his advice was that they need me right now like no one else in my life does, and I can be something for them that I can’t be for anyone else. This is where I’m called. This is my vocation. This is my right now. This is where God needs me. This is where I will find Him.

This came before school closings, before quarantine. Not quite before the jokes about toilet paper hoarding, but right on its heels.

And this advice, this inspiration of the Holy Spirit through this thoughtful and discerning priest, has sustained me as long as I’ve let it. Over the weekend, I carefully planned my freelance work for this week around the reality of being home with my kids (and them using my computer all day). I rescheduled what I could, so that I could be present and not concerned about my deadlines. I gave more of myself to them in a more concentrated way, and wowza, the peace that has been borne of that.

Does that mean I’m going to stop writing or editing or podcasting? No, I don’t think so. At this point, it seems this lifestyle has an endpoint for us. But it means I know where I need to be right now. It means I can trust that I can let other things go and let each day be enough.

When I’ve slackened on my Lenten social media fast and spent too much time scrolling for news, answers, or some kind of action to take, I’ve drifted from the peace this advice gave me. I have to keep reminding myself I have plenty to attend to right here, right now.

When I have done the things I’m responsible for in our home and the things I feel called to do within and outside of that, then I can think about tackling something else. For now, when there is so much right in front of me, what else am I looking for?

As I’ve tuned back into the beauty of my vocation, to the reality of what my calling is, to the faces and smiles of the people who need me, I am awed and grateful that that advice came when and how it did. Right before I knew I needed it, just when I was ready to hear it.

The screensaver on my computer’s lock screen reads, “Bring Him all the praise you know.” I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know how this chapter ends. But I know that God is good, and if I stick to where He’s leading me, and not let myself be dragged off course, I will have everything I need.

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