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One Thing is Necessary

As mothers our days can feel like they are hijacked as soon as our children awake. We can be care-giving and serving from the minute we rise to the minute our kids go to bed at night. Perhaps even then struggling in the evening to stop ‘doing’ long enough to be fully present with our spouse. With ‘all we have to do’, where is there time left in the day to just be?

My alarm clock used to be my children. While they climbed on top of me, my mind would race to the tasks that lay ahead: the planning, preparing, cooking, feeding, changing, dressing, tidying, decluttering, organising, sorting, cleaning, washing, folding, playing, care-giving, home-schooling, phone calls, arranging, packing, unpacking, socialising, shopping.

I would lie there, trying to convince myself to get up. Reminding myself - albeit begrudgingly - that this is my life’s purpose; that this is what I had always wanted. Reminding myself that as a good Catholic wife and mother you put up with the workload, the persistent and total denial of yourself, the sufferings, the hardships and you just ‘offer it up’.

I would try desperately to push down the feelings of resentment that were creeping up by telling myself that I should feel blessed to be in this position…and I would drag myself out of bed and dive into the day’s duties.

And I honestly thought this was how it was supposed to be. From morning to night, we give ourselves to others, right? We push through. We dig deep. We keep going. We keep doing. We keep serving. I thought this was me being a good mum. I thought ignoring the resentment was what I needed to do because I felt wrong even feeling that way. So I would push through some more. I would keep going. Keep doing. Keep serving.

And it kind of worked…ish…until it really didn’t.

There came a point where it all felt like too much. And it felt that way because it was too much. I finally began to see the lesson: I can’t keep doing it all, all the timeSomething needed to change. And that something was meNobody had asked me to do it all, all the time. Nobody even expected me to do it all, all the time. Those expectations were my own.

Like Martha in Luke’s Gospel, I was focusing on doing it all. I was focusing on serving all the time and in doing so I was missing the point

And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’s feet, heard His word. 

But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast Thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? Speak to her therefore, that she help me.

And the Lord answering said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: 

But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

- Luke 10:39-42

One thing is necessary. One thing matters. Not the million-and-one things on our minds and to-do lists. 
One thing is necessary.


I had to take a long hard look at my life and at the expectations I held for myself. I, like Martha, was ‘troubled about many things’ and allowing my time, my days, my life to be consumed by those many things. But if what matters to me is connection - to God, to myself, to my husband and to my children - then what was I doing spending my days on anything and everything else instead?

I was not making the time to stopbe still and connect to the Divine wisdom and beautiful connection that is present in the stillness and calm. There was no stillness and calm in my day.

But where, as a busy mum, was I going to fit in moreThankfully, I realised I didn’t have to do more. I had to do less, but do betterI had to learn to let go of trying to get everything done. I had to learn to let go of being ‘troubled about many things’. I had to learn to choose the best part. I had to learn to sit at the feet of Jesus and just be.

For me and the season of life that I am in - with four children aged 8 and under - there is only one time in my day where I am much less likely to be interrupted or distracted by loved ones, chores or visitors. One time in my day where I won’t be tempted to keep serving. One time in my day where there is space for me to sit at the feet of Our Lord, alone with Him. That time is in the morning, before my children wake.

Taking this time to just be - to be still, to sit in quiet, to connect with God and with myself - is a beautiful part of my day and it has truly transformed my life. Not overnight. Not in a flash. But with consistent small steps - some days what feels like teeny tiny steps - I have watched how putting God first and taking some time for myself in the morning has changed my life.

The Lord delights in every little step you take

- Saint Francis de Sales

This personal transformation makes sense when we see what Saint John of the Cross stated when speaking of time given to quiet contemplation:
“…the Holy Spirit burns faults away and produces virtues. The growth is usually imperceptible from one day to another, but growth necessarily follows if the prayer is genuine.” … We pray in solitude, yes, but we return to our brothers and sisters with something rich to share, a far deeper, more loving, more giving self.”

Sure enough, as the days unfolded, the burning resentment that I had been desperately trying to ignore started to fade. I watched the transformative gifts of the Holy Spirit ripple into my days: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I am not perfect. In fact, I am very far from it. But I have watched myself inch closer and closer to the mother I have always wanted to be for my children; and to the person I have always wanted to be for God. It continues to be a true delight in my life. Deo Gratias.

Are you desiring more love? More joy? More peace? More patience? More kindness? More goodness? More truthfulness? More gentleness? More self-control? Where, then, can you tend to the One Thing? Where is there space in your day to have regular quiet time with God? And time for you to just be? Where can you put aside the serving - the doing of all the things - and place yourself at the feet of Jesus?

One morning or a few moments a day may not feel like much in the busyness of our days. It can be a struggle to see the benefit of making a consistent habit with something that seems so small and perhaps insignificant. But if every day you give a few moments of quiet presence to the One Thing that is necessary, you will soon be looking back on an abundance of moments of connection that were filled with the most beautiful gifts being infused into your days…often imperceptibly.

In time, you will be able to look back and marvel at the growth in virtues that have taken place and transformed your days. It starts with willingness. It starts with little steps. It starts with an act of love. It starts with your fiat - your yes - to making the One Thing that is necessary the priority in your day.

Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them” 
- Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Where in your day can you let go of being ‘troubled about many things’? Where in your day can you make the time to do less but do better? Where in your day can you place yourself at Our Lord’s feet?

One Thing is necessary.

Take care of you and Let Truth Bloom.

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  1. Love the idea of praying in solitude to return refreshed.

    1. It is a beautiful feeling. Solitude during the busy season of raising small kids is especially sweet, right!? Enjoy!


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