A few years ago, frustrated by my inability to add prayer to my busy morning routine, I came up with the perfect solution. I call it “prayer by stealth.”
It involves pouring myself a cup of coffee and taking it back to my room and closing the door. The kids don’t bother me because they assume I’m getting dressed for the day, which I am – but before I do, I sit down with my warm mug at the prayer table and take five minutes to read something. Sometimes I read the Mass readings for the day; sometimes I open a devotional book. Whatever it is, those five stolen minutes restore my soul, a soul that – in the way of most modern moms – is already harried at 6:45 AM.
So when I read the introduction to Jennifer Grant’s new book Wholehearted Living: Five-Minute Reflections for Modern Moms, I thought to myself: She gets it.
Wholehearted Living is a book of short, daily readings for women whose season in life affords only limited time for contemplation. It’s a “pause” button for mothers who want to take a break from talk of juice boxes and snow pants in favor of confronting their fears or reconnecting with their dreams.
It’s for moments when you feel drawn toward the divine, as well as for those times when you feel like your frailties are holding you captive and you really just want to stand in the corner, face the wall, and scream.
Oh, yes. She gets it.
This is a terrific book, this collection of daily meditations. I like it for its accessible structure: there is one page-long reflection each day, with a meaningful quotation and an invitation to take the subject of the reflection into your daily routine. I like it for its focus on real mom-life, with all the joys and challenges thereof.
Most of all, I like it because Grant – a mother of four – doesn’t focus every entry on the experience of motherhood. She has entries that cover other areas of life, including friendship, spiritual life, marriage.
This speaks to me. We moms are more than just moms; we are women trying to honor and nurture the other roles in our lives as well. Often, these other roles are given short-shrift, lost in the day-to-day demands of parenting. Grant’s insightful reflections affirm that we are also dreamers, friends, aunts, sisters, pray-ers, romantic partners. The result is a book that is wonderfully affirming of all the many facets of a woman’s life. (And because I myself am on the other side of forty, I really appreciate that the book reflects the experiences of a mom in midlife.)
All in all, Wholehearted Living is both inspiring and down-to-earth, a book that meets modern moms right where they are. It’s a book that is full of heart, yes — but it’s also full of brain, and wit, and soul. Highly recommended.