Angel (Bobotas) Nowak
Class of 1995
The other day I filled out a form. “Occupation?” it asked. “Stay at home Mom,” I wrote.
I looked at all of the questions following that the page would’ve demanded I fill in if I had responded with a “paid” occupation. And I laughed … because motherhood has “paid” me in full and then some. I don’t know of any other job that could’ve made me as rich in love and spirit and in turn allowed me to make three little lives abundantly rich indeed.
Over the past 10 years a passion of mine, spreading God’s love, came to be more specifically named as I gave birth to three little girls: Emily, Gabriella and Lia.
Since then, I was given an opportunity to pursue another passion of mine, a passion for spiritual growth, in the most unlikely of places … motherhood. With the undying support of my husband, Michael, I was able to “stay home” and motherhood became for me a ministry.
Oh sure, I had checked out and helped with a few ministries at Bona’s but this one rocked my world. This one required that I was punched in 24/7 and that I had to be on my game even when I was sleep deprived and starving.
The sacrifices I found myself making far surpassed any I had made in the past, as did my love. I soon saw my spiritual life growing exponentially to my girls’ growth. Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer were all things I thought I had down; after all, I had good practice after some 28 Lents.
But these rituals took on new meaning during mothering. Once I gave birth, I fasted from just about every activity I did before I gave birth. The expenses from diapers alone met my match with any monetary donation I had made before. And prayer … well, how else could I have ever gotten through many a horrific night with teething or sick babes.
While at Bona’s I fell in love with the Franciscan way of life. I remember learning the words of St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”
Those friars didn’t just talk about being the hands and feet of Christ; they WERE the hands and feet of Christ. That living, breathing spirituality permeated my days as a mother. Plentiful were the opportunities to “be” Christ to my kids.
How about the corporal works of mercy? There is never a shortage of practice as a mom: feed the hungry (check … at least 5 times a day), clothing the naked (check … so what if my 3-year-old has her shoes on the wrong feet every day?!), visit the sick (check … I’ve perfected my chicken soup recipe).
And the spiritual ones: help people who sin (even though it’s hard to keep a straight face when they try to tell you they didn’t eat it with a full mouth), teach the ignorant (!), and be patient with people (Bingo!).
Now, before motherhood I would have guessed that I would have complained about these various tasks and sacrifices but I have come to see the beauty in them. Through serving my children I have grown tremendously closer to God. Motherhood has sanctified me, or at least has given me many opportunities for sanctification.
Jesus said to us, “If people want to follow me … they must be willing to give up their lives daily … those who give up their lives for me will have true life.”(Luke 9:23-24) Maybe next time when asked to fill in my occupation I will write, “Pursuing a life … a true life!”