“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
(It’s a blog, ain’t it?)
I struggle with generosity. If this virtue is a fruit of the Spirit, then it’s the luscious fruit I’ve always envied. I admire people who are naturally generous, whose souls leap immediately to give of themselves, whose thoughts turn instinctively towards the needs of others.
I try (at least I think I try) to train my heart to stretch beyond its selfish rhythms. But still I struggle with my knee-jerk reactions: me, mine, my nearest and dearest.
Motherhood made me simultaneously more and less generous. Pregnancy and childbirth and nursing are certainly sacrifices of love, and I know I have given of myself generously to my children in these ways. To say nothing of trying to stay present to these sweet small souls in the midst of the daily rush.
But parenting young ones also exhausts me, and I find that my calendar has less time and space – and my heart has less energy, to be honest – for the exercises in generosity that volunteering or parish involvement or even dear friendships used to invite.
Maybe it’s natural, even good, that the scope of our world shrinks when we have to care for young children, because they demand almost everything from us: time, love, attention, money, energy.
But I know we are made for others, too, and that the aches of the world grow desperately louder all the time. So I wrestle with this tension. The guilt between wanting to grow into generosity more widely shared and knowing that trying to be generous to my own family is sometimes challenge enough.
In reading a friend’s reflection on her own struggles in pregnancy, I wondered whether generosity is something all mothers struggle with. She is a strong, selfless woman carrying her seventh child, and she wonders if she is selfish. Her honesty alone is generosity towards my own restless heart.
Ironically, since generosity is my growing edge, this prayer for month six of pregnancy turned out to be my favorite of all nine months.
Maybe because it widened an invitation for me to consider generosity as an already and not-yet in my life. Maybe because it made me realize that God is still working to stretch my life into selflessness.
Either way, can we pray for generosity for each other this week? My wrestling heart and yours.
May we carve a little more space for others’ loves among our own.
. . .
God of generosity,
You came to us that we might have life
And have it more abundantly.
Let me celebrate the fullness of this gift
As my body rounds and stretches
To make space for new life.
Help me to carve space
In my heart and mind
To welcome this child
Into our home,
Into our family,
Into our daily lives.
Remind me each day
How this long journey
Through pregnancy and birth
Invites a mother’s gift of self,
In body, heart and mind.
Grant me a generous spirit
To share my life with this child –
A calling that will change
With each new season,
But will last in love
For the rest of my days.
In generosity I pray,
© 2014 Laura Kelly Fanucci
Prayers for all 9 months of pregnancy can be found here at the end of this series.
Please consider passing them along to an expectant mother who could use them!