By: Melisa Carroll
“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.” -St. Augustine
Lately, God has been allowing me to see my own imperfections very clearly. I think this eye-opening has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve recently become a mother. For most of my life, I’ve been quite good at cajoling myself into spiritual sloth by repeating little maxims to myself like, “I’m a good person,” or “I do a lot of spiritual/Catholic/ministry things, so therefore I’m strong in my faith and growing in holiness.” Yet, more often than not, I’m not putting in the time or energy that I really need to grow in my faith. When I look at my son, somehow that isn’t good enough anymore. The last thing I want for him is to be lukewarm, lazy, or mediocre in his faith. I want him to be a Saint. At the same time, I know that I am his first teacher in faith, his lifelong guide, and his nearest model of holiness. That’s an incredible responsibility- and one that needs a lot more effort than I’ve been giving.
The biggest lie that the devil has been whispering into my ears during this time has been that my flaws mean that I am not a good tool in God’s hands or that I cannot help Him produce good fruit. For someone who works in ministry, that’s a difficult lie to ignore. How can I help others (let alone my own child) grow in their faith when I’m so broken myself? It was a heavy weight to carry until the Holy Spirit smacked me in the face with a truth: If God waited for us to be perfect before He used us, He would never be able to use us! *Insert facepalm emoji here.* Not a single person on this planet is perfect- not even our patron Mama T- and yet God uses all of us to bring love to this broken world. In fact, when I reflect on my experiences of praying with friends and mentoring young adults, the moments when I really felt the Holy Spirit move through me have been when I let my guard down and shared with someone about my own struggles. Although it’s taken boatloads of courage and humility, when I bring my scars to the light, they’ve often helped someone else be courageous, have hope, or seek help.
Now, I realize that most of you reading this blog today aren’t mothers, but my hope is that in reading this, you’ll come to the realization that God wants to use you (today and in all your brokenness) long before you reach thirty or become a mother. Being a revolutionary of love isn’t just about wearing the clothes, attending the events, or even writing in our prayer journals every day; it’s about letting God use us to be His love to a very broken world. Being part of the revolution also means that we have to strive tirelessly to become Saints and encourage those around us to do the same. After all, Sainthood is seeking Heaven with all your heart and drawing as many souls as you can with you along the way! If we look at our role models, the Saints, none of them lived perfect lives. Many of them (like St. Augustine!) lived very broken lives before and even sometimes after they met God. I can’t speak for you, but I know that when I read the lives of the Saints, I’m most inspired when I find that a Saint struggled with some of the same imperfections that I face. I can learn from their example how to be instruments in the hands of God despite setbacks and adversities.
So this week, I invite you to have courage, be vulnerable, and let our perfect God use your imperfections, well, perfectly!
Melisa is a mom and middle school Language Arts teacher who loves cats, ballet, the ocean, music, and peanut butter. She also loves to read and can often be found with a book in her purse and her son on her lap. She tries to be a willing pencil in the hands of the Greatest Author of All Time.