Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why you MUST read Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting {giveaway}

There are two major difficulties in the vocation of parenting small children. The first is that it can be isolating. We weren't meant to raise children in a solitary fashion, and so often, our modern lifestyle of separateness makes for long days without adult conversation. The second problem is the very long-range nature of our work. We do many of the same things day in and day out, totally absorbed in the minutiae of parenting and caring for our homes and families, unable to see over the crest of the hill we're climbing to visualize the eventual product of all this work. In short, on a bad day, parenting can feel lonely and fruitless.



In Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting, Laura Kelly Fanucci offers a spiritual lifeline to the struggling, lonely parent...not by cheerleading from the sidelines or by offering peppy "you can do this" comments, but by imbuing the very basic physical acts of parenting with deep sacramental meaning. I wept more than once as I soaked up her words, feeling solidarity and a sense of community with her as a mother both in her most joyful and darkest moments. Through the lens of her family's experiences, Laura shares glimpses of God's presence in the midst of ordinary, everyday moments: birthing, bathing, eating, watching fireflies.

"Through the tangible things of this earth- water, oil, bread, and wine- God comes to us, giving us what we need when we open our hearts to receive...Because sacraments do not exist apart from the complexity and diversity of our daily life- they are part of it."
- Laura Fanucci, Everyday Sacrament

It's a rare person who has the insight and wisdom to see beyond a situation in which she herself is immersed. We might expect such perspective and wise counsel from a parent who has already survived this tough period of life in the trenches with little ones, but Laura has the gift of being able to see and describe the beauty of her life right in the middle of the mess. In bravely, honestly sharing that beauty with us, she blazes a trail through the chaos of young motherhood, even while she herself is still navigating it. 

Reading her stories helped me to see anew the fingerprints of God's grace all over my own messy, sometimes mundane life. There is holiness here in the laundry and the spreading of peanut butter, the kissing of boo-boos and the wiping of noses. Those repeated rhythms remind us that God is constant and faithful and never absent from even the most ordinary moments in our lives.

"The creation story says the Spirit hovered over the chaos of the waters, close to the murky mess. And if I'm honest, even as I indulge in late-afternoon daydreams about escaping to the lake to meditate, this God-in-chaos is the God I meet more often."
- Laura Fanucci, Everyday Sacrament

This is a book to be read and read again. It helped me extend grace to myself, my husband and my children and reminded me that God extends grace to each of us as we work at the holy task of raising our families and creating domestic churches. I need more time to let Laura's words sink in deeply. They have already impacted how I parent and how I pray.

"Before I had kids, I never expected any of this- how God could be found so powerfully in the exasperating everyday, how home could feel as holy as church...but that's how grace gets spilled: right before our eyes.
If we only stop to see it."
- Laura Fanucci, Everyday Sacrament


You need this book- for yourself first, then for all the other parents you know. You can get it from the publisher here or from Amazon here (that's an affiliate link, by the way).



I loved the book so much that I want to give one of you my review copy. To enter to win, just leave me a comment here with a memorable parenting moment from the past few weeks  (good or bad, your choice!). I'll randomly draw a winner on Saturday.

The fine print: Giveaway open to US residents only. Entries accepted until 11:59 pm Eastern Standard time on Friday, Dec. 5.