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When I was struggling, this social media post stopped me in my tracks


rachelbulman | Instagram | Fair Use

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 06/16/22

Mom-of-6 Rachel Bulman shared how she remembers to turn to God when she feels that she's reaching her breaking point.

Every now and then, I stumble across a social media post that stops me in my tracks. That’s how I felt when I saw a recent post from Rachel Bulman. I saw it just in time, on a day when my kids were sick and I’d been up with them half the night.

Rachel is a Catholic writer, speaker, mom of 6, and (as of June 11) wife to an ordained deacon. She shares the beauty and the sometimes messy reality of Catholic family life on her Instagram page and through the Word on Fire show, Meet the Bulmans (you can watch the entire thing on YouTube). 

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A post shared by Rachel Bulman (@rachelbulman)

As mom of 6 little ones, including one-year-old twins, Rachel just gets it. She knows what it’s like to be in the trenches of exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Even more importantly, she knows how to rely on God to get through those tough times. 

She shared her strategy for getting through the hardest of days in a recent Instagram post. And I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you.

Her little twins were under the weather, and caring for them was consuming all of Rachel’s time, energy, and sleep. Finally, she wrote, “I had reached a breaking point.”

Overwhelmed, Rachel decided to take a moment for prayer and to reorient herself to the greater purpose behind her hard work. She wrote,

I took 5 minutes, stood in the laundry room, and asked myself, “Who are you? What are you called to do? What is within your power to do now?”

These questions are honestly brilliant. Short and to the point, they quickly remind us what our priorities are. I’m writing them down to ask myself next time I’m struggling through a difficult day!

Rachel’s questions put me in mind of a wise suggestion from Catholic philosopher Alice von Hildebrand, found in her book, The Privilege of Being a Woman:

We should always raise the question: Quid est hoc ad aeternitatem? (What is this in light of eternity?)

Sure enough, asking herself those questions set Rachel back on track to get through the rest of the day. She wrote,

I reminded myself of my identity as child, spouse, and parent. I reminded myself of my call to holiness, to dying to self, to care for the other. I reminded myself that I could take care of what was in front of me and that when I have tried to run from the task at hand (mentally or physically) I end up exhausted, angry, and spent in every way. 

So I laid on this spot on the ground with the kids most of the day …

Thankfully, trying moments like this are fleeting. They might feel like they will never end but at some point, they will. I’m so grateful that [my husband] took this picture. If I look at it too long, it makes me cry because the Lord really answers prayers. 

All along my prayer has been to be spent, to be called to the edges of my ability so that I can learn to fully rely on him when the edge doesn’t feel so close, and to be docile to his leading, to surrender, and to learn to be in this moment now, right in front of me. 

Let’s be saints.

Giving our all to those we love. Surrendering to God’s plan. Fully immersing ourselves in the “sacrament of the present moment.” Rachel shows us how to do these hard, holy things. 

Let’s remember her three questions for those moments when we reach our own breaking points. And like Rachel, let’s find purpose in our identity as children of God, and follow with trust where God leads.

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