I first heard about the little French girl who taught the world a “little way” they could love God, love people, and pursue holiness, when I was ten.
I was raised a Presbyterian pastor’s kid, and when I was nine my whole family converted to Catholicism. Up to that point, things like sacraments, the Rosary, Church doctrine, and the concept to saints was utterly foreign to me. I had never heard of saints except for the saints of the Bible, and the idea that someone would dedicate their entire life to pursuing God to the point that the Church would officially declare that person “holy” and “in Heaven” was completely new to me.
For my tenth birthday, my mom gave me a biography called The Little Flower, by Mary Fabian Windeatt. It was the story of Therese Martin, a little girl from Lisieux, France, who would give her short life completely to God in a cloistered Carmelite convent.
The little French girl was told to write her autobiography shortly before tuberculosis took her life at age 24. Her story, which chronicles her family life and her intense relationship with God as her Father, is called The Story of a Soul, and has become one of the most widely read and loved spiritual memoirs of all time.
In her memoir, Therese wrote of a “little way” to pursue holiness and heaven that is possible for everyone, even the smallest, most insignificant soul. Therese found great consolation in offering her Lord her every day tasks, worries, sufferings, hardships, and turning the everyday mundane of her life and circumstances into a beautiful bouquet of love offered to God.
Since then, Catholics and other Christians have been irresistibly attracted to this concept of a “little way” of pursuing holiness in the ordinary. The ideas that you can live each day as pure gift, place hope of salvation at the feet of an all-merciful Father, and live your everyday life with confidence in God’s immeasurable love for you, lit a worldwide fire of hope in hearts, that continues today.
When I read Therese’ biography, it floored me. I had no idea a young girl could pursue a life of holiness with such passion and determination. I was immensely attracted to the idea of placing my entire life, hopes, dreams, and actions at the feet of a merciful Father and believing He would take my ordinary offerings and sanctify them for His glory.
But at the time, I had no idea how the teachings of this holy little French girl would impact every facet of my marriage, my motherhood, and my home life.
The “Little Way” to a Beautiful Home
I have discovered Therese’ “little way” of moving forward in faith, one small step at a time, to be the key to beautiful decor, healthy living, and a happy home.
You see, early on in my motherhood, I felt pretty much debilitated from making progress when I assessed my current state of chaos vs. the goals for where I needed or wanted our home life to be.
For example, I wanted my family to eat healthy, nutritious, junk free food. But when I looked at my crunchier-minded “all-natural” mama friends and everything they were doing to be healthy, it paralyzed me from taking even one step towards cleaner eating.
In my first three years of marriage I had three babies, and let me tell you, the baby weight piled on as exponentially as you’d imagine. I would take a look at Jillian Michael’s toned abs on the exercise DVD and feel like giving up in the first 30 seconds of her warm up. I was so extremely horrifyingly far from looking remotely toned. It made me want to give up before I started.
I dreamed of decorating my home in the “French provincial meets Pottery Barn catalog cover” style I loved so much. And then the PB Catalog would arrive and I’d stare at my living room collection of Craigslist meets hand-me-down-from-grandparents furniture and I’d feel my home would never look put together and beautiful.
Big goals and far-away end states can easily paralyze anyone, especially an exhausted or overwhelmed mother. That’s where Saint Therese’ “little way” has changed my life. The “baby steps with God’s grace” method to everything has been my key to accomplishing goals and transforming our home and health.
Instead of setting your sights on the dream goals, the big steps, the gigantic leaps necessary to getting where you want to be, I challenge you to think in small, simple, achievable steps.
You want to lose the baby weight and tone your body? Can you go for a ten minute walk all by yourself tomorrow morning, and work up to a 15 minute walk/jog by the end of the month? Take that “little way” first step, Girlfriend.
What piece in your living room would make your space feel the most beautiful? Set a goal for searching Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or your favorite thrift store for that one statement piece, and re-asses the room after you’re able to make that one change.
The “little way” can be applied to literally every facet of your home, your family, and your work life. One step forward at a time, when pursued in love and offered to God, can result in a tremendous, glorious impact on your home and your heart.
As Christians we believe that Jesus Christ redeems, sanctifies, and glorifies us. Yes, he does this truly awesome work first and foremost on our souls. But it doesn’t stop there! And that’s the awe-inspiring beauty of Saint Therese’ life and witness to the Gospel.
He takes the most minute and mundane of your life and tasks, and when you offer them to Him in the ordinary of your day, he takes it – all of it – and He redeems. He sanctifies. He glorifies. He blesses and make EVERYTHING beautiful, all in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
I’m launching this new blog, Everyday Beautiful, with the hope that I can share Saint Therese’ “little way” mission with other wives, mothers, and homemakers, with ideas for bringing great beauty, vibrant health, and immense joy into the ordinary of your every day life.
Please let me know you’re here in the comments so I can say hello! And here’s a song to kick off your week with some inspiration and motivation.
He will consume you with a fire, fulfill all your desires, and bring you something beautiful. Always.