I wish every mother I know could have been with me at church the last few weeks. I have never been so encouraged, so admonished, so certain that my pastor must be reading my diary. Kidding. Honestly though, the sermons lately have been so overwhelmingly relevant to my life, to where I am right now, that it’s spooky. He’s been doing a series on the family, and of course, I’ve paid extra attention to the part about mothers/wives. And to be honest, I think I’d started to forget, or maybe I never fully comprehended, just how important my job is. Just how vital and high a calling I have as a mother.
There is nothing more important, no greater deed to accomplish, than doing this job well. Wow. Let that one soak in. It doesn’t mean that a woman can’t excel in the professional world, because obviously we can. (Cause we rock.) But, the cost is too great if it means domestic failure. There is no more noble, valuable, respectable, honor-deserving job than the one I am doing right now. I don’t have to prove myself in any other thing, I don’t have to have the world’s validation, I don’t have to make a name for myself, I don’t have to distinguish myself from my role of wife and mother. Am I more than that? Of course I am. But even what small thing I contribute to the world at large is still tiny in comparison to what I am building in these four walls. What is more consequential- being a few things to all people, or all things to a few people? I may write a book, that thousands of people read, and are affected by for an hour. But in comparison to the affect I have on the four lives of my children, which is twenty-four hours a day, every day, every month, every year… which is the greater contribution? Who do I impact more? Which one of these must I excel at, which depends on my success the most?
It doesn’t mean I don’t want to have more definition to my life than that of wife/mother– I do. But it is the lesser need, the lesser calling. That’s not a popular concept in our American culture. We’re all about our individuality and self actualization, but that’s not Biblical. We’re to be servants, we’re called to sacrifice, take up our cross. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”–Mark 8:36. I don’t want to garner the world’s favor, which is ever so brief and fickle, at the cost of God’s eternal pleasure. Sometimes that means putting aside some personal pursuits, being selfless. And you know what- that doesn’t feel good. It wouldn’t be sacrifice if it was giving up something that didn’t matter. But that’s what we’re commanded to do. It’s not that they are bad things – fishing isn’t a bad thing, but Jesus commanded Simon and Andrew to leave it, and follow Him. Sometimes that’s what it takes. Leave it, bury it, put it aside. And you will be honored for it, rewarded, if not in this present life, then most definitely in the next. Don’t be so caught up in this moment and the daily sacrifice of motherhood that you can’t see what comes after.
I don’t know if you struggle with these kinds of things, but I’m willing to bet that if you stay at home with your kids, you do. We’ve forgotten what dignity there is in the dirty dishes. What honor is won in battling dust bunnies and soap scum. That with every household chore we do, we honor God, we model Christ to our children, we build our homes- and that is spiritual warfare. For every Christian home that remains intact, it is a strike against the foe. And we women are on the frontlines of that, everyday, armed with mops and brooms and hearts that serve. It may seem humorous, and it is, because we serve a God with a sense of humor. But it’s true. Our hands further the kingdom, and our hearts preserve it.
We should believe that.
But we know it’s about more than just those daily tasks. Anybody could do those- we could hire someone to come in and do all those things. It’s about more than just the chores we do. It’s about who we are, what we are, to our family, that makes motherhood so very meaningful, and makes us individually so important.
You are the living vine of your home, you grow and flourish in every nook and cranny. Your creativity and personality are a bouquet of colors, your breath is the sweet scent of the bloom, your body is the cool shade where they lay their heads… Your roots stabilize, your stems and branches protect and shield, even though you don’t know it. You grow in and around everything, creating a rich, lush canopy that shelters and nourishes. Everything about you, yes YOU- you with your love of crossword puzzles, or mystery novels, or chamomile tea, or the color purple, or whatever those things are that make you YOU… those things matter. You matter. Everything about you creates a world for your family. Every nuance of who you are, every quirk, eccentricity- the songs you hum, the perfume you wear, the way you smile, the whole contour of your being… is completely and utterly meaningful. Like the vine, you send tendrils of yourself in every direction. You set the tone, your uniqueness grows a family that is special, different, distinct from any other in the whole world.
You don’t just create a home, my sister. You are the home. And it is beautiful in their eyes.
That thought… wow. It fills a need in me, one that goes bonedeep, to feel needed and important… to know why I’m here and what God wants from me.
I hope it will do the same for you. If you want to listen to the series of sermons that inspired this post- go here. (Biblical Theology of the Family, Part 1) They’re just incredible. Much of what I’ve said is straight from his sermons… good thing plagiarism isn’t one of the seven deadly sins. Ha.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotta go call my momma and tell her I love ‘er. Have a good one, folks.