(Before you read this post, know this is not a statement on working moms. I believe God has a different plan for each of us–each family. Some are called to stay home with their children. Others are called into the world to become Christ’s healing balm to a hurting world. And still others are called to do both. As moms, the best thing we can do is draw near to God each and every day, find out what He wants us to do, then do it, knowing if we do that, our efforts will please Him.)
I’ve stayed home for just over sixteen years now, and for sixteen years, I’ve struggled with wanting to do more–something that counts, that won’t be undone by the end of the day. This was especially tough when our daughter was young. Most of my days, it seemed, were spent wiping noses, cleaning spills, and picking up toys that would only find their way back to the floor. This doesn’t mean I didn’t cherish my time with our daughter. I did! I wouldn’t trade our snuggle times for anything! But every once in a while, I wanted to do something “significant.” Something with tangible results. But each time, God would remind me, “What you’re doing matters.”
My feelings weren’t unique. In fact, my older sister is struggling with similar feelings right now. With a master’s degree, and following on the tails of a busy, very fulfilling career, the transition from career world to diaper-changing has been tough. Couple this with her deep sense of compassion for a hurting world and her desire to reach out, and it’s easy to understand why she struggles. Intellectually, she knows this is a phase, that God’s not through with her, but there are days she feels tucked away on a shelf.
Last week, these feelings returned in full force. Not far from Baltimore, she’s fully aware of the deep needs all around her–broken children in broken homes, people sleeping on the street, fighting addiction, hopelessness. She attends a church passionate about outreach, and although her family gets involved when they can, she longs to do more!
You can’t live in close communion with God and not feel His pain for the broken, His sorrow over sin.
This sorrow, infused by the heart of the Father, has stirred within her a desire for action. It’s led her to dream big, praying God would go before her and open wide the doors for ministry.
And yet, each day, doors seem to close. She’s not changing the world. She’s changing diapers instead.
“I started to throw myself a pity party,” she said. “I wanted to know why God wasn’t using me. I’d pray, ‘Lord, just place ONE person in my path today, just one, whom I can love on.’”
Nothing. Even the homeless people she once gave lunches to seemed to disappear. And so, she continued on, trudging through, struggling just to keep up with her Bible reading amidst the chaos of raising toddlers.
In fact, one week she didn’t finish her study, and she almost didn’t make it to her small group. She even considered not going. What would it hurt to miss one day?
But God had other plans. He didn’t want to chastise her for her pity party. He didn’t want to guilt her into being more, doing more. He saw His broken child and longed to be the lifter of her head.
“We were reading 1 Timothy chapter five. I’ve read it before. It’s a familiar passage, and one I’ve never paid much attention to. Except today, the words leapt out at me.”
1 Timothy 5:9 (NIV)
9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband,10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
“In this verse, caring for your children is listed with caring for the poor and helping others,” she said.
In essence, God said to her, “What you are doing matters. A lot.”
Often, we want to do grand things for God–run a ministry or go on an international mission trip, and those are great things! But the little things, like caring for your children, sitting with a hurting neighbor, or spending time with a wounded friend, are just as important. Through this verse, God told Jesseca He was pleased with every snotty nose she wiped, every diaper she changed, every patty-cake she played.
God saw it all, every seemingly mundane task, and was saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant. My child.”
Might God be trying to say the same thing to you today?
Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about measuring ourselves by God’s standard, and resting in His love and acceptance. He may indeed call us to international missions, or He may call us to a story book and living room sofa. We may see “results” right away, or it may be years before we see the whys and hows. And that’s where trust comes in, knowing God loves us and is at work in and through us, every day. He’s fully present in the big and the small, and I believe He wants us to be fully present as well.
I’d love to hear from you. What area are you struggling to find purpose in right now? Maybe you’re in what appears to be a no-end job. Maybe you’re looking for a job, and can’t understand why God would leave you in a period of waiting. What might God be doing in your “interim”? And how can you be more present in the now?