“This just isn’t what I thought motherhood would be like!!!”
I wailed this to myself as I cleaned up the overflowing-toilet water that had run over, not just in the bathroom, but down the vent into the coat closet below it, soaking our entire family’s winter coats with uber-gross toilet water. It was a rude awakening to my early morning, as I was snuggling with my heaven-scented newborn in bed, hearing my little kids frantically calling that the toilet was overflowing. My 2-week old baby began screaming to be fed, but the other three kids and I were doing all we could to prevent the water from going into the living room and ruining the rug. Water was everywhere, if it could be called water. My husband was already at work, and it was “one of those days” on steroids.
As a teenager, I had high ideals of what my life was going to be like. Not marrying until I was 30 was one of them, because I was going to spend my life for the Gospel, international travel and mission, pursue education, and then eventually get married after I had done all the things.
And then God smiled and gently changed my plans, because He always knows best. He knew my energy wanted to be channeled somewhere meaningful, and so he gave me a husband and four precious kiddos. Eternity, a mission field, right in my own home.
Embracing my role as a mother, and realizing the incredible impact on eternity that is within the four walls of my home each day, is something that has grown with each year of motherhood. It’s not glamorous; it’s full of the mundane, and is daily unrecognized. And yet, it is the very place where the beauty thrives, where the joy flows, because God is present here, and because there is mysterious joy in laying down our lives for the cause of something greater.
Yes, there are days of toilets overflowing and sibling squabbles and short tempers (including my own), and we come to Jesus daily because we’re in desperate need of Him. As my husband and I live together, grow together, apologize together, love together, we’re showing our kids a picture of Jesus and His unconditional love, a love that never lets go, that never gives up on each other.
When I apologize to my kids for being impatient, I tell them that I need Jesus just as much as they do, and we pray and come to Jesus and to the cross together. The Cross is a place of repentance, of receiving forgiveness, and of receiving strength for a fresh start, even if it’s the 26th time that day. There is always grace, always forgiveness, always new sweet joy to be received and given.
Right now, I have a just-turned 1 year old, and a 4, 7, and 9 year old, so we’re still in the thick of changing diapers, wiping little bums, and kissing ouchies and using bandaids like they’re the magic cure. There’s school, and tears of spelling, and helping my daughters as they navigate through peer pressure and pre-teen years.
It’s so much giving, so little down-time in my days, but sometimes just stopping and looking at their precious little faces, realizing that I’ve been given these four little disciples – not just for a year or two, but for about 18 years of their lives – it’s sobering, and it’s an incredible gift.
Jesus meets me in the shower (sometimes the only alone time in the whole day). He meets me in music during dinner-making. He meets me in the dimples and snuggles of my baby. Sometimes it can take my breath away, the wonder of it, being given little souls to love, to raise, to teach to love Jesus, to show the love of Jesus.
And my baby’s changing table turns from being a place to change stinky diapers into a place of being a mission field; this is a place where Jesus is known and shown, where His love is daily given, where His forgiveness and sweet grace daily is received, and where little disciples are made.
In the mundane, in the daily,
that is where Jesus is most known.