Wrist deep in one of the most adult of all tasks, I pulled scrambled egg from the sink drain. There are few things more humbling than using bare hands to retrieve the carnage of the morning’s breakfast when it is long cold, and far from appetizing. As I dumped the drain and began to wash out the sink, a chirpy seven-year-old voice broke the scrubby song.
“The Godly man’s life is exciting!” She said.
I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud. Actually it was more of a snort.
Wheeling around, I saw her there with her handwriting assignment; to write out a verse (Proverbs 14:14) and decorate the page. She had done both and was walking to the fridge to hang her creation. She skipped off to the next task and I stood there with the evidence of my exciting life embedded in my fingernails.
Exciting is a strong word, I thought. Not one I would always use to describe the day to day tasks of life. But in that moment with the sun beating through the window and soap bubbles dancing down the drain, I noticed another verse on the wall.
“Live a quiet life…and work with your hands.” (1 Thess. 4:11)
And that rang true. If there is one thing I know about motherhood, it’s the truth of it being physical.
We peel ourselves from a warm bed before the dance of the day begins. At day’s end our back aches from bending and lifting and carrying and holding. Our hair gets pulled by little starfish hands and our faces covered in sloppy baby kisses. Often we work with our hands so much it feels like we might never use our brains again. We share our drink, our food, our bodies, and our personal space. And it can feel like so much more than we can handle.
We often discount the work we are doing right now because we feel it might overshadow the REAL work we may be called to. It is tempting to work with half hearts as we wait for the next stage, the next bit of freedom, the next next.
But God’s Word, in the Old Testament and the New, is clear — that all our work matters to Him. And so our work should matter a great deal to us.
Whether or not we would say our lives are exciting all of the time, we are precisely where God wants us. We can know this because He put us here. He allows us to remain here. And until He moves us, we remain. No amount of craning our neck to see what’s coming down the line for us can make the waiting easier. We aren’t biding our time, waiting for the real work — this is the real work, every last little bit.
And it is good because HE is good.
It may be that every now and then, we write something that helps someone, or encourage a large group, or create the thing that gives others joy, but truly, it is no more important than the days we smell only of animal crackers. Whether we end our day having touched many or touched three that share our last name, we are doing the REAL WORK.
This is all the real work.
Staying up way past bedtime to catch the rare chatty hours of a teenager.
Sitting in the car and praying that fourth-grader all the way up her school sidewalk.
Putting aside what we hoped to accomplish because someone had a rough day at school.
Learning how to pour love and truth on a fast-moving toddler target.
Funneling Scripture into little heads and pausing long enough to listen to their plans to one day own a unicorn farm.
We may be bone-weary most evenings, but we can know this thing — that God, who has placed us here in this role as mother, He is doing the real work in us and in them.
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13