Lysol and “the bucket” were my best friends. We were on day 5 of the stomach virus. First Rachel, then Sam. What I did not know on that day is that it would take another shot at both of them before leaving me exhausted and spent, begging for mercy and a vacation. After that long bout though, I was satisfied to awake each morning to healthy children and to actually be able to leave the house after being cooped up for almost 3 weeks. While I would not want to relive those weeks, I am thankful that in the midst of that season the Lord did a work in my heart.
Remember that guy and our sweet mom’s question? Don’t believe him. But don’t believe yourself either…. Or at least some days I can’t believe myself. Those are the days that I find myself asking, much to my chagrin as I type, ”Is this it, Lord? I got my degree for this? For diapers and discipline and endless loads of laundry…. for stomach viruses that take over life for weeks at a time.”
On that especially hard day in the midst of the stomach virus rampage, as I changed the 4th poopie diaper of the day, I thought of all the grand dreams and heart-felt prayers inspired by listening to Piper's "Doing Missions When Dying is Gain" sermon for the 10th time in my college days as a religion major. Just the day before, I had listened to a sermon all about being radical. Only this time as I listened, I dissolved into tears feeling as though I was falling short somehow. Nothing radical to see here.
“Is this it, Lord?” I asked as I switched into auto-pilot to change the diaper. “I love my children and I even love what I am doing, despite the hard days. I just thought you wanted me to do something grand and big for you, but today my biggest accomplishment is everyone got a bath and I cooked dinner. Is this really enough? Is it REALLY all you want from me?”
Perhaps in a moment of honesty you can relate. The monotony of daily chores that leave you exhausted with not much to show for it at the end of the day, only to get up the next day to do it all again, has swallowed you whole and you are scrambling to keep from sliding into discouragement. Being radical does not fit on that to-do list that just keeps getting longer and longer, as you slip by necessity into survival mode.
Stop for a moment and let us remember together Titus 2. What does it say to us? Simply, we are to love our husband, to love our children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Don’t miss that last part. It is the foundation and solid rock for what we do. What does it say? The word of God will not be dishonored, but it also implies it is honored. We honor God simply by doing all the small tasks of loving our families and caring for our homes.
Admittedly some days are harder than others, like when the nasty stomach virus hits(again) and we are going on our third night with no sleep. Yet we are honoring the Word of God as we do it with love, humility and joy. There is no fan fare for this. There are no sermons preached about the holiness of cleaning up vomit at 2am with sleep in nowhere in sight, but this is what he has called us and he says that it honors him nonetheless.
The question for us as stay at home moms is do we believe this? Are we content with what the Lord has called us to do? I believe a large portion of our discontent as stay at home moms comes from misunderstanding what the Lord has for us. We have forgotten as a friend blogged that being a biblical wife and mom IS radical.
As Elizabeth Elliot put it to a struggling young mother, “’God is asking you simply to be where you are.’….and to be just that with love, with her heart’s acceptance and without fretting.”
My dear friend, let us not be discouraged or discontent in it. Let’s accept it, embrace it and love it as from His hand. Think on these verses and let their peaceful simplicity draw you into the hope of contentment and joy of his purpose for our lives:
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Proverbs 31:10
“encourage the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:4-5
“aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
Remember too that you are accomplishing unseen things. As Carolyn Mahaney reflects, as she looked back over her monotonous days, “I realize that all of the mundane, repetitive days were actually full of significant, enduring work. A home was being built. A family was being knit together. Four souls were being shaped for eternity.” (In fact you should read that whole blog post. It is what I read when monotony rears its ugly head and threatens to steal my hope and joy.)
So, my friend, remember your children are a gift. And remember the simple, sometimes monotonous, calling of quiet, self-sacrificing, biblical motherhood is all that God asks of you right now and that it is well-pleasing in his sight. Believe that, my friend.