“I hate being a housewife. There I said it,” I declared heatedly, several months after quitting my job to stay home with my newly adopted children. It was the first time I dared to even say it, and the second I did, I wished that I could take it back.
The stench of selfishness filled the room as my husband looked at me in surprise. He knew that the transition was difficult for me, but as the idea of adoption was initially my idea, there’s no way he would have thought I could have sunk that low.
Instead of retorting sarcasm about how difficult it must be to be free to do whatever I want during the day (including daily trips to the YMCA pool in the summer), he sat back and let me continue to vent.
“I went through all those years of school just to be in my career for a minute, and what is it all for? Laundry and cleaning? Yeah, yeah, I know that I’m supposed to be serving God in the mundane. Dress it up all you want. The mundane sucks,” I continued.
Oh, dear reader, you can judge me. However, based on statistics of depression in 30-50 year old women, there’s a chance that if you are a stay-at-home mom, you have thought these things as well.
I didn’t need to hear a response from him. My tongue had betrayed my sinful heart. My head could identify where the sin was. Although it took a while for me to verbalize, I immediately was repentant to God for my selfish motives.
Brother Lawrence, in The Practice of the Presence of God, blatantly corrects my thinking:
“We ought not to grow tired of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
My bitter heart forgot that serving my new family, even in chores, is done first because I love God. My family receives overflow of my love for God by experiencing the blessing of my menial tasks (by having clean clothes, food in the pantry, etc).
Jesus says in John 12:25-27:
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
“The more we serve, the more we love, and the greater we are.”
This idea is profound! The more I serve others out of my love for God, the stronger my love will be for them. I will continue to grow in love with my family (and others in my life whom I serve), and therefore, will want to continue to serve them in any way I can. And then there's the promise: I will feel fulfillment in Him as I serve and love others.
That evening, one of my children and I were discussing their ‘old life’. Fading, broken memories were shared. The bravery that I saw in such a little person was unbelievable. I responded the only way I knew how, by saying that God is a protector and provider and He gives new life. God purposefully uses our experiences, the ‘threads of our lives’, as Jennie Allen puts it, to work through us to minister to others.
I was so thankful to God for the opportunity to share His words with a child who desperately needs to know His love. I realized that this is where God has called me. I don't have to dress up the mundane. If I am looking outward, instead of navel-gazing, I see that God works so clearly in the ordinary.
After bedtime routines, as we were turning out the lights, my husband noticed this note:
“Don’t ever again say that the mundane is not worth it," was his tearful admonishment.
See You In The Round,
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."