Is Being “Just” a Mom Enough?
I bumped into an old friend from high school over the holidays. We hadn’t seen each other in decades, so we began catching up. “What are you doing with yourself?” she asked. I paused. Then I began, “Well, I’m a stay-at-home homeschool mom...”
I didn’t stop there; I felt I had to continue, “…but before that I worked as a marine biologist, and now I am writing and…”
After we said our polite goodbyes and happy hugs, I went back over our conversation and wondered, “Why did I feel like I had to add to who I was and what I have been doing all these years? Was being a mom not enough?”
Am I just doing the ordinary?
Well, I had to fall back on the fact that I knew God was calling me to be at home when our first child was born. I knew it would be the best thing for him and for our family if I was there every day.
Changing diapers and reciting the ABC’s sounds ordinary. So why did I think it was the best? Well, as I have learned over the years, I need to have a perspective that is in line with God’s perspective.
I have learned that God has a perfect plan that spans time. His plans often are not on our time table. They take work. They often require us to learn some things along the way.
Our great nation began by people who understood this. They knew that greatness comes from goodness. They understood the value of faith, family, hard work – Biblical ideas. They understood that the future hinged on the young ones they were bringing up. They were creating a nation for the generations to come. Their efforts, then, hinged on the PERSON, not the accomplishment. And these principles brought fruit; they brought our country to greatness. But it took time.
When my children were younger, I would always have them help me begin a small garden each spring. We cleared out the plot of land, prepped the soil, and planted the seeds. They watered, weeded, and waited. And waited. And waited.
They had to learn that true fruit doesn’t come overnight. It takes fertilizing, watering, weeding, pruning, and waiting. It requires patience. It is dirty. It makes you sweat.
I worked to train my little ones to bear great fruit. But I needed to realize that it took time. I would have dirt under my fingernails, spit up on my shoulder, sweat on my brow. Sometimes I would think that nothing was sprouting. I would get tired. I would work day-in and day-out, often on my hands and knees, cleaning, cooking, training, encouraging. Again and again and again.
But I need keep focusing on the goal. Realizing that this is for the long haul and it is worth it. Knowing that it is the tiny little pushes in conjunction with one thousand other pushes that makes a difference. It is not one successful moment of obedience. It isn’t knocking out the housework by Wednesday.
What makes the remarkable is the principle of hard work – keeping our home, caring for our children, grocery shopping (without our coupons, because we forgot them at home) – firmly relying on God’s providence, determined to establish our family, grounded in truths of Scripture.
When we talk of world changers, we often focus on big events: wars, discoveries, notable speeches. But the real world changers in history are those who minded their homes, tended their gardens, kept their families. They then raised up another generation that valued the Biblical ideals of hard work and poured into the generations to come.
This is not taught in a day. And it is not extraordinary at face value. It appears small, not blingy.
BUT the things of this world are foolishness to God, and God’s wisdom seems foolish to men. You see, God often takes the least, the last, the most unlikely and raises them up not to just make a difference, but to change the world.
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others.
When our children take their education and apply it with wisdom, they can transform our culture and be leaders in our world. THIS is the importance of being “just” a mom. We need to see what God sees.
Yes, it can be painful; it will stretch us; it will keep us up at night. But it will result in children with a passion to be a part of something remarkable God has for them.
That is the extraordinary part of ordinary. You see, sometimes excellence looks blingy and exciting, like a Bach concerto or a Renoir masterpiece. But most of the time it doesn’t. However it always, ALWAYS looks like Jesus’ sacrificial ways – a giving up of oneself.
In God’s eyes, what we see as menial is truly meaningful. What we see as unremarkable is remarkable. There is something in the slow, day-to-day process of wiping noses, doing laundry, quizzing spelling, hugging your husband that goes beyond the ordinary.
Building one day at time on those endeavors is what makes it extraordinary.