A neighbor’s pine tree looms tall behind the fence in our backyard. Every day, it generously sheds its needles onto our side of the fence, and every day, we need to sweep them. It’s a task you can’t overachieve on one day so you can shirk it the next. It’s an unavoidable daily chore.
This season seems to be full of unavoidable daily chores and mundane responsibilities. Laundry, packing school lunches, drop-offs and pick-ups, dinner prep, feeding the family, homework. The alarm rings at 6:30 the next morning, and it starts all over again. I never dreamt of being a stay-at-home, working mom, and though the privilege of this season is not lost on me, there are days when I long for more than what my current life offers me — perhaps a time and place where I can fully use the gifts and talents I’ve been given, whatever that might mean.
Life before kids seems glorious in hindsight with the freedom to do all the things at all the hours. I look back and wonder where the source of all my energy came from and how I could magically access it now to get me through the afternoon. I couldn’t see it then how motherhood would change the speed at which I could work, the capacity of what I could do, the way through which I would usher in God’s kingdom. I had limited vision to see how God could work in my life and through my life. Motherhood shrank my world to the two little ones in front of me, but it was in the smallness that I began to understand purpose in a new way.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Paul writes, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands.” He reminds the believers in Thessalonica to keep living life in a way that pleases God by being holy, by loving others. He’s talking about the character and integrity of their faith demonstrated in their lives and likewise in ours. How do we build our character and practice integrity? It is worked out in the quiet life, the small life, the daily working of our hands. The hard heart work happens in the dark where no one can see.
There were about eighteen years of darkness or nothingness in Jesus’s life about which little is written. Between His time teaching at the temple at twelve years old, His baptism, and the beginning of His ministry at thirty years old, we only have one verse to tell us what happened in those eighteen years. Luke 2:52 says that “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” As any other child during those times, Jesus grew. He was a son, a brother. He lived a normal life, learned his father’s trade. I imagine that before Joseph gave Him greater responsibility, he made Jesus do small things, like sweeping the sawdust and wood shavings off the floor. Jesus lived a small, quiet life, maturing in His hidden years, being faithful in the mundane.
Mundane doesn’t mean your life has no purpose outside of your little ones or loved ones. Small and quiet are not death sentences to your dreams and passions. Instead, those words are simply a different framework in which God is doing His work. He is still being faithful to the work He’s always been doing — to make Himself known to mankind and to reconcile us to Himself. This hidden season is fertile ground for Him to strip away what taints our character, to heal our wounds and brokenness, and most importantly, to tell us again and again that our purpose, our worth, our identity isn’t found in accomplishments in life or ministry. Our worth is found in our belovedness, our identity is grounded in Christ, and our purpose is to be like Him.
While the kids nap and quiet has been restored in the house, I slip my feet into my sandals and grab the broom. The pine needles need to be swept. With each swish of the broom, I remind myself: this is my character being built, this is my identity being solidified, this is my purposeful, holy work.
Our worth is found in our belovedness, our identity is grounded in Christ, and our purpose is to be like Him. -@gracepcho: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Francee Strain says
Right now, you are actually doing something greater than you were before–you are helping THREE to grow in Christ-(yourself and your little ones) rather than just the one (yourself). And this growth that comes during these years will ripple out even further to the other lives that surround you. Treasure these moments as God molds both you and your kids for the seasons that have yet to come. My kids are 20 and almost 22. Sometimes my mouth hangs open in awe when I see them in their lives now. It is humbling to know that God used me to be a part of their growth somehow as I was bringing them up. And I am most definitely different than I was before I was a mom. Now I am shaped, and equipped, and ready for things I could not have been/done before. Minister all along the way to where you are going as you run this race for Him.
Grace P. Cho says
Love that last line, Francee!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I echo Francee’s sentiments. What may seem like the mundane is actually building your character and the character of the “littles” entrusted to your care. I may not have seen God shaping me at the time when my babies were young, but as I look back, I can see how every little thing had a purpose in His divine plan. Truly God can do holy work in the midst of the mundane. Trust me, I’ve seen it.
As a mama of 3 littles with flu season making its way through our home one by one – this devotion was timely and much needed! May thanks to you for sharing and lifting this little heart of mine!
Grace P. Cho says
So glad this spoke to you then and hopefully even today!
Grace, this is a lovely reminder that there is holy in the mundane. I am at the other end of the spectrum. Retired now from my nursing career, I still have lots of mundane duties to claim my time. Volunteer activities, helping my husband and children, caring for our home. But it is true I have more choices now that my paid working life is over and my children are grown. I will try to live in gratitude and worship. Thank you for your light in the darkness.
I found myself relating to this post in a profound way today. It is so timely, as I feel my day to day life as a full time working mom and wife is leaving me tired and less than fulfilled. I feel God working in me, but He has not yet shared His clear direction for my life. I know I’m called, but not sure to what. Thank you for reminding me He’s always working behind the scenes even when we have trouble seeing. I will stay the course. Blessings to you.
Grace P. Cho says
I’m right there too — called but not sure to what. Walking alongside you, wondering and asking with you.
Melanie Chitwood says
That’s one of my favorite verses! With “everyone” seemingly out there having a voice and a presence, what a good reminder in this devo of the purpose right in front of us. So well written! One thing I realize about raising children now that I have adult children is how much time and energy those children take! I like to remind younger women that there will be a different season. Being in my fifties has brought many rewards, even as those adult children still need me. However, there’s definitely more time to pursue other dreams. There’s a season for everything.
Beth Williams says
Your post reminds me of a song by Stephen C. Chapman “Do Everything”. It talks about the mundane tasks we do over & over daily. The chorus is: While I may not know you, I bet I know you Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all? Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you ‘Cause He made you to do Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face Tell the story of grace with every move that you make And every little thing you do. In essence everything we do matters to God so long as we do it to glorify Him. Raising children at home, cooking meals, cleaning house, going to work, laundry, etc. It can all be boring as heck. But if we do it in a way that glorifies God then He is pleased. More so we have grown in Christ & shined His light in this sin darkened world.
Grace P. Cho says
I love SCC!! Sometimes his songs come to mind every once in a while, and that song definitely speaks to this season!