Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Mama, what did you do all day?"

"From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ."
                                                                                                2 Timothy 3:15 

Today, my neighbor got out of her car, decked out in a new work suit. Her hair freshly cut and colored. Looking simple stunning. And irritatingly RESTED. 

We chatted about her latest work deadline and the shopping she still has to do (I imagined what it would be like to attempt the mall scene like her, with NO KIDDOS). She politely looked at the baby sitting on my hip and the three others playing softball in our front yard. Then she raised a just-waxed, perfectly arched eyebrow at the "controlled chaos" in our busy yard...

The conversation stilled. You could tell she felt obligated to ask. 

"So, what did you do all day long today? Did you even leave the house?" 

And how do I answer that? How do I tell her how many times I cleaned the high-chair or how many loads of laundry I folded, stacks still piled high on our bedroom floor, needing to be put away.  How do I tell her that I didn't get a shower until 1:30 pm and sucked down dark tea all morning to keep me going while I played Candyland and taught the baby how not to stick her fingers in the electrical outlet? What to say when you spend your days centered around feeding littles and reading stories and bathing messy bottoms and cleaning the toothpaste off of the toilet seat (don't ask) again? 

And so I meet her eyes and smile wide, "Yes, I stayed home. And it was...a" 

And she nods politely. Because she has no idea. No idea how tough this Mama-job can be on somedays, well everyday if I am honest. No idea how much we give and give up and miss out on. No idea that on some early mornings, when I watch her pull out of her neighboring driveway, I secretly wish I could be her for a day. 

But she has no idea how this Mama-thing, as challenging as it can be, is what will ultimately save me. Giving like this is how I have found my salvation. Loving littles is what brings me daily to the feet of my Savior. It is what sifts me out my self-centeredness and drawls me into closer relationship with the One who calls me His Beloved. 

Because yes, my hair desperately needs coloring and I'm writing this wearing my husband's basketball sweat pants (again). Yes, I still have a lot of Christmas shopping to do and my girls room is a hot mess and I squeezed the baby into "too-small-PJ's" one more time for her morning nap because I am too tired to get the next batch of girls clothes down from the attic. Yes, this job can be hard when Candyland sounds fun but you spend more time teaching your four-year-old how to NOT throw a fit (or a green "Candy-guy") when its his turn to pull the Gingerbread card and he has to go WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING (making me feel like crying too). 

But I wouldn't trade all of this for anything. Really. 

Because yes, as my best girl friend reminds me, I could be out in the working world "affecting" and "helping" other peoples lives during nine to five. But as a Mama who is with her kids the majority of the time, I have made the daily choice to love here instead of out there. 

And because of that, I have the DAILY OPPORTUNITY TO MOLD and SAVE SOULS. 

Souls, who I pray, will come to know Jesus and have their tender hearts transformed by His love and sacrifice. And Lord willing, if He is merciful, souls who will be with Me for all of eternity. And making THAT kind of impact, showing that kind of "Jesus-love" can't be squeezed in around a 40-hour work week. 

That kind of love takes time. Lots of it. 

And so if today- if you are looking out of your (toddler-fingerprinted) glass window wishing that you were not HERE...not HOME...but instead OUT THERE...take heart my friend.

Turn and look back inside into the beautiful faces of your littles. Be encouraged. When it feels like you are being left-behind and everyone else is doing something far more interesting and you are missing out...don't be fooled! The love you are growing into your littles far outweighs any "career" the world has to offer. 


God sees all that you do. He sees every time you give up what is best for you to serve or wipe or kiss a little one. God sees all the times you say "no" to outside asks and shopping trips and girlfriend parties to nurse a sick kid or put another pink-eye drop into a gunky eye. God sees when you are "late-again" because you took the time to slow and show two sisters how to forgive, how to love each other above themselves. God sees when you put your husband and kids above the shininess and appeal of the world.  God sees your heart and loves how it is coming to know Him better with each mothering challenge in your path. 

So this afternoon I will put on a little extra mascara and blow dry my hair (it makes my roots look much better!). Before I head outside to rake leaves and clean up the kids toys spread out all over our front lawn, I will take off these sweatpants and squeeze into my jeans so I can say hello to my beautiful neighbor when her car pulls into the driveway next door.

And if she asks me again about my day, and what I did, I will be ready to respond (complete with my crazy eyebrows and all). 

"Yes, today was full. I stayed home most of the day loving on little ones. And there is no better job in the world than Mothering..." ​
"God designed motherhood to be a deeply meaningful role. We mothers have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children. Through our teaching and influence, morality can be learned and modeled, love and kindness are taught and received, purpose and vision are ignited and passed on. The real ability of a mother to secure such a spiritual legacy is based on the strength of her relationship with her child. As we tenderly care for our children, meeting their needs, teaching them and guiding them, praying for them and modeling our faith, we are also anchoring their hearts to our home, our values, and our beliefs. These ties are built over a period of many years, through the small ways we spend the minutes of our day and the large ways in which we celebrate the momentous events in our lives."

Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson pg. 14