Mothering is hard work and sometimes our hearts question our worth – the very point of it all. After all, so much of what consumes our time seemingly requires no special skill or training. Anyone can clean dirty clothes and dishes, change diapers, sweep cheerios (and peas and play dough) off the floor, rock babies to sleep.
We wonder if what we are doing is worthwhile, if it is making a difference, if it is even noticed. Yet, we can know some things through scripture.
We have the Master’s example
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him….
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
~ John 13:1-15
If Jesus could wash feet to show his love, I can wipe tear streaked little cheeks, kitchen counters and dirty bottoms to show my love. He left me an example to follow.
My work is not just for my family – it’s for the Lord
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ ~ Colossians 3:23-24
This changes my perspective from the temporal tasks in my hands to their eternal importance. Whether we are a mother caring for small children, a janitor mopping floors, or a CEO on his computer, we can all do the work in our hands “as for the Lord.”
We are practicing God’s love and in turn become molded more into his image.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
We know all too well that we are imperfect and sinful – but we are also the ones who will give our children their first view of God in us (this also applies in any job where I am a witness to the world!). Am I reflecting Him clearly? Or is the view murky and clouded? Perhaps, the answer lies in how often I gaze upon God and His glory.
Just because I don’t “feel” honored, doesn’t make my work meaningless
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:14-20
God arranged the members – how inspiring and humbling! Perhaps I don’t always see the importance of my tasks, but God sees the whole picture. He arranged each part to accomplish His purposes. And I can trust Him unreservedly.
My heart, my attitude, my service as a mother (or any service offered to the glory of God) may not earn riches or standing in society… But one thing I know – my actions will point in one of two directions: toward or away from Christ.
Perhaps my life, my work, my mothering wasn’t supposed to be about me anyway.
In John’s words,
He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease. ~ John 3:30