It’s a natural conversation.* You see someone you haven’t seen in a while, and the flow of questions proceeds something like this, “Hi! How are you? How are the kids? What have you been up to lately?” I say essentially the same things when exchanging pleasantries. But, I have a confession. I kind of despise the last question. I typically have no idea how to respond to it in a meaningful way, so I laugh and say something like, “Oh! Just up to life. Busy, but good.”
It’s a true statement. We are busy, but good. My good days are filled with giggles and kisses and hugs. We explore outside and gasp at the beautiful flowers while Hannah grabs every dandelion she sees and unsuccessfully tries to blow away the seedpods. (She typically gives a couple of valiant blows, grabs the pods to tear them off, and then throws them down. One time she somehow ended up with the entire flower head disintegrating in her mouth. It wasn’t a winning taste or texture for her.) Nora says hello at anyone within earshot (which is about the length of a block in her mind) and stops anyone walking dogs to share the news that Hannah loves puppies. It’s really Nora’s way of making sure she gets to pet the dogs. I wipe bottoms, change diapers, wash clothes, clean up dishes, cook meals, kiss ouchies (or boobies as Nora sometimes insists on calling her scratches), pick up toys, snuggle, and read books. On normal days, I also reprimand Nora for disrespectful retorts, break up fights, try to convince Hannah to eat more than cheese and apple sauce, and wonder if my patience will make it through the day. On bad days, well, the tears and grumpiness feel as if they will never end, and I don’t even want to apologize to my children when I raise my voice when I shouldn’t.
I had a fellow home group member ask me once after I started staying home with Nora, “What do you do all day?” I don’t have a glamorous response. There are many parts of my life that are just plain mundane. And, I don’t say that to indicate that I’m discontent with where I am in life. I’m not. I’m blessed. I know it, and I feel it. Yet, I haven’t always felt that way. I’ve so often thought that if I just worked instead of staying home that I would get so much more affirmation, have more accomplishments, and lead a more exciting life. Recently, I’ve had a bit of an “aha moment.” Regardless of where a person is in life, I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people feel their lives are largely mundane.
Last week, it seemed that the topic of faith kept popping up in my Bible study. In my Genesis study, we looked at Abraham’s faith in Genesis 21 and 22. And, in my Moms’ Group study, we focused on the shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16. The discussion at Moms’ Group led to the great acts of faith we see in Hebrews 11, which are just astounding to really consider. During our discussion, one mom commented that God hasn’t called her to something great like Moses, who led an entire people group out of slavery. I often think exactly what she said. Except, my thoughts sometimes say that God hasn’t called me to ANYTHING great. My life is just one mundane day after another. Thankfully that’s a lie. But, I need the truth of Scripture to tell me that – always – but especially on my bad days.
First, Scripture exhorts us to be faithful in the little things, not just the big things. I’m reminded of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 where the master gives his servants varying numbers of talents while he is away. When he returns, he finds the one to whom he gave five talents has invested those talents and gained five more. The master responds, “Well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21) Luke 16:10 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” We are to be faithful in whatever setting the Lord has placed us, and we will be held accountable for what we have done.
Second, I grasp onto the truth that what I’m doing is eternally important. God is sovereign. He has placed me in this place at this time for the purpose He has planned for me from the beginning (Psalm 33:11-15). What I am doing right now will never win an accolade or garner a six figure salary, but it has eternal ramifications. These tiny humans have been entrusted to Matthew and me to love and point to Christ. And, these tiny humans are playing a huge role in my sanctification. Oh, that lovely word. How desperately I wish that sanctification was never a painful process. But, we can count on the truth of God’s Word and lean into His promise that He has begun a good work in us and WILL complete it at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6) even if we don’t instantly see the evidence of that progressive sanctification. John Owen said, “The growth of trees and plants takes place so slowly that it is not easily seen. Daily we notice little change. But, in course of time, we see that a great change has taken place. So it is with grace. Sanctification is a progressive, lifelong work (Prov 4:18). It is an amazing work of God’s grace and it is a work to be prayed for (Rom 8:27).” (The Holy Spirit, 108-109)
Last thought to remember in our mundane days - Be faithful in the small things and cling to the eternality of our daily lives. Can someone please remind me of this on my next challenging day?
“We can be in our day what the heroes of faith were in their day – but remember the time they didn’t know they were heroes.” -- A.W. Tozer
*The caveat to this “natural conversation” in a social media world: You see someone who you haven’t seen in YEARS and think, “I should say hi!” You walk up to them and suddenly realize you have nothing to genuinely ask them. You know the name of their first child. You know when they got their dog. You know when they switched jobs. Heck, you know when they painted their fingernails last. It’s at this point that I sometimes panic. If I ask a basic question that they’ve obviously answered on Facebook, are they going to be secretly thinking, “Why in the world don’t you just check your Facebook feed?!”