Sometimes motherhood looks like this. Sometimes it is actually as I always imagined. Picturesque and full of fun and joy.
Sometimes motherhood means cuddles and high fives. Sometimes its views are smiles and content children. However, sometimes motherhood looks like messes and smells like spit up.
There are days of laughter and days of tears. One day you will turn around and see poop smeared on the wall next to your outdated toilet.
You will find yourself making up rules like don’t lick the diaper changing table IN THE PUBLIC REST ROOM, don’t sit on your sister, don’t eat Legos or maybe even don’t pee when you are in the corner for time out.
Every day will have a new challenge or adventure but every day will be the same. Your loop will include wake up and make something, clean something, fix something; repeat. There will be many days where what you do all day will be a mystery to even you. If you list it out you might include… clean up the food off of the floor that the kiddos spilled while trying to sneak a snack, wipe up spilled milk, find the missing sippy cup FIVE MILLION TIMES and go up and down the stairs seven times before remembering what you wanted at the top.
You will try to form a checklist of your productivity probably mostly for yourself. You are hoping to check off something that is lasting. However, as clean laundry disappears and mountains of unwashed clothes tower into the air you will wonder to yourself, does it matter that I clean it all just to be undone. The same is true in the kitchen as dishes pile up and the table needs to be wiped again. You will wonder why do I do it all? Is it all in vain? Is what I do valuable and lasting? This feeling even appears with the kiddos after a long fun filled day. You are exhausted from a day of fun making and fun having. All of a sudden one of the kids says “I’m bored” as if they forgot the park that you took them to, the snack that you bought them, or the friends that they played with.
Nothing seems lasting. Does the fun that we have get remembered? Do the chores that seem to undo themselves leave any lasting impact? What are we striving for? Is it a clean house or happy kids? Is it temporary like joy that fades with a quickly aging new toy or like the clean that fades to grime with one mud puddle?
Sometimes motherhood is simply exhausting!
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
We can strive and work. We can build and toil. We can plan and entertain. However, if we do it alone it is just to be undone and forgotten. The work that we do with our agenda falls flat. But if we work with the LORD, if we seek His ends then what we are doing is not in vain. We will not endlessly toil but find rest. The building will be secure and strong and lasting.
The problem is often our perspective. We are looking at ourselves. We are looking at our expectations. We are looking at the temporary. The Bible tells us to set our mind on things above (Colossians 3:2), to make heavenly things our treasure. Look to the things that cannot be undone or taken away (Matthew 6:20-21).
If we set our perspectives right, we will see that children are our heritage. They are our blessings. With God as the one who watches over our city, sometimes motherhood is blessing after blessing. Sometimes motherhood is opportunity after opportunity. Sometimes we will see that we are given the opportunity to act in a way that honors our God and to direct our children to do the same. We get the privilege to build with the Lord the foundation of little lives around us and shape their lives as unto the LORD. Will we build with the LORD or will we anxiously toil in vain?
From the outside our lives might look very much the same. We will still tell our children not to run with scissors or not to pee in the air-conditioning vent. We will still fold laundry over and over and load the dishwasher with the very same dishes we just unloaded. However, what we are building will not be the physical house but the kingdom of God. We will not focus on the temporary but instead realize that how we treat people is lasting. We will do it as a lesson of love. We will show our children the love of our Savior instead of monotony. We will speak of His help, we will strive with His energy and to His ends (Colossians 1:29).
We will stop to rub foreheads and kiss noses. We answer questions and ask questions. We take the time to look at our children and know how we answer them might affect eternity. We will set our minds above. We will not labor in vain because we will labor with our LORD. What we are building is in the hearts of men and women. We will remember in God’s kingdom productivity is not measured by the cleanliness of our house. We will instead refocus to bring God glory and impact those around us.
Father, I pray that You bring me to this realization day after day. Teach us to build with You. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.