Motherhood in the little years, it seems to me, is something easily taken for granted. Something we secretly hope ends quickly, and we cover an eye roll when people tell us we will miss these years, that we will wonder where they went.
We should listen more closely and reverently to those who warn us. We should heed their warning.
Because these days that are so long, and draining, and often thankless, they hold a value, like a secret treasure that’s easily overlooked while we look for something that glitters.
We think we just need to survive these days, that we’re told will go rapidly, and then we can get on to more important things, return to career plans, or serve people again, or have the adventures we whimsically yearn for while we scrub stains out of tiny shirts.
Oh dear Christian mothers, run far from these lies.
Because washing mountains of laundry filled with tiny clothes is much like washing dusty feet.
Holding hands to cross streets, and buttoning shirts, and cooking meals (that little voices bemoan), this is kingdom work.
And the words you utter to that 3-year-old with endless questions, may be the greatest theological statements you ever make.
Your work is here, right now. Not in some future place. And it is hard, and absolutely breathtakingly beautiful if you pay attention.
Because if Jesus is your center, then he is there as you rock a crying babe, he is there as your skin burns hot from the tantrum that flares in public, he is there as you hold angry little fists, he is there as you discipline and correct.
And Jesus is there as little hands grab your face to kiss, when little voices greet you with joy, he is there with beaming smiles and joyful hearts. And if he is in your words, in your actions and your reactions; then you are doing some of the greatest work of your lifetime.
God has made you a mother, God has entrusted these tiny souls to you to care for, to love, to correct, and to teach them all about who he is, and what he has done for them.
What a great responsibility, what a great honor. We take it for granted, we often think snotty noses are beneath us. As though our college education has equipped us to do something more with our lives (or maybe we still think we need that college education in order to do that elusive “more”). But Jesus, the King of the universe knelt to wash disgusting feet. We ought to, with great joy, kneel to wash sweet, dirty faces.
And if we can allow ourselves to be humble and thankful, then the stunning miracles of the world unfold before us as we see it again through the eyes of a child. If we stop wishing for something else, we can take great joy and have incredible satisfaction with the moments we have right now. With these beautiful souls that have so much to offer. Not because of who they will grow to be, but because of who they are right now, today.
If we slow down, and walk with them, instead of dragging them behind us, we can see secret treasure everywhere.
My preschool son has an eye for finding beauty in everything. We went on a walk on this blustery morning and I decided to look at things at his pace, we decided to take photos of every single thing he thought was extraordinary. And it was as though I woke up from a dreamless sleep to a world of color.
We found the miracle of beauty in the mundane, and it was spectacular. We heard wind, and the rush of cars, and the creak of old breaks, we found secret hiding places, we found majestic bugs. If you’re curious enough, the world unfolds endlessly in colors and sounds, and smells, and you find that God has been waiting there all along, as if to say, “I created this vastness, this beauty and mystery, I am greater still. Stop and pay attention, and you will see the great love I have for you, you will see it everywhere.”
Mothers, we have much to teach our little children about our great God, and he has much to teach us through them.