My dream growing up was very simple--to have a family and stay home with my children. God had a different timetable than I did, and I found myself in the workforce for many years waiting to have a family. Two weeks before my daughter arrived, I stopped working and began to prepare for her. My dream was finally falling into place perfectly…until it didn’t. My plan did not include a birth complication that sent my firstborn to the NICU and then home on two months of oxygen, or the incredibly stressful first few weeks followed by loneliness, or the questioning of my professional value as the years grew the gap in my resume. I no longer won awards or received raises; instead, I earned a lot of tantrums, blowouts and spit-ups. I found myself sometimes envious of the mothers that still went to work in cute outfits living with a double income when I was carefully budgeting under one. Don’t get me wrong-- I love being home with my kids; but when we wait for something for a long period of time, we develop lofty expectations and are disappointed when results don’t measure up.
The Jewish people were living in poverty under harsh Roman rule. According to their interpretation of the prophesies about Christ, they were expecting a king who would come in and kick out the Romans with power and majesty. But, their king was not what they expected. He came as a tiny, weak baby born to parents who had no social status in the poverty of a manger. This was not a birth story of nobility and pageantry. The cast of characters were not the wealthy and influential. They were the poorest shepherds and their livestock. The setting was not a palace, but a filthy, cold stable filled with feces. And yet it was the perfect setting for Him to display His Glory.
As mothers we are knee deep in all of the messes and all of the thankless hours and sleepless nights. Have you ever had the thought… this is not what I was expecting? Which of us has not been disappointed by circumstances or perhaps even the nature of our children and thought…”this is not what I had in mind, Lord.”? Which of us has not questioned the significance of our work around our house cleaning up the same messes day after day?
I know personally I am on my knees much of the time letting God know…this is the hardest job I have ever done; it seems impossible, so I need You to fill me with Your strength and wisdom just to make it through bed time where I am bouncing kids in and out of bed amidst the endless requests for water or hugs. Or, dealing with the willful child that seems to out-argue me every time? Or, the fact that every day can feel like Groundhog Day as I clean the house and my littles follow and unclean behind me.
But the little ones under our care are important parts of His kingdom, and the mundane, messy, repetitive tasks we accomplish every day are a gateway through which we can teach them and point them to Christ. What an amazing and weighty gift-- to be responsible for reflecting God’s glory to the next generation! And we see in the story of Christmas that the “less than we expected” is exactly what he uses.
God specializes in writing scripts that often surprise us. The setting of Jesus’ birth story in the mire and the muck must have come out of nowhere to the Jews and yet how amazing that God used the lowest and the poorest, the filthy and the gross as the setting for the greatest story ever told, the birth of His Son in human form-- a testament to the fact that the things that God values are profoundly different from those of the world. Be encouraged today as you do the seemingly mundane tasks, that you never know the script God is writing for you; trust the Author of the greatest story ever told that you are an important and integral part of His amazing redemptive story.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/ APPLICATION:
- In what way has motherhood been less than or different than you expected?
- How does the setting that God chose for the birthplace of the savior of the world bring significance and value to your daily chores that might seem insignificant?
- Invite Him into these seemingly mundane tasks today and ask Him to see them through His perspective.
- Spend some time praying and surrender your unmet expectations. Praise Him that He often works in ways that do not make sense to us in order to better display His Glory.
Leli is a momma to three littles living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She is learning from her children every day and together with her husband embracing the beautiful chaos that makes up their lives. She blogs regularly at Big Beautiful Chaos to share her passions....cooking from scratch, writing, graphic design and adventures or misadventures into the dangerous world of DIY, but more importantly to provide a window into her imperfect family to offer hope and generate some laughs and encouragement to fellow travelers on the journey of parenting small children.