Last spring I spent nine days in New Jersey helping my daughter after the birth of baby Goldie Bijoux. What did I do while I was there? I made meals, washed dishes, folded clothes, swept the floor, dusted, helped Leon and Soli, and tried to give Bethany more minutes of sleep by watching Goldie whenever I could—a week filled with little acts of service. One of the greatest realizations I came away with was that motherhood would be much more doable with two people doing all the work!
My life is filled with lots of seemingly unimportant acts of service, at least from the world’s perspective. After I returned from helping Bep, I de-winterized our front porch and set it up for summer use. That meant replacing burned out light bulbs in the light strand, hosing off the deck, putting out pillows on the furniture, bringing back the big plants from indoors, and rehanging the curtains. In the midst of that, the Lord reminded me that the little things in life are very important. Because of my work the porch was a place of delight over the summer. It provided a beautiful place for quiet times, good conversations, and fun gatherings. So much of what we do as mothers and homemakers has the same effect.
Our days are filled with hidden, mundane tasks. It’s easy to get discouraged and feel like our lives don’t count for much, especially when we lack God’s vision for our calling. One way to evaluate our worth is to imagine life without our labor and acts of service. When I was gone to help with baby Goldie, my absence was very obvious to the family here at home. They would gather in the kitchen at dinnertime, notice the messy counters and sink full of dishes, look at each other, and ask, “What’s for dinner?” They felt my absence and were very grateful when I returned.
In the mist of a world that values public notoriety, I am reminded of certain Scriptures that highlight a whole different set of values. Take, for instance, the story in Matthew 25:31-46 where God gathers the sheep and goats together on Judgment Day. What big accomplishments earmarked the sheep that earned God’s reward? Was it selling a million albums, speaking at huge conferences, or being a famous household name? No! Private acts of service are what separated the sheep from the goats: feeding a hungry person, giving someone who was thirsty a drink, inviting a stranger in, clothing a naked person, and visiting someone who was sick or in prison. These sound very much like the things a mother does as she cares for her family on a daily basis.
We see another example of this among Jesus’ followers in Mark 15:4: In Galilee these women had followed Him and cared for His needs. Translated that means they undoubtedly bought food and fixed Jesus’ meals, washed His clothes, hosted gatherings, and prepared His bedding, among other things. Some versions of this story list these women’s names, but other accounts do not. However, I’m sure Jesus knew them by name and greatly valued them. In fact, His ministry probably would have been greatly hindered without their hidden acts of service.
Dear mother, everything you do in the care of your family and home is valuable, even if the world never sees what you do or calls it important. If you didn’t serve your family in this way, your home would quickly fall into chaos. Your hidden acts of service contribute greatly to your home being a little place of heaven on earth in the midst of a world that desperately needs to experience that reality.
Your work is precious in God’s eyes. Be encouraged!
PS: I’m sharing a picture that just got posted on Facebook of four wonderful moms I know: (L to R): Bethany Bruck (mom of 5), Cassie Halloran (mom of 4), Kathleen Batchelder (mom of 5), and Allison Sonneland (mom of 5 & our oldest.) It was posted by Elizabeth Hug (mom of 6 with one in heaven) who said this: My beautiful friends and their babies. It’s dangerous hanging out with people who believe children are a blessing. It might rub off on you!