The other day I caught one that caused an almost visceral reaction. I wasn't expecting that from the title—something about raising kids. I don't even remember who wrote it or who posted it, but I do remember the phrase that sent my heart racing and the blood pounding in my ears: "the drudgery of raising children." Surely the writer didn't mean that, I thought. Then I remembered half a dozen posts by several young mothers who bemoaned their lot in life—"Stuck in the house with these kids, is this all there is?"
Let me quickly add some reality to the mix. I know what it is like to be a mom. I have had to find ways to do housework, laundry, and cooking around the sleeping (or not) schedule of an infant. I realize what it is like to have more than one in diapers at the same time. I know what it is like to hang those diapers up in the steam bath of a Florida summer, sweat running out of your hair and dripping off your nose, hoping those flapping white squares will dry out before you use the last clean one. I comprehend having to practically pack for a trip whenever you go anywhere for even thirty minutes, lugging diaper bags, extra clothes, books and toys, and baby himself, while hanging onto a purse and the hand of yet another all-but-baby. I know the terror of holding a seizing child while your husband races down the highway at 90, wondering if that little one will ever open those big blue eyes again. I appreciate what it's like to wonder if you and your husband will ever again have an evening out or a night alone—for us it was eight years before that happened after the first one was born. I know what it is like to sit next to a small hospital bed, trying to sleep in a straight chair, jumping up every time your child whimpers, doing your best not to let him see you cry. I understand the months and months without a good night's sleep and the utter exhaustion that causes you to simply pass out on the arm of the sofa in the middle of folding clothes while your toddler runs toy trucks and cars up and down your arms. Being a mother is hard. I get it.
But all it takes is a look into those sparkling eyes, a hug that nearly strangles you, and a precious little voice calling out, "Mommy!" to make it all worthwhile. When you see in your child the image of the God who made him, you know that the work you do is anything but drudgery. It is, as is said so often it has become hokey, the most important work in the world. You have been given a soul to save. You have been entrusted with a mission that will determine the eternal destiny of a human being. Do you see that word? God trusts you to get the job done.
When we allow it to become drudgery we have spent too much time making ourselves the center of the universe. It is not about "Me." It never should have been for a disciple of a Lord who gave up everything for others and expects his followers to do the same. His work was always his focus. If he had been as selfish as I am sometimes, he would have never left Heaven, never "emptied himself" of Deity, in the first place. I am forever grateful that he did.
And so I am forever trying to do what I can, not to repay him, for when we have done all we can "we are still unprofitable servants," but to pass along that gift to others, especially the ones he created inside this body of mine and gave me the privilege of molding into a person "fit for the Master's use."
He never told me life would be easy, but he did tell me that Heaven would be. I want to be there with my children—forever. I am sure you do too, and don't you ever forget it.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Prov 31:25-29)