My days are currently filled with lots of sitting. Sitting to nurse the baby, sitting to hold the baby, sitting to read to my toddler, sitting to do schoolwork with the older kids. In fact, I’m finding it hard to be up enough just to get the dishes done or food on the table. Forget cleaning the house!
I had forgotten what it’s like to have a toddler and a newborn. I’ve done this several other times (even a newborn with three toddlers!), but it was several years ago. And now, with so many older kids who don’t nap it’s much harder to keep the house tidy and keep up with all that needs to get done.
I’m not complaining. Motherhood is the career I’ve always wanted. I’m thrilled that I have the privilege of teaching my children at home … knowing them so well and seeing firsthand the growth in character, body, mind, and spirit. But I will admit that it’s been frustrating for me to have life slow down to a near stop as we adjust once more to having a newborn in the house.
The other night Josh and I were discussing something completely unrelated to parenting when he rattled off a verse that caused me to stop him midsentence. I was so struck by what he had just said that I ditched our conversation and had him point me to the specific Bible verse he had quoted.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)
This is a verse that needs to be plastered throughout my house. If I could see my own forehead throughout the day, I’d write it there. This verse should be touted as a banner verse for mothering … for parents everywhere who are frustrated by the slow progress and repetitive nature of raising children.
Today, as I go through my day of nursing the baby again, washing the dishes once more, folding another set of clean clothes, picking up the toys that were just cleaned up an hour ago, re-explaining a math concept for the four hundred and sixty-seventh time, desperately trying to come up with a new and fresh way to drive home the importance of respect … in short, parenting yet another day moment by moment … this verse rings through my head. And I am reminded that these small beginnings are just that – the beginning. I am teaching skills that will be necessary throughout my child’s life. Skills that they will someday teach to their own children. Skills that will aid them in the workplace, the home, the community, the church. My job may feel redundant and mundane, but it is essential. And the Lord rejoices to see me begin these small things with my children.
Am I taking the verse out of context here? Yes. And I know that. But the overall pattern of Scripture shows a God who uses ordinary people in insignificant places doing small things to transform the world. This verse so pierced my heart and convicted me of my own selfish attitude in regards to motherhood. If I’m honest with myself, I can see that I often despise the small things throughout my day. I sigh when I see the dishes in the sink, I inwardly groan when faced with another mountain of laundry, I complain in the middle of the night when another child wakens needing Mommy. But this is what I am called to and if I can see the joy in beginning these small things with my children, the work will not be as heavy. As the Lord rejoices in giving these good gifts of children to me, I can rejoice in the not-so-small work of laying a firm foundation for their lives.