I’m in the thick of it. I have a 21 month old, a three-month old, and every other week this fall is spent traveling 5 hours away, only to come home and restart/pack for the next trip. My life right now couldn’t be more un-glamorous. My days are filled with mundane tasks that seem to only pile on one another. I fight a toddler’s strong-will, a baby’s constant hunger, and my own postpartum depression daily. My husband is gone 12 hours out of the day, only to come home and often have to fix the pool, or the mower, or the dog fence, yet again. I currently have 6 loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put up. My floors haven’t tasted the sweet lemon-y pine goodness of PineSol in weeks and weeks. My hair is going on three days, and desperately needs some conditioning. And please, no one look at the state of my back porch, yard, and toes! Motherhood is days of crumbs and back aches, conversations about poop and going potty, shirts that smell rotten, diaper changes and tears, piles of papers and forgotten tasks, photos to edit and dinner to cook, dishes to clean, and carpets to vacuum.
Motherhood isn’t beautiful. But it’s not supposed to be.
The more I learn about motherhood, and this calling God has placed on my life, the more I see it’s ugliness apart from Christ. The tasks associated with mothering are ugly (and often sticky), but it is the process of motherhood that makes this calling into a thing of beauty. Luke 9:23 states, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” As a believer, it is an act of worship everyday to deny myself and pick up my cross. There’s nothing pretty about dying to my own selfish desires, in fact it requires total surrender. But that daily denial and surrender is just apart of the sanctification process.
The same is true with motherhood. Everyday, I deny myself. I deny my desires. I deny my petty thoughts. I deny living like a victim amidst the chaos surrounding me. Each denial is followed by an action. Whether it is putting away my husband’s clothes, or offering my breast to my child for nourishment. Whether it is stopping what I am doing to let my daughter brush tangles into my hair, or singing to her about her Savior. It is all worship.
When I make motherhood an act of worship. When I set my sights upon the cross, then all becomes beautiful. Gloria Furman states in Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, “In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing his work of reigning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are-worship. In the daily (and nightly) work of mothering, we’re given tons of invitations to worship God as he reminds us of the hope we have because of his gospel.”
Choosing to worship in the middle of the mundane does not come natural to my sinful heart. And far too often, I choose victim of mundane instead of victory over the mundane. Life as a victim turns invitations to worship our Savior into worship of self. Worship of self then leads to loss of purpose. But choosing victory over the mundane, and worshipping through the sweeping and the cleaning, invites the Creator to inhabit my home with his awe-inspiring presence.Worship through the mundane opens doors for beauty to sweep in and turn isolation into communion, lonliness into fellowship, and insecurity into intimacy.
He alone brings beauty to motherhood, because He created it. And through His beauty, I experience the joy of watching my Star long to do the tasks that often seem so mundane. Through His beauty, I witness the security my girls feel wrapped in my arms. Through His beauty, moments that could frustrate instead turn to bouts of laughter.
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells me to “do everything for the glory of God.” There is beauty to be found in the process of mothering, it takes a denial of self, a heart of worship, and an action to bring Him glory. I have a living room with clothes strewn about, piles of papers to file away, and two precious souls napping. I am going to get up from this chair and meet Him in the midst of all the mundane and ugly, for there I will find His beauty.