Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Extraordinary Work via Ordinary Lives


I’ve been with a lot of moms lately: moms in Florida (Sarasota), moms in North Carolina (my daughter-in-law Kelly and friends in New Bern), moms in Illinois (Libertyville and Wheaton—my old home town, so a special treat), and moms in Wisconsin (Lake Geneva). You know how I love this—being with moms at all ages and stages of parenting.

As I meet moms all over the country, I am always amazed. Amazed by their stories. Amazed by their courage. Amazed by their commitment to their calling—their very high calling to love their husbands and children.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been especially impressed by the extraordinary things God does in “ordinary” lives. Despite their absolutely crucial role, the everyday lives of moms can feel so mundane. So “mind-numbingly boring,” as one Illinois mom put it. It’s a very honest, very real assessment of some of our mom-days . . . many of our mom-days, actually.

“Towel and sandal days,” I sometimes call them, borrowing (again—two blogs in a row) from Oswald Chambers. In the devotional for September 11 in My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers observes that when we work for God we do not choose the circumstances He engineers for us but rather must choose the attitude with which we serve whatever our surroundings.

And of course He points us to Jesus:
“The things Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God’s power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate within me to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.”

As I sat with a group of moms a couple of days ago during a Q and A session, I thought of these words. These moms were grappling with their mama-guilt feelings (“I feel like I just don’t play enough with my daughter”; “Daddies like to play with kids more than mommies do, don’t they, Mommy?”) as well as their frustrations (“I feel as if I never get anything done at all. My son wants to play with me non-stop all day.”) There are a lot of “towel and sandal days” in moms’ lives.


And then our conversation began to drift back to all of our own moms. Several women made an interesting observation: “You know, I don’t really remember my mom playing a lot with me. She had a lot of kids and was really busy just keeping us all safe and fed and clothed. But what I do remember is that she was always there for us. Always there when I needed her.”

That’s saying a lot, isn’t it? There’s a great deal more going on than we realize even in the most ordinary days of our lives if we choose to “use a towel as He did.” Just thought I’d remind you of that in case you may be experiencing a lot of towel and sandal days this mid-March.

Just in case . . .