The Heart Behind The Hands: Moms Matter
The family has been the building block of civilization throughout all of human history and that remains true to this day. In western cultures, inspired by the Judeo-Christian model, families tend to be centered around the mother, her work, and her heart. This is good. Read and be encouraged, moms!
One of my favorite books tells the true story of Corrie Ten Boom who, together with her sister and elderly father, saved approximately 800 Jewish citizens during the Nazi reign of terror in the Netherlands. They were betrayed and sent to Ravensbruck, a notorious concentration camp in Germany. Corrie alone survived. The book is called "The Hiding Place" and was written in the 1970s when I was a very sensitive, tender-hearted young girl.
Through a series of events that don't merit explaining here, I also got to meet and spend time with this amazing woman of God when I was a child. Her legacy influenced my life deeply. and hers will be the second face I seek once I reach Heaven.
There is a powerful passage that details a time when Corrie was a young woman working in her family's watch shop and helping to care for the home. In it she recalled that every act of service, however humble, was an offering to God. Sweeping, bookkeeping, caring for an elderly aunt, and other daily tasks were given as a gift to the God who created and sustained her. Those words and thoughts impacted me radically.
When I became a young mother doing all that I could to create a Harbor Home for my children, I realized that the only way to have a home that glorified God was for me to understand, as Corrie did, that the most humdrum tasks of life were love offerings to the Lord; I wanted to respond to God's love with the gifts that I could give. And so I adopted into my heart the joy of the Lord that manifested itself as care for my tiny humans and the custody of their home.
My offerings were not noticed or appreciated by the grown people around me and certainly the children who received my devotion had no way to understand that my love and care for them was a feeble reflection of God's love for them. But I had made a fundamental shift in my thinking. It didn't matter what anyone said or didn't say. My life and all that it entailed was a covenant between God and me. I worshiped Him through the act of mothering.
Diapers were not just a necessary article that had to be dealt with. Meals were not just food to keep us going. Sheets and towels were not just another batch of items to clean. All of these chores were acts of devotion. These menial chores are nearly always despised by those in the world, but are valued beyond measure to the God who is watching you pour your heart into them. It is not about the chores, but the heart of the one doing them. God is watching you and cherishing you as you minister to Him through the daily care of children.
Mothering, using the word as a verb here, is not as despised in our society now as it was in the 1970s and 1980s, but it still has not regained the respect and reverence that it had in other eras. So it is up to each of us to seek the words and wisdom of God. It is up to us to remind each other of the immeasurable influence and importance of home making and child raising. The tasks are humble, the chores are routine. The far reaching effects last for eternity. God loves mothers and holds them in high esteem. So do I.
I am reminded of another group of workers whose vocation was considered humble and routine. Shepherds in ancient times did menial work that was largely unnoticed. The work was underappreciated and overlooked. Israel's greatest king was a shepherd as a young person, and he was so undervalued that his own father didn't even bother to call him when the prophet Samuel asked to meet all of his sons. And yet the legacy of David is still seen today in all of Israel.
Shepherds were the first to be connected to the new born Christ through the appearance of the entire angel population of Heaven. Jesus Himself is remembered as a shepherd and today, many pastors understand their vocation to be that of a shepherd. Shepherds are clearly precious in the sight of God; not the lowly, unskilled laborers they were considered to be millennia ago by humans who did not have eyes to see.
I have three short tips this week:
Do not underestimate the value of roles that are not esteemed by your culture. God's thoughts are not your thoughts.
Be very careful who you overlook and undervalue. You may be passing over one whom God has set apart for a special mission.
Do not undervalue yourself. The vocation of mothering is vital.
As I close this week, I want to send an enormous word of respect to the fathers in our society that do the work of mothering. These men are heroes in the highest degree. I know many of you and admire you more than I can say. Carrying the burden of two parents is a mighty task, but you are able. Thank you for what you do.
In addition, I want to remind mothers that the work of your hands is valuable and worthy. But the secret sauce behind humble chores is the heart that steers the hands. Remember that each task, as Corrie once taught me, is an offering that flies up to the heart of God. You are a mother, a step mother, a grandmother, a foster mother, or someone in a position to love a child that needs love.
Choose to determine in your heart and mind that every task you do will be an offering to God. God cherishes mothers! Your hearts and your hands are worthy of praise.