how difficult it is a times to do small things with great faith! at this stage of life, teeming with young children and laundry, i have learned to be less active outside my home, and the daily tasks seem to taunt me from their unfinished state and remind me “YOU MUST KEEP WORKING”. yet in this work work work, i desire to be present to the One in which i have great faith.
i try to imagine that these are spiritual activities, in the same way that writing or teaching or working in the church or feeding the poor might be spiritual activities. it is like the verses in James that remind us that faith and work must have their cooperative relationship. faith, without works is worthless- yet, showing someone our works without great faith will be an exercise in busyness for busyness sake.
in this moment, at this quiet moment folding laundry on the floor, i see God see me. i see that in this tedious task there is a service to my family, a service to keep order and keep chaos at bay. God is a God of order, so God sees this as very good.
“The ordinary arts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
on a quiet afternoon, i lay my youngest child down for a nap. It doesn’t work. So I pull this teary young babe out of his crib, lay him down in the bed next to me, and cover his wet cheeks with mamma kisses.
He falls asleep in this posture with my lips resting softly on his cheeks. He is beautiful and soft and still and receptive. Motionless and submissive to the moment.
And God is kissing me.
God reminds me in this quiet place that in the same way I run to comfort my wailing child, God runs to comfort me. God wraps me in the grace of a parent who is more concerned with my peace than what I can accomplish. God holds me in this moment and I am still and receptive.
My seven-year-old son is a rambunctious type who loves to make people laugh. So I was surprised when my husband told me he was taking my son to cook a sumptuous breakfast for 70 hungry men coming to our church. These men come broken and tired, often showing signs of a hard life that doesn’t make them the most approachable bunch. I predicted my son would only be in the way of hot pans and knives or get lost in the crowd. Still, bleary eyed and excited, with messy morning hair and whispering voices, the two of them ignored my comments and tiptoed out the door.
An hour later, I received a picture of my son, stirring a large batch of potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Then my husband sent me message telling me that my son had decided, on his own, to start setting up the chairs and tables in the church foyer. Weighing in at about 50 pounds, I could only imagine how this little guy was wrangling chairs! Once the men were seated, my son decided to serve them steaming plates of breakfast, without being asked. He continued to check in with his dad to see if there were kitchen duties, and when there weren’t any, he would make himself useful wherever he could.
That morning, my son walked into the reality that God uses unlikely people in every situation. My son was wholeheartedly willing to be used to demonstrate hospitality. To hear my son describe different things he did and how he interacted with people was a gracious reminder to me that serving can come before equipping. Now he looks forward to these monthly gatherings as a place where he “works”. If he is even a few minutes late, he will exclaim “Dad! I ‘m late! I need to get in there and do my job!” I pray that God would continue to use my son whatever way He chooses, and that my doubts would be replaced by the confidence that God uses unlikely people (even children) to accomplish His purposes!