Doing “Nothing”

The other day as I was reading Ephesians I got hung up on the words “walk in love ….. a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.”

Dec 16 (1 of 83)

Is this a way that we can give to Jesus the same way Mary did when she poured out her perfume over Jesus’ feet?  Her gift was lavish, without shame, humble. Is our living sacrifice similar?

It’s easy to think we aren’t sacrificing anything, really.  Right now in Sunday School we’re listening to documentaries of missionaries and christians in communist countries.  Amazing, amazing stories of sacrifice and God’s grace.  We read stories of people who were burned at the stake or drowned because they chose to follow Jesus and we feel as though what we are doing is nothing.

And then we wonder why doing “nothing” is so hard.

To die for Christ is a sacrifice that makes you a hero of the faith.

To live for Christ is an ongoing, minute by minute sacrifice that makes you a christian.

Dec 16 (74 of 83)

Doing “nothing” is so hard for me.

About two weeks ago I had one of those feels like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad kind of days.  Things had been building up for a few days and by Friday I was just barely holding on.

Bella has had stranger anxiety for three months, but a few weeks ago she developed a serious case of separation anxiety and I couldn’t even get out of her sight.  If I did manage to get out of the room unnoticed and she heard my voice, she erupted into loud wails because she realized I’m not within touching distance.

It was one of those days.  The kind where babies poop through their clothes and people spill all the things.  When I finally got Zara dressed around 10:30 I spent a little extra time with her hair and chose a cute little dress because bad days call for investing happiness.  She wanted to try going potty insisting she could do it by herself.  Trying to be patient (is it actually patience if you have to try?) 😉 I let her and the back of her skirt promptly dropped into the toilet.

mom life (6 of 1)

I love, love, love the way I get to watch my children grow, learn, and play all day long.  One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling is that you get to be with your children all the time.

One of the hardest things about homeschooling is that you are with your children all.the.time.  Yes, I just said the same thing two ways.  It feels as though my kids need me all the time.  At least one of them.  Sometimes three of them at once.  That particular day I was done.  Just completely done.  I picked up Bella, went upstairs and sat in my unmade bed and screamed at God (in a whisper of course so the kids couldn’t hear me). Help me! Please, you have to help me! I just want to run away.  I can’t do this stalling my tires in the mud thing anymore.”

I was barely two sentences in before Liam appeared in the doorway with a Math question.  How?  Just how.

I sent David a text and told him if I wasn’t home that evening I’d run away.  He wrote back and said, “That’s fine.  Just let me know where you’re going so I can join you.” :)

mom life (3 of 1)

In the end, God didn’t endow my day with supernatural power.  Instead He quieted my heart with truth.  I started realizing how much I still fall into the trap of finding my identity in what I do. When my days turn into something akin to quagmire, I feel like I’m not enough.  Not enough wife.  Not enough mom.  Not enough person.

But it isn’t so much what we accomplish as moms that glorifies God.  It’s the fact that we are there.  Face it.  Most of what we do gets undone 2.5 seconds later.  I comb Zara’s hair. She rolls around on the floor and you’d never know I touched it.  You do dishes and someone is hungry.  You can’t tell if I swept the floor last night or five days ago because it perpetually has food and dirt on it.

We give up sleep, showers, bodies that work the way they did pre-baby, personal space, and the ability to eat a plate of food without interruption.  It doesn’t get much more invasive than that.

mom life (5 of 1)

Motherhood is hard, not because it requires so much skill, but because it requires laying down so much of your own personhood.  The very thing that makes it hard is the same thing that makes it a glorious, living, sweet smelling sacrifice to God.  It honors Him when we get up again, sweep the floor again, cook the seven millionth egg (seeeeeeeeeeriously, how can kids eat so much food?!), explain that algebra equation again, and scarf down food in 37 seconds so we can hold a crying baby.  It isn’t about the clean floor but about our attempt to create a haven for people.  It’s not about the food, but about the act of feeding hungry bellies consistently.  It’s not about potty training (or continuing to miss the mark), but about encouraging and coming alongside and believing in.  It’s not about getting school done early for the day (or goodness knows on days like that particular Friday even getting it done before dinner), but about learning.  And sometimes the learning has as much to do with character and life lessons for moms and kids that stall the academic exercises.  It’s not about the accomplished task, but the doing it that matters to God.

Love and cheers to all you mamas who are getting ready to head into another week that, in all likelihood, includes sticky floors, stained laundry hiding in the dryer, late dinners, and kids with love tanks that need perpetual filling. At the end of each day, and maybe a hundred or so times throughout it, I hope God sends you little reminders that you are enough.

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15 thoughts on “Doing “Nothing”

  1. Cynthia

    You make me laugh with your story telling…
    But girl, it’s the laugh of understanding and empathy!!! The deceiver may think he’s clever with the old you are not enough dart, it’s easy to believe in any season. Motherhood has been quite the “homeschool” for my heart. Thanks for the huge gulp of truth; He loves us, we are enough

  2. Ellen

    Thank you, I get so overwhelmed with homeschooling and helping hubby with donuts now 4 days a week that I feel like I’ve lost my identity as well. Thank you for the reminder and that I’m not the only one.

  3. Joanna Schlabach

    Thanks I needed this..I esp like the “running away” part and your husband’s response!!! Now off to one more day of mothering…we can do this with Jesus’ help!

  4. Norma Friesen

    Thanks for the reminder… Even though my children are older, I sometimes feel like I am not enough, I still can’t quite achieve this Mom thing! Blessings to you today and each day as you continue on in this journey. The little ones grow up so fast! Mine are all teenagers and above, but sometimes I’ve wished I could turn time back and hold them on my lap. I understand the fact of being with children all/most of the time. I’ve homeschooled for almost eleven and a half years. There were times I felt like throwing the whole thing out of the window… But God! Sometimes I went to my bedroom to cry and pray! God bless you!

  5. Mary Ann

    Michelle you are so. Right. On. You are not alone and I want to tell you, it gets better, it really does! Oh yes I wanted to run away too but I knew I would come back quickly because I loved my mom job. David’s response to your text was sweet.
    You amaze me with your relationship with your children!
    Love you and miss you!

  6. Beth

    There are so many things I could say, but one thing that often used to come to my head was, “I can hardly take care of the children because I’m so busy taking care of the children!”? looking back to some of those 4 and 5 preschoolers days, I wish I could go back and help myself. Pretty sure both of us could’ve stayed busy.☺ I’m still trying to learn to think I did the best I could and God filled in the missing places. And that children are sweeter when needs (not even saying wants) are not met right away all the time.

  7. Char

    I’m not homeschooling, but it’s no different. There are days any mom in touch with life and living gets to the point of wondering how they can survive, and believing it would all be better by escaping the din.

    I just said last night that I’m beginning to wonder if I can even meet the needs of any child because there’s so many different needs. But I really do love this life and I’m thankful not every day is frustrating.

    In Christ alone!

  8. Susan Yoder

    This is such an Amazing Read!!!Thanks for sharing these powerful words!!!From one Homeschooling Mama to the next!!!?Thanks for making me feel “normal!!!?

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