I could tell it was going to be a terrible home schooling day from the moment we sat down with pencils out and books open. It wasn't lack of cooperation from the kids, though there is occurrence of such on a regular basis. It wasn't the difficulty of teaching math to a concrete learner, though that is a frequent challenge as well. No, it was off to a bad start because of my attitude.
I love teaching my children, but sometimes I have a bad attitude about it. The work seems tedious and the rewards of diligent daily effort rarely experienced. That's how it feels on those days.
I can so easily think of motherhood as that beautiful calling to nurture, complete with moments of affection, deliberate words of affirmation, and abundance of quality time. I set my expectations upon an idea of motherhood that appears in misty paintings and memoirs. But the day to day of my own life is simply not so fragrant; not so sprinkled with giggles and snuggling.
Don't get me wrong-- there's plenty of frivolity and fun; but, there's no getting around daily life--the routine of housework, training, breaking up fights, picking up messes, and teaching your children--formally or informally. Not all of it happens in the context of field trips, fun activities, and creative projects. Sometimes motherhood and loving motherhood is just hard work.
And work, often feels like a bad word...an enemy to my comfort and love of ease. If we love it, it should come naturally, right?
Motherhood is one of the most important jobs we will ever hold and our boss' review of our efforts more important than our view of ourselves. Considering the great honor and great responsibilities of our jobs as moms and homemakers, why do we struggle to work just as diligently at home? Perhaps, it is because we forget that we are not motivated by the the incentives that drive the world:
We won't receive a weekly paycheck. We may never see ourselves on an "Employee of the Month" board with stickers all over it. We don't get promoted to a bigger office for excelling. We don't get a bonus for being a team player. Do you ever stop and remember what it was like to be an employee, and how hard you worked to "do a good job?"
The Bible reminds us that nothing we do, not even in motherhood, makes us more righteous, more worthy, or more forgiveable. Christ alone is responsible for our acceptance before a holy God. But, how I need to consider my faithfulness in the task as a response to His worthiness. Done unto Him. Serving for His glory. We work hard because it is He who we desire to please.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."-Colossians 3:23-24
While there is an aspect of our inheritance that we cannot fully realize until we are in His presence, the essence of our inheritance IS the Lord Jesus. He is ours today. His redemption of our souls is NOW.
Elyse Fitzpatrick puts it this way:
Releating eternal life to a future day, we must realize that we possess his life now, especially on those days when we struggle against unbelief and sin and are tempted to think that he is so disappointed in us that he has to forsake us. The gospel tells us that being forsaken is part of the punishment for sin that our Savior bore in our place. If you are in Christ, no matter what your day has been like, no matter how many ways you blew it, his life is yours.
This is why we can have joy, confidence, and perseverance in diligently working today. We come to understand our inheritance day by day in greater fullness as we strive to serve Him in love.
Whatever it is that is in your job description today and everyday as a mom, work unto the Lord. We will never know greater reward or satisfaction in a day's, or a life's work.