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when you feel like you're wasting your gifts

As I look around my house I can spot at least eight different things that need to be done today that probably won't get done (and that's just one room!) Oh, there's plenty that will get done...I'll write this blog post, the kids will be fed and bathed, dinner will be made and cleaned up, and the dog (if he's lucky) will eat two meals and go out as often as he needs to.

I may even throw in a load of laundry just for good measure and make the neighbors think I'm a super-productive housewife.

It's my story these days.

The Better Mom

Most of the time I love being a work-at-home mom. But I also know that in some ways, it would be much better for my ego to get up and go to work, where I receive praise for performing well, awards for a job well done, payment twice a month, and have people who look forward to what I say.

Caring for my family isn't always is almost never like that. Most days I go to bed wondering if what I did today, my story, my gifts,  will have any lasting value at all.

Can you relate, mom?

When I was in graduate school, I worked my tail off because I wanted to my gifts to make a difference in the world. Now, I work my tail off so the three men in my life will be cared for and know they're loved.


It isn't what I dreamed of when I slaved away getting my education, but in some small and profound way, I'm still accomplishing my goal.

On my best days I believe that. But on others, I have to remember that sometimes the path God puts us on will be dirty, and seem to lead away from our calling in life.

The Jordan River

Newly engaged and ready to take on the world, my then fiance and I discovered that we would have to live in a little town he affectionately referred to as the "armpit of Virginia."

Small, dirty, and literally still segregated, it looked unfit for the ministry of someone who had so much potential and a specific calling from God, and I didn't want to go.

Much like the story of Naaman and Elisha from 2 Kings 5, I thought God was calling me to jump into a muddy, dirty river when a beautiful river was just a few miles away. I felt it was beneath me, and a terrible waste of my potential, education, and gifts.

Maybe you've felt that way about raising your kids, mom?

It's easy for me to look back now and see the value of our time in my Jordan River (and feel sick over my own self-righteous pride). I learned things while there that God continues to use in my life today—things that have only served to grow me in my gifting. But I almost missed it because I didn't want to humble myself and follow God wherever He took me.

The key to being able to say "yes" to God, to following Him wherever He leads even (and especially) when it doesn't make sense, is to believe that in God's economy, nothing is wasted.

Not even one thing that happens to you goes unseen and unused in some way by your loving Father.

  • That job your husband just lost? God sees, and knows exactly how He'll come through for you (and what He'll teach you in the process).
  • That child who's making you crazy? God sees, and loves him more than you do (and knows how He'll use those prodigal years to teach you to trust Him, and give your child a testimony of grace).
  • That hurt that just seems too heavy to bear? God sees, and hurts with you (and will use all the power of heaven to win your heart).
  • That weariness that just won't go away? God sees, and can give you hope (and more joy than you ever dreamed possible).

Because everything He does, every path He takes you down, is designed for your good and His glory. There may be entire seasons of your life that you just don't understand, but you can rest assured that God is teaching you something—training you—even if He has you in a dirty, muddy river.

You're part of a bigger story.

Even if you're wiping dirty faces and breaking up fights instead of doing that thing you dreamed of that would change the world.

Jump in the river, mom.

(Want to learn more about saying "yes" to God?)

Photo Credits: laundry (I'm ashamed to say it's mine). McGlothlin Fam (Merry Studios)


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