Sacrament of the Mundane

I was told recently that it's sad that I'm using my writing talents for such an ultimately useless topic as theology.
I guess I should consider it a compliment that I am perceived to have "talent"...and that my ramblings could even be considered theologian-ish.   Not bad for a barely educated housewife I suppose.

It did make me think though.
Should I be writing about something other than the trivial topics of life, death, love, family, and eternity?
Those topics do tend to make people uncomfortable.
I suppose I could stick to writing about housekeeping, recipes and gardening.
It would be safer and more comfortable
but you know me too well.   I don't do safe or comfortable.

Today I'm going to smash the two worlds together.  Instead of categorizing this post as either ordinary secular house-wifery or matters of theology I've decided that for me the two are intrinsically linked.

As I trudge through each day with it's endless stream of diapers, laundry hampers, and slimy dishes it's easy to feel like nothing more than a maid with no pay.

  I often feel that there must be something more valuable, more extreme, or more radical than pulling weeds and dispensing time-outs.  
Doesn't God have something grand for me to do? 
If only I had less house work and more kingdom work.  
Less time with kids and more time with God.   
 I am not free to do nearly as much "missions" work or church ministry as I would like.

As a full time mother, home-school teacher, and farmer's wife...I don't have time or money for those "mountain top experiences",  conferences,  fellowship outings,  or serene moments in some exotically divine location to connect with my Creator.

Sometimes all this leaves me feeling like I've been benched.

God reminded me today that the two worlds of the domestic and the divine are not as separate as I often think they are.

Each bit of drudgerous labor can be an act of worship.   God doesn't require great things of us, He desires us.  The great things sometimes happen as a result.  

I can choose to be in the presence of ,and in communion with God, from the moment I wake up with a little finger tapping my forehead saying "mommy wake-up, mommy wake-up, mommy wake-up..."
to the minute I drag my weary self to bed.

It is a very good thing  that "God with us" isn't confined to worship conferences and hours devoted to intensive Bible study.
I meet God while I kneel over the tub to scrub out the dirt ring.
I pray for endurance while I wipe up spilled milk.
I discover  fleeting moments to read God's word, like nuggets of gold, hidden throughout my day.

With each load of laundry I fold and batch of dishes I wash I offer myself up in a most non glamorous, inglorious, undramatic, seemingly insignificant act of service.

I bask in the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is gracious enough to meet me in a messy house filled with rowdy kids, who shows me just how strong he is when I feel so weak.

Even a hectic day can be infused with joy,  peace and purpose.
Each day can be  a sacrament.  An outward sign of an inward grace.  A mysterious significance.
Something sacred.

Each night that I tuck my 4 little ones into their beds I am filled with gratitude  (partly because my ears are so completely saturated with noise and nonsense that I want to rip them from my head, and the thought of an hour without children makes me giddy) but mostly because I am thankful for another day with them.
 I am thankful for the great privilege and responsibility of raising a new generation.  Four people that I pray will shine light further into dark territory than I ever can... in a generation that may face more persecution than we will ever know.  That is terrifyingly humbling and a challenge beyond my ability.  It is a calling I don't know that I'm equipped for.   This is where I learn to trust and lean on the One who calls me.

So, with each story I tell, with each bottom I wipe, and with each moment I stop to listen to the tales of a child....I am not just providing childcare.  I am preparing a battalion.

So you see,
my day may seem like nothing more than a repetitious monotony of runny noses, muddy feet, and crusty dishes....but, shhh, that's just my cover.
 I'm doing kingdom work on the down low.


Marcy said...

Your post is RIGHT on, Carla! YOu say that so eloquently. I feel so similar, I just don't express it the same. You are doing a fine job of doing the mundane with the kingdom in mind. It is why we do it. It is a part of the Great Commision...to bring up children who love the Lord. One by one. You go girl! New perspective for my day tomorrow. It will be filled with a runny nose or two, a house full of cleaning and laundry that wants to choke me...lol. Plus there are things like hugs, smooches, playing games...it's all good.

Kim said...

Beautifully written, Carla. I can fully relate to you. Many of these same thoughts have been bouncing around my head for the last few days as well, so this is really timely for me. Thank you for the encouragement, the reminder that what sometimes seems like domestic drudgery is really a date with the divine if we embrace the place he's put us in.
"I'm doing kingdom work on the down low." Love it! :)

Jenn said...

Great reminder, I needed that! :)

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing, Carla. These are wonderful words of affirmation...I really think you should send this out to some Christian magazines, lots of others could be encouraged by your words!