I wrote this post in my very early blogging days, when I was just starting to recognize others after my long period of mission-only focused soldiering. Now, as I finish just my second full week of staying home, sheltering in place to flatten the coronavirus curve, I’m doing it again — noticing what others are doing. Some of you are wishing you could help, others are drowning in the flood of responsibilities and activity you find yourselves surrounded with, and some of you are just plain lonely. Whether you are a medical professional, a displaced worker, or a parent of young children, whatever you are doing right now has value — so hang in there and reach out for some support. We’re in this together.
Many of the conversations I have had with women lately have been about how we spend our time. It is probably no surprise that most of the women I have time to have lunch with or walk with are not working at the moment either, but let me tell you what some of these women do when they are ‘not working’.
One is homeschooling two children, aged 10 and 11, coordinating and leading worship at her church, and working as administrative support to its two pastors, one of which is her husband.
Another is teaching Pilates, leading Bible study, coordinating a MOPS group, working part-time at her daughter’s new business, maintaining two residences, and supporting her husband who is a physician.
Then there is the gal who is on a board that is trying to open a preschool for hearing impaired children, planning for a state-wide women’s conference, traveling with her husband, and maintaining several other projects.
And another woman who is helping her daughter and son-in-law relocate with their infant child, coordinating a state-wide event, cheering on three other adult children, and partnering with her executive pastor husband as he travels all over the country.
And guys, they all had time for me.
Each of these women shared a heart to do the work of God and to do it well.
Each of them have set their own needs aside for significant periods of time to care for others: one had a parent with cancer, another had a father-in-law with a degenerative disease who lived in her house for seven years (!), another had a child and husband with cancer — at the same time (!), and another had two children with hearing impairments. Yet none of them complained about the burden that they had carried, but rather, I am not kidding, rejoiced at the blessings that God had provided in their circumstances. They smiled as they shared their stories.
Pretty humbling, right?
Yet, just as humbling is the mother I was to meet with today. She has been raising three daughters for the last umpteen years, just started a part-time job, and is home today with the youngest who is sick. She is setting aside our time to walk and talk together, so that she can attend to her first calling — loving that little girl.
It’s not glamorous most of the time, is it? We clean up messes, kiss away hurts, wipe tears and noses. We shop for the exact see-through divided folder that every student has to have. We scurry to soccer practice in the rain and then wash the muddy uniform after. We hold a ponytail while a little girl throws up in the toilet. We bake a batch of cupcakes at 11 pm then clean up the kitchen afterward.
This is God’s work.
God’s work is also getting up early to go to work before your children are even out of bed. It’s caring for the children of others — in the classroom or the NICU. It’s tending to the sick, the elderly, the dying, and the lonely. It’s punching a clock, mopping a floor, preparing a meal, and balancing a column.
Whatever you have to do right now — stay at home, travel far away, go to school, or look for work — is God’s work. It’s His work in you, through you, and for you.
As we show up and do our best (or even our semi-best), He sees us and He supports us. He offers us His love and patience when ours is all but gone. When we blow it — lose our temper or say the wrong thing — He offers grace. He shows us the power of forgiveness, and we get to see first hand how God changes hearts. Maybe even our own.
Today my day is not likely to be glamorous. It’s another day of making a meal, folding a load, making some calls, and finishing some tasks. It’ll be nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, I’ll be doing God’s work, so I’ll give it my best shot.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God not for a human master.Colossians 3:23