motherhood

Better Than Dreaming

As a teenager I remember reading biographies of missionaries and dreaming of someday living in a jungle with the natives and heroically preaching the gospel and translating scripture in my grass hut. Many were the times that I prayed, “Here I am Lord, send me!” My heart though mixed with selfish ambition and pride was to be used in God’s kingdom.

In time my missionary dreams faded in light of my new passion for the local church. Fantasies of jungle evangelism gave way to me actually leading a high school girls’ Bible study and playing keyboard every Sunday morning. New dreams of being a pastor’s wife (a dream that came true!) and maybe even church planting emerged. “Here am I. Send me,” still echoed in my heart.

Then, a new season dawned in my life…motherhood.  God made my entrance into motherhood such that I had to rather abruptly be removed from involvement in both youth group and and worship team to care for twins. And just to ensure that I wouldn’t go back to other ministries too soon – five months after the twins were born, I was pregnant again. Those dreams of heroic missionary work, leading Bible studies, and being right with my husband at various meetings and ministry events were interrupted by 2 am feedings, 16 diaper changes a day, and raging hormones.

Even though I absolutely enjoyed my babies, in the first three years or so, I often found myself overwhelmed and frazzled. I couldn’t seem to stay motivated to keep doing the same things over and over. I was tired of being confronted with my inadequacy to do this mom thing. But God in His mercy broke through. It wasn’t a sudden revelation, but more of a dawning on me. I was always looking for the grand, heroic gesture to glorify God. Looking back, my desire was really for my own glory (a testimony in and of itself). With much patience God revealed to me that true godliness that glorifies Him is evident in the mundane moments of life. Yes, I was willing to go to the jungles of Africa, but was I willing to go to the playroom and pick up the toys for the fifth time that day. Yes, I was willing to preach to the natives, but was I willing to view disciplining my children as opportunities to further the Gospel in their lives. Instead of translating scripture, was I willing to translate the Bible to a preschooler, like when I had to explain that the verse says, “only begotten Son” not “only forgotten Son”. 

God has graciously revealed to me that He has ordained this season with all of its daily-ness. It is tailor made for His glory and my good. Indeed, it is nothing short of a miracle when God enables this selfish mother to keep up with laundry, build a Thomas track, and help the kids resolve conflict.

Something amazing has happened in this life of mine. I am finding that when I submit to this plan God designed for me to bring Him glory (which is still a daily battle), I find joy even in the most mundane task. How amazing that God would accept sweeping the floor as a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12). How amazing that when in my self-pity I think, “nobody sees or appreciates all that I am doing,” God whispers to me, “I see you.” How amazing that I can so tangibly feel the pleasure of God in me when I am simply building a lego house, teaching Math, or reading a story to my children.

If I could go back in time and whisper a word to that dreaming teenager that was me I would not say, “your dreams are too big!” I would say, “what is ahead is far beyond your wildest dreams!” My testimony is that God has patiently helped me to understand that in His kindness He has made bringing glory to Him in the daily events of life, a source of great joy…even better than dreaming.

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14 thoughts on “Better Than Dreaming

  1. When I was a teenager I wanted to move to New York and be on….Sesame Street. Than I thought about leaving my family and I changed it to working on sesame street but commuting by train every day. Than I met Jim when I was twenty and everything changed. God definitely had a different path for my life and I am extremely grateful (21 years later) that God chose my path and not me.

  2. Great, encouraging post, we can apply to our lives, mother or not. It’s always hard to do the mundane tasks and see them as God-glorifying.

  3. Funny the timing of this post. We were just talking in cg last night about one of the application questions. We ladies got set on talking about if and how our dreams glorify God, and what our dreams are. I said I don’t dream big enough; God has such greater plans than I do, but I do dream about making a quilt for every cold child across the sea, and holding every suffering baby in Africa. But like you, I ask, “Fine, but do I want to drive carpool one more time, mop this floor, or fold this underwear?” I really have to train my mind to not seek thanks and gratitude for the duties. I treat my duties like favors that I do for everyone!

  4. This post is perfect timing for me. Thanks for sharing! I am really struggling with the everyday things that I am called to do. I do not mind the sit and talk to my children,or husband etc. It is the cleaning, laundry cooking etc.that I am so not good at doing. I like Zo look at my duties as favors. When they are not noticed or complimented I am not happy. I pray that God will train my mind to think of them for His glory!

  5. Interestingly, I did not have one of those, “just rejoicing in the opportunities to glorify God through the mundane” kind of days. We did fine until Science. It (I) got pretty ugly.
    I never know quite how to walk that line between encouraging other women by testifying to the grace of God at work in my life, and being honest to say…”ya know the thing I wrote about this morning…didn’t do it today!” I do not want to be a hypocrite, but I do not want to never write about how God has worked in my life because it brings Him glory, and hopefully encourages other ordinary mothers like me.

  6. Laurie- I really enjoy reading your writing, whether you write about God’s grace (what amazing grace it has and always will be!) or how to organize, I am captivated by your writing.
    Thank you for your humility both on this blog and in real life. You walk in such a way that is very clear to all who see you that you are by God grace trying to glorify God in all that you do. Thank you!

  7. Sacha, what a precious encouragement. It is very meaningful to me that you would take the time to read, let alone comment on my “mom” blog. Thank you!

  8. Thanks so much for this – I find that what you are saying applies to my kid-free life as well when my time is taxed by working full time, wanting to serve at church, and trying to cook and keep a (somewhat) orderly house! Thanks for the perspective check.

  9. Thanks. thanks. and thanks again!!! I really enjoyed reading your blog. Our testimonies are very much the same. Like you, I had a call from the Lord at a young age to be a missionary. I did go on mission trips, but then more amazingly the Lord led me to my wonderful husband! But as the years passed while I was a stay at home mom of 2 young children, the thought of living and ministering in China never left my mind. The Lord is showing me as well, that I have to surrender to the mundane things of life. They are really joys in my life now that I have learned to do everything for Him and know that this is my ministry right now…praying and modeling Christ to my kids and husband. Well, again thanks so much for that. It was very encouraging to know that there is someone who understands the daily life of being a stay at home mom and also one who dreams of jungles…like I do!

  10. Good stuff, Laurie. I’m glad this popped up because I would have missed it otherwise. Please don’t hold your wisdom back for fear of hypocrisy or self-glorification. Your perspective helps me to think out of the modern mom box and focus on God’s Glory. And you are reaching non-christians across the country because I tell my husband how your blog helps my motivation, and hopefully he is seeing God working here in the house as I (slowly) improve in balancing housework and little ones. Believe me, you are doing a good work both in your home and around the world, reaching us with your blog! Blessings to you.

  11. Kit and Joanie,
    thank you so much for you kind words of encouragement. How kind of God to use this season of our lives – motherhood – to help us understand ourselves better, but even more to understand Him better. Nothing has helped me see the cross and grace as more amazing than this journey of motherhood. I am so grateful to Him.

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