Opening an old journal I read some words I had written many years before:
“I really wanted to go to the meetings this morning, but here I am in our apartment being a mother. Mothering doesn’t stop. Children’s needs don’t stop. Sick kids can’t be delegated. So once again I’m isolated and he, my husband, is not.”
My words sprawled over the pages, laced with emotion, with loss as a result of my children’s needs.
Even as I reread them—my children all parents themselves now—I could feel the constant on-call responsibility, smell the diaper pail, remember the stress from drinks spilled, kid squabbles, childish messes. Our six, between the ages of six months and ten years old the summer I wrote those words, sent me to the brink of exhaustion … daily.
But there in the journal, I also found a prayer I wrote that same day. My heart was pleading, meet me here God, care for me as I care for my children.
“Father, I pray you will teach me more about my identity and my call as a mom. Teach me too the value of that call because so much of my work is inside these walls—unseen and immeasurable.”
On New Year’s Day this year I read Jesus’ words about our Father who sees in secret. His words, “beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them” (Matthew 6:1) shouted at me that day. I needed that reminder. That centering, grounding me to what matters.
The scrolling urge of social screams: Be seen. Be photogenic. Be appreciated.
Instead, the Spirit my Friend whispers, “Your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
That unsettling, chaotic day decades ago sent me to His throne to ask and beg for Him to confirm purpose for me in my days void of accolades or measurable value or even seemingly simple household accomplishments.
I needed to hear Him say, “You matter! Even though no one else sees what you do.”
I did not hear an audible voice giving me the affirmation I longed for, but the knowledge that I was giving my children the love and security and stability that no one else could give was enough to keep me going.
Texts have been plentiful in the last two months as my youngest is adjusting to first-time motherhood. This morning her newborn spit up all over her shirt and it ran down her chest into her bra. Children will never know or appreciate the sacrifice and love of a mother until they become one. More than once Laura has said, “I don’t know how you did this six times.”
Repeatedly I’ve texted her: “I remember … I understand … You are doing a great job.”
To all of you moms who are losing sleep, staying home with sick kids, giving the best years of your life to your children and wondering if you will ever have time to yourself again hear me say,
Believe God sees and is taking account of your labors of love. Believe my word of encouragement and belief that your investment in your kids, even though you are unseen and have no great following, is more important than likes.
“And your Father who sees in secret will repay you!”
Count on it. It’s a promise from the One who cannot lie.