And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
I didn't blog yesterday. I got up early, started to read, and the painters arrived. Half an hour before the agreed-upon 8:00 start time. From there, it was a day of not-so-controlled chaos. I also apologize for being absent from the combox. I assure you I read each and every comment and I am so, so grateful for you all! Columbus Day is a big tournament weekend for soccer families. I had boys to drop off and boys to gather into my home for sleepovers before Saturday morning sendoffs. Kari's birthday fondue was scheduled for yesterday so that she could share it with Stephen's best friend, Jack. How cute is that? She wanted Jack at her birthday:-). The painting is all happening out of order and at one point yesterday, as my three-year-old stood crying and tinkled on the floor, I recognized that access to every single bathroom was blocked. (There you go folks: I just posted a potty complaint. There's a first for everything.) Anyway, blogging slipped my mind entirely.
Throughout the day, I carried on a sometimes phone/sometimes text conversation with a dear and trusted friend. We were trying hard--amidst the interruption of two households and 16 children--to make sense of what the mission is for moms in the suburbs of America. We never finished the conversation.
So this morning, I was pretty much amazed at the God timing of this quote from The Mission of Motherhood, where Sally shares about the building of their Colorado home:
The interior of the home--architecture, paint, and fixtures--would not only suit our tastes but also fit the needs of our large family, with a spacious kitchen, wide-open and well-lit rooms, and low-maintenance wall and floor surfaces that could stand up to the tromping of four children, their friends, and their pets...All these plans took awhile to come to fruition. Turning raw land into a home required years of saving our money and investing our hard labor. But gradually, under our watchful eyes, it became something useful, beautiful, and suited to our specific needs. It is also, we hope, through the raising of our children and an ongoing ministry of hospitality, instrumental in bringing about God's kingdom on earth. Sally Clarkson--The Mission of Motherhood
Since March 15, 2012, I have prayed a very specific prayer every day. I've asked God to help me to make my home a beautiful witness to the living of God's will in our family's life. Every day, I've called to mind the vision of Mary, merciful and sweet, making a home for Jesus. I beg God to let me make a home for Him here, too.
It hasn't been too pretty here the last few days, both interiorly or outwardly. I'm trying mightily and failing miserably. There have been lots of rants about ungrateful children and their mother-teacher who has utterly failed at inculcating grateful stewardship. Some of those rants I've actually voiced aloud. Also, there has been that tension, with me since reading so many social justice books. How can we spend money on this home when people wake up in unsafe huts with mud floors every day?
That tension is mine to live in for now. It is so easy for me to berate myself, to look at every ding in the wall, every pile of mess found behind furniture that hasn't moved in years, every dusty blind, and see my failures. It is so easy to go back to that place where I was two summers ago and lament time wasted and lessons unlearned. But God won't let me go there. He's made very sure of it, today especially. We thought we'd blessed some people with work as we undertook this renovation project. Turns out they're blessing us back.
My home is filled with strangers. They are bringing to life a vision similar to the one that Sally shared. We are providing for them a job and money to take home to their families. One thing I hadn't counted on though, is the young man who wears his rosary every day and his friend, the really good ceiling painter, who smiles as he works. Smiles. Ten hours a day. What we got for the price of a painter is a witness--a witness to hard work, to finding joy in even the most tedious of jobs, to gratitude for the chance to do a good job and so to gain another job. And a T-shirt that reminds me I've been absolved. God + Grace. I'm going to just go with that thought.
"The Hebrew word for subdue implies making something subject to your authority. It means being responsible for making it useful and beautiful, caring for it rather than exploiting it." Sally Clarkson--The Mission of Motherhood
We have such a vision for this home--a vision for hospitality and shelter and education of children and familiy and ministry. That vision and the work that it will take to bring it to fruition is under my authority. It's my mission.
Are you thinking about the mission of motherhood, too? I'm going to join The Nester for 31 Days. I'm going to host a 31 day "retreat"here to remind myself (and anyone who wants to come along) of the mission of motherhood and matrimony. If you want to do your own 31 Days on anything you choose, head here and join! If you want to retreat from the noise of the 'net for a month and focus your own sweet home and family, grab a “Remind Myself of the Mission” button and curl up with a candle, your Bible, and this good book! Let me know your thoughts below. We can help each other hear His mission. You can add a Remind Myself button by cutting and pasting the code below.
Click here for the whole series.