Dear Exhausted Mama, Lift Your Eyes

My friend looked at me with a blank stare when I asked how I could be praying for her upcoming move. “I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter,” she said with zero enthusiasm. “My days are all the same. Day in and day out, I do the same things. If I clean the house, it just gets messy again. What’s the point?”

My friend is the mother of a toddler. I know the feeling. They say cleaning your house with young children is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. The moment I finish cleaning the living room, I hear a crash in the bedroom that tells me a stack of puzzles has just been emptied on the floor. In the midst of all the mundane tasks — emptying the dishwasher, tackling the laundry piles, filling the cereal bowls — it’s easy to lose sight of God’s greater purpose.

Without a vision of who God is, and what he’s called us to as wives and mothers, we forget the reason behind our tasks. I felt compassion for my friend, whose joy and purpose was lost amid the daily duty of diapers and housework. I identified with her all too easily.

How do we capture a vision for motherhood that inspires and encourages women in the various seasons of raising a family? How do we develop a passion for what God has called us to do — one that lifts our eyes from the mess of dishes in the sink to the eternal purpose he intends us to enjoy?

You’re Displaying Something

Scripture reveals that our influence as wives and mothers is needed in the home. Proverbs 31 tells of the excellent wife who works from sunup to sundown to benefit her family, home, and community. She provides food, buys land, plants a garden, makes and sells clothing, just to name a few things.

Although her endeavors include earning income outside her home, her main priority is her household: “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov. 31:27). As a strong and godly helper, she does her husband good, not harm, all her days (Prov. 31:11–12). She’s clothed with strength and dignity. She looks to the future with joy and laughter (Prov. 31:25). Kindness and wisdom mark her words (Prov. 31:26).

Paul instructs young widows to “marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander” (1 Tim. 5:14). He says older women should be teaching younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home . . . that the Word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:4–5).

How we work says something about whom we serve.

Our work in the home matters to God and affects how others view God’s word. It’s that significant. The way we treat our families as we go about our daily tasks puts the [G]ospel on display to a watching world. Our neighbors, friends, and children notice if we obey God’s commands with drudgery, or with a joyful spirit. How we work says something about whom we serve. And the attitude we bring to our tasks is contagious. As the saying goes, “If Momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

What an Opportunity

Every day, our children are being molded and shaped by our actions and attitudes. These are God-given opportunities to influence the next generation. As our children grow, the kitchen table of influence extends to neighbors who come over for a playdate and friends they bring home from school. No matter what season you’re in, it will be over soon.

Last year my daughter entered middle school, and I saw a need to encourage her in the fight against the pressure of air-brushed beauty. So I began a mother-daughter Bible study on true beauty and body image for my daughter and her friends. I don’t consider myself a gifted youth leader, but this is where God has me, and I want to seize the opportunity to influence these precious young women. In a few short years, my daughter will be gone, and I don’t want to regret not seizing the opportunities to invest in her life.

Whatever your age or stage, God is at work in and through you. Don’t lose sight of his purpose as you pick up toys for the [10th] time, or as you drive your child to soccer practice, again. A welcoming and orderly home — not to be confused with an immaculate one — can teach your children about the beauty and order of God’s creation. Daily carpool rides offer moments to ask your teens about their day. As you attempt to draw out their hearts, you have an opportunity to demonstrate Christ’s tender love and care. You may not receive a paycheck for your work, but you’re shaping souls for eternity.

Whether you’re an exhausted mom of babies, preschoolers, school-age kids, or teens, grab hold of the opportunity God is giving you to affect the next generation. A posture of love and joy will yield more opportunities than you can imagine. “So whether you eat or drink [or change diapers, or drive carpools, or cook dinner], or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Our King is magnified as we serve our families with joy and purpose, trusting he’s at work in the mundane moments of our lives.

This piece originally appeared on The Gospel Coalition, published with permission. 

Stacy Reaoch
Stacy Reaoch
Stacy Reaoch @Stacyreaoch. is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. She is passionate about helping women learn to study the Bible and apply God’s life-changing truths to their daily lives. Stacy contributes articles to various publications including Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. She and her husband, Ben, serve Three Rivers Grace Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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