Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The small things

There are many times when I hear a sermon or a teaching that really speaks to me. Often I plan to blog about it to share with you all, in hopes that it will be as helpful to one of you as it was to me. In reality though, I seldom get around to writing what someone else said, because I just don't feel I can do it justice or get it all in.
Sunday our pastor preached a sermon that was very encouraging to me and related personally with me in terms of motherhood. I once again have struggled with whether or not to share this with you because I'm afraid that I will completely butcher it to pieces. After a couple days of thinking it over, I've decided to share it, in hopes some one may identify with it as well. I wish I could present it to you the way in which it was presented to me, but instead it's going to have my own spin on it. If you did happen to hear the same sermon as I on Sunday, you might even wonder if we were at the same church because I may have related it to my life so differently than you.
I've been on this motherhood journey for 6 years now and though it's really just a short intro to many more years, I consider it quite a distance I've come from the beginning until present. I've learned many lessons during this early start, but probably the biggest one is that the small things are the most important. What I mean by that is, the small things like changing diapers, wiping noses, doing laundry, cooking suppers, cleaning messes that just get re-made, repeatedly settling spats between siblings, disciplining the same behavior time and time again, or picking up the same toy 10 times a day, really do matter most. These are also the things that I often find the most overwhelming. They are the challenges that have literally left me tears, set me on angry rampages, caused me to bite Joe's head off and left me feeling like all I do everyday is for nothing.
The little things are also what have caused me to seek strength outside my own, to realize my need for more of God, to pray more continually, and to expect God to meet me where I am. At first, I thought He really didn't care, my struggles were too trivial, too small to be noticed or to bother the same Creator of the universe who is tending to so many other bigger and legitimate hurts, needs and request for assistance.
Let me just say that I bought 100% into a lie. I was wrong and I was weary. I clearly remember a night when I ripped Joe up one side and down the other, bitterly blaming him for my current state of fatigue, stress and loneliness. It went something like, if he only did more to help me, if he only knew all that I did, if he would just. . . Let me tell you, that fight did not end peacefully and I'm pretty sure he rolled over and went soundly to sleep while I went stomped downstairs and cried my eyes out 'til there were no tears left. No angry tears, only broken tears. I cried out for answers, for peace, for God to tell me something!! That's when I realized He does care, He said very clearly to me, "Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." That was me, heavy laden with burdens I chose to carry and desperately in need of rest for my malnourished soul. See, I thought I had to wait until my problems were greater or more serious. I thought I had to come to my end to come to Him, for Him to care, but I didn't. Of course, sometimes that is what it takes for us to realize our need for Him, but that is not the only way we qualify for His attention. He is waiting. Always, constantly, longingly waiting with undivided attention. The small things matter, if it matters to me, it matters to Him.
Over time, after realizing that these small things are important to God, important enough to pray about and ask for His help, I started to value the little things He had called me to do. Though they seemed insignificant and no one saw them, though I couldn't repeat all the little things I'd done back to Joe at the end of the day and certainly had little to nothing to show for them, I knew they mattered. This place in life of mothering small children is important, it is hard at times but it is valuable to Him. He has placed me here and this is His purpose for my life now. He does not expect me to do things in my own strength or wisdom but in His, He sees what no one else sees and remembers what even I can't remember. When God values the little things, they become big things.
Now I find importance in the little things and they aren't meaningless. I don't feel like I'm trapped in a viscous cycle of do, do, do again. {Okay, maybe with the laundry.} But what I'm trying to say is the Lord has really helped me not get so overwhelmed by the little things, I view them differently than before.
Now the little things, make me happy even. I am able to accept them as blessings and often fondly treasure the messes, the moments and the memories. The little things have become ABC magnets randomly stuck on the fridge and the floor, the scribbles on paper that pass for art, the unexpected kisses from sticky mouths, the funny mispronunciations, the deeply thought out questions from a 4 or 5 year old's mind, the overheard pretend play, the smiles that melt my heart, the attempts to please, to be helpful, the excitement when Daddy comes home, the laughter when Daddy teases, on and on.
Of course there are still times when I get overwhelmed, when motherhood is chaotic, when life is heavy, when I get caught up because some one doesn't view my daily life as a worthy cause. It's only for a moment now, instead of a set of dark days, because now I immediately know that I have gotten off track. I haven't been depending on God to guide me through the small things. I realize I've let others words alter my sense of purpose. My identity is not the same as some one else's identity, nor should it be defined by their opinion.

So far I have very much been talking about my own experience and not Sunday's sermon, but let me get to that. Pastor talked about not missing the God ordained moments, because we were looking for bigger causes. We are to value the small things God calls us to do. No matter how small or insignificant, if God wants us to do something it is crucial. The text was from Zechariah 4:6-10, read this reference if you like, for me I couldn't get past the question the Lord ask in verse 10, "Who despises the day of small things?" {And this is the part where I feel really inadequate trying to explain to you} Basically, the Lord was telling Zechariah to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed. Compared to what it had been and what they were going to do, it seemed like it wasn't even going to be worth doing.
I don't know about you but in motherhood, or at whatever place God has you, my days often feel like they are filled with small things. But if they are the things that God has called us to do, they are worth doing. The opportunities that God gives us is a gift from Him to us, what we do with those opportunities is our gift to God.
In the midst of days consisting of small things, it is vital that we guard our hearts against discouragement. Proverbs 4:23 says our hearts are the wellspring of life and we are to protect them above anything else. Do not get discouraged because you are feel that in the grand scheme of things your calling doesn't matter. Jesus told the man who was faithful with a few things, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
We must guard our hearts against comparing ourselves and our lives to other people and their lives. God has designed and planned a life for each of us. We cannot live a life complete in Christ trying to be someone other than He intended us to be. How many times though do we lay awake at night worrying what someone else thinks of the way we live, or struggle with our priorities because they're not the same as our friend's or family's? When Peter questioned Jesus about his plan for John's life, Jesus' reply was, "What is that to you?"
Lastly, we must guard against low expectations. If we keep the mentality that what we are called do is meaningless, we will have low expectations of what God has for us and wants to do through us. I believe that when we learn to value the small things, God really does change our perspective and what once appeared insignificant, becomes significant. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that because of Christ power with in us God can do more than we can ever imagine.
I hope you have found these truths encouraging and personal to your own place in life. Be encouraged as you go about the your day of God ordained moments. "Who despises the day of small things?"


Sweats, Nikes, and No Make-up said...

Beautiful thoughts from a beautiful person!

Angela said...

Wow...wish I could have heard the sermon fully but I was called away to feeding duties! Definitely needed this interpretation and encouragement especially after one of those days yesterday of "despising small things" instead of appreciating them.

Our Family said...

Miranda- Thank-you so much for this post!! What beautiful words to remind us all that the "small things" in our day all add up & can be used for His glory!

Lyndsay Taylor said...

amen and thank you!