A friend of mine asked me to share with her any thoughts I have had on being called to the home as a part of our service in this world. She is currently reflecting on how many women are at home all the time, living out their lives in laundry, cooking, etc and how really there are spiritual disciplines of service to one's family. I knew that at least two or three of you have talked about this with me as well, so I thought I would share my response to her here as well. So, here is some of what I wrote to her:
More recently, I have been growing my own basil and parsley so I can make pesto from scratch and have been teaching myself to sew and have been running between 12 and 15 miles a week. I have been struck with how much of each of these things requires the practice of discipline and how each of them has parts that are just joy. With the growing, cooking and sewing I have been feeling much more in touch with the part of me that is made in the image of God as creator and maker. I have been reflecting on the joy God must have felt and must feel when he MAKES.
with my home and family I have been struck by how much of the discipline of the home is the discipline of self-sacrifice and service. And, I have felt the Lord impressing on me the importance of the stable environment all of my little tasks and chores add up to make possible. I was beginning to grow numbed to the tasks, beginning to feel like I was drowning in the mundane and doing nothing of significance. Then, the Lord spoke to my heart about the incredible gift I was giving my family by creating this environment which was clean to live in, where they had good food to eat, where they had clean clothes to wear and because of these things they were/are freed up to be able to grow and develop in healthy ways. They are not bound up in worry that is brought about by unstable environments. They had/have the chance to grow to learn a sense of rhythm and season because their minds are free to pick up on life going on around them and not stuck wondering if they will have food to eat today. I was confronted with how much of God's love for me is tied up in doing things that no one would consider sensational, but which absolutely transform me and my experience of the world around me. Colossians tells us that all things are held together in Jesus. So, at all times, part of what Jesus is doing is simply holding my environment together. Every moment He keeps it from flying apart or from ceasing to exist. He keeps all the oxygen molecules exchanging with the carbon dioxide molecules all the time making it so that I can breathe and not suffocate. He brings the rain and the sun so that food can grow and I can have water to drink. BORING. This is not the excitement of the resurrection, this is not as crazy as the creation where everything simply came into being as God spoke it into place. This is the day in, day out maintenance of the world so that I can breathe, eat and drink. I am appreciating more the "mundane" tasks that Jesus performs in the world around me so that I can live. Not to mention (of course) the more exciting things he does, the extraordinary things he does that have transformed my life and given my breathing meaning. The fact that he keeps my environment stable (e.g., gravity always works and does not unpredictably just disappear from time to time), means that more of my mind is available to pay attention to Him and what He is revealing about Himself. Lately, I have been amazed at his persistence, his presence in every moment, how he NEVER takes a break from holding all things together in Him.