Wow, it has been a busy 4 or 5 days! We spent the night with friends on Thursday (THANK YOU ANGELA FOR A WONDERFUL, FUN NIGHT!!!) and then off to my parent's house all weekend until late Monday night. We are back in the groove today.
Back to reality, I read the most thought-provoking entry on another blog today. It could not have come at a better time for me. I will plainly admit, motherhood has been somewhat drudgery for me lately. I have been LONGING to be alone. I have had an especially deep need to paint and listen to QUIET music and read. The dirty floors, dishes and clothes have not been met with a happy, content attitude from me. So here is what I read today that refreshed my heart and soul and pointed me back to Christ. It is an excerpt taken from Elisabeth Elliot. Don't you just love her?
"Motherhood and Profanity"
But what have buying groceries, changing diapers and peeling vegetables got to do with creativity? Aren’t those the very things that keep us from it? Isn’t it that kind of drudgery that keeps us in bondage? It’s insipid and confining, it’s what one conspicuous feminist called “a life of idiotic ritual, full of forebodings and failure.” To her I would answer ritual, yes. Idiotic, no, not to the Christian–for although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration. It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word’s having been “made flesh,” is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God.
But this is what we so easily forget. Men as well as women have listened to those quasi-rational claims, have failed to see the fatal fallacy, and have capitulated. Words like personhood, liberation, fulfillment and equality have had a convincing ring and we have not questioned their popular definitions or turned on them the searchlight of Scripture or even of our common sense. We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry.
This is what I mean by profanity. We have forgotten the mystery, the dimension of glory. It was Mary herself who showed it to us so plainly. By the offering up of her physical body to become the God-bearer, she transfigured for all mothers, for all time, the meaning of motherhood. She cradled, fed and bathed her baby–who was very God of very God–so that when we cradle, feed and bathe ours we may see beyond that simple task to the God who in love and humility “dwelt among us and we beheld his glory.”
Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven’t an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.
The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one’s life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed–not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother’s part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.
To modern mothers I would say “Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God’s equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . .” (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips).
It is a spiritual principle as far removed from what the world tells us as heaven is removed from hell: If you are willing to lose your life, you’ll find it. It is the principle expressed by John Keble in 1822:
If on our daily course our mindBe set to hallow all we find,New treasures still, of countless price,God will provide for sacrifice.
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for showing me once again the beauty and honor in the calling of motherhood. Keep reminding me, I pray, as often as my vain heart forgets!