Works in the wasteland

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy He saved us! Titus 3:5a

It is January 17. And the stockings are still hung by the chimney with care. The Christmas tree, brittle and limp, sheds it's needles by the hundreds each day. I groan as I bend to sweep them before the baby puts them in his mouth...again.

The millionth tea party of the day for the three would-be princesses. The cups, fake food, saucers, napkins are stacked on my bedside table. Next to my unmade bed. "As if I need FAKE food to clean up!", I mutter to myself as I gather up the toys yet again, too worn out to prod them to do it themselves this time.

The laundry is no longer a pile and has long since been categorized as a mountain. It has overtaken both the washer and the dryer and heaves itself onto the shelves that hold the detergent bottles. All clean, mind you, but still...another task unfinished. An endless chore that is never quite complete.

Our house is shaking the dregs of the inevitable mid-winter stomach bug, and sinking knee deep into January doldrums. Whoever said "a mother's work is never done" knew a few mothers in her time! Today's thoughts stream from my frustration, my exhaustion, that age-old question that exploded from me today as I faced the endless work of motherhood, my husband facing his own mountain of infinite chores others face these same battles? Is this just the curse rearing it's ugly head -

To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground..." (Genesis 3:16-19)

- does every mother have these days? I long for a more honest culture, one in which moms are less "super" and sometimes forget to shower and yes, get behind in their duties at home. For who among us really fits the caricature of ├╝ber-organization, working, playing, and housewife-ing without blinking a well-curled and mascara'ed eyelash? Please tell me I am not alone under my mountain of laundry, picking up plastic tea-cups at 10 p.m., and sighing as I walk past the Christmas tree for yet another day!

At the end of the day, legs pitched forward as I collapse on the couch, ignoring the rest of the day's unfinished work, I praise God for grace. For honesty, realism, love, patience. That I can show Him my uncleaned closets and the piles of papers mounting on the end of my island and close my eyes and rest in His presence, authentic, open, and loved completely and unimaginably despite my shortcomings. I praise Him that He drowns me in work that completely sweeps cancer out of the furthest corner of my thoughts for days at a time. I praise Him that I can write, and laugh, and escape occasionally from the drudgery that sometimes surrounds me.

I thank God for forcing humbleness upon me - perfectionist and would-be super-mom as I am by nature. I see Him using the things that I despise in life to confound me, to remind me that all of my works are wood, hay, and stubble, and will burn before His glory if not done for His glory alone. (I Corinthians 1:26-28; I Corinthians 3:10-15)

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Colossians 1:16-17

Our hearts unfold before Your throne
The only place for those who know
It's not for us, It's all for You

Send Your holy fire on this offering
Let our worship burn for the world to see
It's not for us, It's all for You

~ Not to Us, Chris Tomlin