I was asked to write a post for my friend Britney’s blog, but I thought I’d re-post it here now for all to see…once again:
A few days ago I was WhatsApp-ing with a friend of mine and she asked me how I feel about being at home every day as a mother, and about not having a career “to go to.” This seems to be THE current hot-topic among moms and wives I know. My thumbs hovered mid-text, then wiggled, I chewed my lip in deep-thought, until finally I typed, “It feels like worship.” Now that I am a mother, I feel like I have discovered a type of worship that was never available to me before.
I can’t sing. I don’t play an instrument. And as uncool as it may make me seem, I don’t even have a favorite band. I do like music. I like to dance. But music is not something that I would necessarily miss on a road trip. At church, I prefer hymns to a funky praise and worship band. I like to hold a book, and read old words with old meanings and sentence structures that make modern praise and worship lyrics seem like teen literature in comparison. (side note: I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of The Church of Christ.)
Usually worship is thought of as music and singers and bands. Or that lady that goes to youth camps and does those sand drawings as the camp band plays “I Can Only Imagine.” Or the guy that paints on a huge canvas and you can’t tell what it is til he turns on a black light at the end and it turns out that the doves and olives are actually the drops of blood around the thorny crown of Christ. OR! The interpretive ballet group that travels around, and one of the girls in the group is in a wheelchair, and she always emerges in the center of the group with flowy scarves, and their brochure has Thomas Kinkade pictures on it. You WISH you had those gifts and talents. Worship comes in many forms. But what you always see, when it is the real deal, true worship, is full devotion. People, in their human-ness, going all-in with their talents to offer something to God. You know sand-art-lady isn’t half-way-ing-it at youth camps across Texas, Arkansas, and parts of Louisiana. She is committed. That bumper sticker, “Sand up for what is right,” She means every word of it…from a pure, albeit grainy, heart.
Being a mother is holy to me. It is a daily sacrifice that God has called me to. And it is without a doubt something that I say “I’m all-in, full devotion. With everything I’ve got, I’m in.” Criticize me, question my methods, ask me why I do what I do. But as you watch me mother my kids, and fold this laundry, and wipe that snotty nose, and as you see me cook this meal and get vomited on or peed on, or both, and as I spank, and encourage, and caress, and teach, and pray, you’ll see me worshiping with my whole day. And sometimes worshiping late into the night. Worshiping with all the energy I have left in my body, even as another little body is growing in my belly. Because it is my holy sacrifice.
It is with my daily life that I worship. It is my holy calling. And, I bet if you asked sand-art-lady, she’d agree, this isn’t what we asked to be good at. This is what God gave us. And then God asked, “Will you give it back to me? Will you use what I have given you? Or will you bury it in the sand, and pursue a career?” There are lots of things I could be doing, and undoubtedly doing really well. But when I became a wife, and then a mother, it was like the black light on the big ol’ canvas was turned-on, and all the rest of the image became clear and I went, “Yes! There’s the full picture! I am being my worship. For my husband, for my family, and ultimately and most pleasingly for God.”
…and as the the camp band plays, “Surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel, will I SAND for you Jesus or in awe of you be still…” With teen ballet dancers fluttering around in modest leotards (the one in the wheelchair is sprinkling rose petals) then there, center stage of the camp mess-hall/auditorium, I emerge. 33 weeks pregnant, with my 18-month-old on my hip, spaghetti sauce in my hair, and my husband’s freshly ironed work shirt in my hand. I stand with a soft, pressed-lip smile, eyes lifted upward to the bright, but not harsh, spot-light…music crescendo…the giant canvas lowers to cover the entire scene, black-out and simultaneously flip the black light on then…..BOOM! There’s nothing there but a neon-colored chalk drawing of the empty cross on Calvary’s Hill. Not a dry eye in the house, people.
Close with an altar call.