It had finally happened. After an extended period of trying to conceive, the word “pregnant” showed up on the pregnancy test. It was very early the morning after our cross country move from Texas to North Carolina, but I woke everyone anyway. The excitement bubbled over and I could not contain it. My prayers had been answered and I wanted to share the news with the world. My dream of being a mother was going to come true. Fast forward about ten months, and while I was still head over heels in love with this baby boy, something felt like it was missing. I could not shake this feeling of having no real purpose. Sure, I had planned to stay home with our children and was blessed to be able to afford it, even if it was rather frugal living at that point, but my purpose in life had completely shifted, and somehow I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I kept reminding myself what a noble job motherhood was, but I had no idea what to do with myself in this period of change. My brain cells felt unused, and I felt as if many of my talents were being wasted. I thought there had to be more than this. I faithfully put in my time, and I did find joy in being home with my son, but it definitely took much longer for me to understand the purpose behind my job as mother.
Have you ever felt that way, useless, or at least under-utilized? I imagine many of us feel that way for a variety of reasons. However, I do not think this is a feeling given to us by God. Let’s take a look at the story of David and Goliath for an example of God’s perception of these “useless” times, or times of preparation. I am only going to focus on the verses dealing with David telling Saul why he knows he can slay Goliath, but the entirety of chapter 17 is worth reading. 1 Samuel 17:33-37 tells us:
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
Saul looked at David and saw a young shepherd boy who played the lyre. David, however, knew that his time as a shepherd and his reliance on God had prepared him for just this moment. Having defeated a lion and a bear with his bear hands in protection of his flock, he knew God would grant him victory over Goliath so that God’s power might be displayed. This is an amazing perspective, and one I have to work hard at during the long years of raising young children. While times have been difficult and the work seems endless, God has been preparing me for his service.
First, he has been preparing me to be a better servant to my family. I find much greater joy knowing the effects my service has on them. I show them love and find joy with each load of laundry done. Each time I help others, my children get to witness love. While I am being prepared to be a better servant, so are my children. Second, he is preparing me for interaction with others. I cannot count the number of times I have had a conversation with someone where God has urged me to share something I have learned from my own journey to give that person comfort and encouragement. I hope that I will continue to be faithful to sharing my life and my story so that God may be shown in it. Finally, God has a plan for my future. I am not sure exactly what that will look like, but I can see the pieces start to unfold before me. Patience and obedience to my current task are required, but the rewards have already begun. The joy I now find in motherhood is ten times greater than when I first began, and while I am still grumpy about it from time to time, my perspective has allowed me to be angry and annoyed much less. (I struggle with getting upset when things continually deviate from my plan. That is a bad trait to have as a mother. <Smile>)
God prepared David while tending sheep, and God is preparing me while raising children. I will not be king, but my job is important. Yours is too. God has given you the tools for victory and will continue to provide for you. According to Ephesians 2:22, “in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” If that is my only purpose in life, I cannot think of anything more meaningful. Because of this, my past sins no longer define me and I am holy and loved. God gives me the strength to share his love and serve him fully. In my current season of life, sharing that with my children is one of my greatest joys. I hope they see the joy and strength God’s love and forgiveness has given me, and I hope they feel it for themselves as they face challenges in their own lives.
If you are looking at your life and feeling worthless or without purpose, remember God has purpose in all things. While I may not be able to understand, we can take comfort in knowing God knows us intimately and fully. He is with us always. May you feel God’s blessings and purpose on your life in the coming week.