the great god over the small things.

i have to tell you, sometimes i struggle with being a mom.  not because i don't love my kids.  and not because it's not everything i've ever wanted to do.  i really do, and it really is.

but there are times - say, when i get the wartburg newsletter in the mail and i see a bunch of people that i graduated with have completed their doctorates, or when i see that some girl from my high school graduating class is trying out for the olympic marathon team - that i forget that what i'm doing is really all that big of a deal.  it's so easy to think in terms of bitterness or self-pity, like, 'she's an olympic-level runner and i can't even go to lowe's with my kids without wanting to die,'  or, 'someone paid how much for my private-college degree so that i could feel like my greatest accomplishment today is cleaning pee off the floor...again?'

and you know what? i hate running.  i have never had the sliver-iest hint of ever wanting to be in the olympics (unless they started some event where you got to eat chocolate chips all day while watching friends and pinning crap to your pinterest boards.  i would definitely want to be in the olympics then, because training would be awesome and you know what? i'd probably take at least silver).  but what i'm saying is, the only reason i'm jealous of marathon girl is because she's doing something 'noteworthy' with her life.  she could end up in the paper! people in grand old mount pleasant, iowa might talk about her when they strike up conversations at hy-vee!  and you know what?  no one in mt. pleasant is talking about the fact that i did fourteen million loads of laundry today or that i'm setting some kind of record for consecutive days wearing clothes that smell like someone else's barf. 

i want people to think that what i'm doing matters, and instead when i get asked what i do and i reply that i stay at home, i get a lot of 'oh...'s and some 'that's cool...'s.  conversation over.  what else is there to say?  but i think it's good to remind myself that in some situations, if god were to ask someone what they are doing with their life, and all they could come up with is 'i have my doctorate' or 'i'm a high-caliber shotputter,' he'd be all 'oh...that''  because what do those things matter in the grand scheme of eternity?  not that they can't mean something, but standing by themselves they might not be worth much to the grand purposes of god.

so i raise my kids.  we talk about jesus.  i get cabin fever and wish i could spend the day at lowe's.  i wipe butts. we get dirty.  i give spanks.   i get sticky kisses and pouty lips in return.  and i remember on nights where god keeps me up past midnight with the burden to pray for my kids that what i'm doing matters.  it matters in the heaviest way. 

because at the heart of the gospel is the message that christ is the kind of god who gives big meaning to the smallest of things.  he doesn't think the way we think.  he doesn't value what we're inclined to value.  he does things backwards.  he dies for us instead of exacting rightful punishment.  he leads us by serving.  he's a king in the dirt.  and those of us that get to spend our lives serving and giving and dying in his name receive a whole kingdom from it. 

so this is just your (and my) little friendly reminder that what you do matters - even if it's menial.  it matters to god because he's in the business of menial, and since you matter to god he's invited you to be a part of his great, small work.  jesus can do great things through people who are willing to do menial things.  and what is a doctorate (or any enviable recognition) compared to the great things of god?


todd said...

i love you my wife. man, i'm a lucky guy. i am so thankful to God for you.

todd said...

"A King in the dirt."

That is epic.





What a clever, creative way of speaking about the truth of God in Christ revealed in glory.

whenjeskasparks said...

for what it's worth... you are one of my greatest treasures. not only for your friendship all these years, or your wisdom and insight when i call for advice, or the times when you keep your mouth shut when i'm going to do something stupid or even better, the times when you open your mouth and warn me to be smart when i'm about to do something stupid..

more than all that..
i'm glad you're a few miles ahead of me. it feels so much like you're my recon person. i send you out first to do all the hard life stuff and then you report back to me what you know so i'll be prepared on what's coming down the pipe.

and for that,
i'll be forever grateful.
thank you for this post, for i am sure to think back on it when i am in your position.

i love you.
and you REALLY are the BEST mom i know. BEST. no exaggeration. hands down.

i love love you. (worth saying again.)

the crawfords said...

awesome post friend!

Lisagrace Alsbury said...

i need to start responding to all mom's who stay at home with,

"Oh my gosh, REALLY? I can't believe you chose not to work outside the home, when that is so common for moms today. It is so awesome, that you would sacrifice so much time, prayer, thought, and sanity on little creations that are so dependent and don't give anything back. You are a picture of the way God views and treat us!"

The Crislers said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome post. Did I mention it was awesome? Because it was. So awesome I had to read it through three times because I was flying through it the first two, then made myself slow down to catch every word. So good.

butwehavethistreasure said...

Good stuff, Paige. Thanks!

Emily V.

Anonymous said...


Jenni and Dan said...

Thanks Paige, I needed that.

Tori said...

I love the wisdom that God has given you Paige. You have gained the insight and clarity that God gives to those who seek Him with their whole heart. Keep it up, my friend. You are an amazing mom and your kids are going to be amazing because they have a front row seat to your life.

paige said...

thanks for all the encouraging comments, everyone!