I recorded a little voice memo for myself not long after my husband bought me an iPhone.
“Be encouraged. The work you are doing may be hard, and you’re in the thick of it.
But you are doing GOOD WORK.”
I often think about the good works God planned long ago for me to walk in.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Good work of doling out cough medicine when little chests are croupy.
Good work of a shopping trip through the grocery store with four little ones in tow right at naptime.
Good work of getting everyone up, dressed, fed, pottied, and out the door by 8am for sports camp or VBS.
Good work of saying yes to park playdates with Auntie & cousins.
Good work of saying no to too many other playdates or too much martial arts practice.
Good work of washing diapers, wiping bums, changing sheets, washing towels, serving Goldfish & blueberries for afternoon snack.
Good work of disciplining little wayward hearts.
Good work of practicing self-denial and self-control on my own part.
Good work of admitting faults and asking forgiveness when I too give in to my own wayward heart.
Good work of planning dinner for tonight, even if fruit salad and tortellini is as far as I’ve gotten so far.
Good work of kissing booboos and covering owies with bandaids.
Good work of providing reading material, piano books, math facts worksheets, and audio books.
Good work of praying with my children, even if I feel like it is a wrestling match just to quiet them for giving thanks.
Good work of running errands, driving kids to events, fellowshipping with others, washing dishes, unloading groceries, and having an afternoon cup of coffee to ensure I make it through playtime, dinnertime, and bedtime with open eyelids.
I may not be on a short term mission trip in Africa, evangelizing people who have never met King Jesus.
But I am on a long term evangelical mission right here in my own home, discipling little people who do know King Jesus and who desperately want to serve & love Him better.
I am in the business of Good News sharing, Gospel living, Kingdom expanding work.
I am in this for the long haul.
I’m doing my best.
My little disciples spend some days as faltering as Peter
and other days as unassuming as James.
I try not to spend too many days as doubtful as Thomas.
This is the work God has given me to do.
For this is the time and the season for it.
Oh! It is hard work. But it is GOOD.
And sometimes, I just have to remind myself of that.
God Himself prepared these works for me to walk in.
I spend a lot of time and energy and heart being an encourager.
I write notes of encouragement all the time.
It’s something I am known for, and it’s just because of Jesus’ grace.
Being an encourager-of-others is a good work God has called me to.
Of course my children are one of the main groups where I pour myself out in encouragement.
My husband also needs my encouragement, and I seek to find the ways that best encourage him.
I am continuing to grow in this skill.
I want to hone this good work to which God has called me!
But I admit that there are too-often times where I feel a lack of encouragement myself.
Where is my report card?
Where is my annual review?
Where is my own to-do list all neatly checked off & squared away?
There are days when nothing is as sweet as a kind word of encouragement while maneuvering a large unwieldy grocery cart…
You know the moment…
The moment when I think the cart is so top-heavy and overloaded that it might topple over at the next aisle corner…
The moment with one on my back, one in the cart seat, and one on either side of me (“at their station” ~ which phrase may only make sense to those other young mamas who have read much Rachel Jankovic!), but all four making conversation with me in a simultaneous cacophony…
The moment where I’m so hungry I might pass out, the baby smells strongly of spit-up, the big kids ask if they can break into the container of blueberries, and suddenly the three year old declares they are in imminent need of a potty break.
That is the moment when, recently in my experience, an older woman with grace and joy and kindness (and smile lines!) simply said to me, “you’re doing a good job, mama.” I thought I heard the angels singing.
She smiled, I said thank you, my kids smiled at her and tried quickly introducing themselves all in the same breath, and we continued on.
Not four aisles over, an older gentleman with life-worn hands and the passage of time spilling from his eyes touched my arm gently with his hand, saying, “you’ve got good kids. They must be loved very much.”
I responded, “oh yes I do and yes they are! I can not even tell you.”
Like a cup of cool water.
The reminder from been-there-done-that perspective of older, wiser folks.
The encouragement that this is good stuff.
It may be hard, it may be heavy, and there may be moments where I wonder if it’s all truly going well.
Weeks later, I am still lifted up and encouraged by the words of those two people that day.
In the interim, I have been able to dip my own ladle in and share some of that cool water with others.
A cranky looking pregnant girl who had that familiar look of large discomfort – I simply told her she was beautiful.
A mom with little children acting like monkeys, who looked like she was about to totally lose her cool – I smiled at her understandingly and said, “I get it. I would offer you some chocolate, but I don’t have any! I’ve got gum!” She didn’t want the gum, but she appreciated the laugh and the moment to catch her breath.
Be encouraged, mamas.
Encourage one another, too.
Walk in the good works God prepared for you.
And when you can’t see the goodness, just believe it.
It takes faith.
But that’s encouraging too.