Monday, April 23, 2012

Do I Matter? Do I Make a Difference?



I opened my closet and studied the options dangling from my hangers. What was I going to wear for our family photos? Certainly not a formal dress, a t-shirt, or the styles from a decade ago that somehow still hang in my closet.
I am not a fashionista. Ask my trendy 18-year-old sister and she will tell you she would love to revamp my wardrobe. I really don’t think much about clothes and I have no reservation taking the hand-me-downs from friends. So why exactly did I feel a lump in my throat? Why did I feel emotional over my limited attire? Was it because Andy teased me that all our clothes were dirty and the piles of laundry spilling from our rooms and bathroom were proof of my incompetent housekeeping job?
I grabbed two shirts and presented them to my friend who was taking our pictures. She picked the one that matched best with the girl’s clothes.
“I just don’t ever buy clothes for me.” I self -consciously said to Melissa. “I only spend money on clothes for the girls. They are the ones the really need them since they are growing and wearing them out. I just wear jeans and a t-shirt most days.”
In that moment, I could have walked to my room, closed the door and cried. The emotions felt so raw that I knew this was not a simple case of, “I have nothing to wear!” 
So what was it then?
The truth is I felt embarrassed.  My laundry had never been piled that high. I was swimming in a sea of dirty clothes, dirty dishes, and unplanned menus, struggling to stay on top of necessities, like clean underwear, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Melissa was visiting, she is a Children’s Ministry Consultant and she is good at what she does. She had come to do training for us and we learned so much from her. She is making a difference in the lives of children across the United States by investing in the churches that invite her to come. My job, on the other hand, consists of my little home and there was evidence I was failing miserably with my maintenance skills.
As I opened my closet, I was really asking: Do I matter? Do I make a difference? Am I more than a mom and a wife and a housekeeper?
God I am failing at this homemaker thing, I don’t seem to get it. I honestly don’t even enjoy it, it is a chore. I need your joy to do the simple things of raising my family. Yet I know there is more to my life than cleaning and cooking and folding clothes. Help me to see what you see when you look at me. Help me to understand your plans and the season of life I am in right now. To embrace it with joy, to follow you wholeheartedly.
And it is in the moments of brokenness where I experience God’s love and compassion transforming my life. He sees me. The woman. Not the mom, cook, or house cleaner I see, but me. A 31-year-old woman that He created to have dreams and hopes and stories and ideas.The one that is right here and right now for a purpose.
Yes, what I do matters to my husband and to three beautiful little girls that have been entrusted to my care. I know that what my girls see happening within the walls of our home will shape who they become. A loving mommy in a ponytail, t-shirt and jeans can mold little hearts and help them grow in love, compassion and acceptance. My interactions with people at the church and with friends matter. My involvement with the girl’s school can make a difference.
I am thankful that God does not tire of reminding me of truths I can easily forget.
“What about we go to TJ Maxx and we get you some nice shirts.” Melissa proposed the following day.
And so to TJ Maxx we went, and I found some cute and stylish shirts. My sister will be proud of me.


Linked to:
Playdates With God
Sharing His Beauty
A Handful of Heart
The Better Mom
No Ordinary Blog Hop

20 comments:

  1. You totally and completely matter! I loved spending time with you guys in the midst of life happening. It was a joy! Thanks for letting me just be family. Love you!

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  2. Deep, shaky, sigh, ahhhhh! I hear you and it's been one of those days! Praying that you, and I, know God's deep, adoptive, Father love that transforms us from the inside out, teaching our weary hearts what our heads know!

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    1. And I wish this was not something I was done with and moved on. but there are days where this is a real battle...sigh...I am indeed a BIG work in progress.

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  3. Going shopping does lift our spirits. Oh I was wondering how old are your children? Perhaps you could teach them how to sort their own clothes by color, how to use the washer and do their own laundry. That would be a big help to you.

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    1. Doing their own laundry is not an option, but they do help sort out clothes and they help pairing socks. However, you bring up a good point, there are probably more chores around the house they can help with.

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  4. I have clothes from High School still hanging in my closet and my hair is always in a pony tail! My kids always tell me I smell good though so I guess I'm doing a good job there :) Such is the life of a mommy to young kids!

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    1. You must shower daily then...I am jealous ;)

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  5. Sometimes everything can just seem overwhelming, can't it? So I'm sending you hugs and prayers, 'cos unfortunately I can't do anything else from over here. I'm sure that you know it's really important to try to take some time for yourself on a regular basis. I've changed my grocery night to a Thursday when the mall is open, and then do the shopping after the other stores have closed. Even if it's just a bit of window shopping, or sitting down for a coffee.

    Do we get to see the shirts?

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    1. Yes, it really is SO important, and I need to do a better job at this. We moved about a year ago and we have not established any consistent "babysitters." I also need discipline to be honest because I do have 3 mornings a week to myself.
      Thanks so much for the encouragement and kind words!

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  6. Ellen, I think all of us have those moments as moms where we wonder about the significance of what we do! But I just remember that the Bible tells us that *every* part of the body is important. There's only one mom in your girls' lives - and that's you! Blessings in your journey,
    Ann (also a NOBH mom!)

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  7. I love your writing. I have felt this very same way more often than I care to admit. So inspired by your profile About Me section. I am also a mother to two daughters with special needs. I too was the broken one. God has shown me so much through blessing me with my precious gifts. Visiting from NOBH.

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    1. I need to stop by your blog and visit!

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    2. Oh I tried to visit your blog but I do not have a way to find it! Do you have one? If not, shoot me an e-mail and tell me more about your beautiful girls.

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  8. I just think you are so beautiful. Who notices the clothes when the light shines from within? But...I sympathize with you on the shopping (and the laundry) thing. I'm so grateful God met you there--and that He does this for us so often. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.

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    1. Thanks Laura, and thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Wow, I can totally relate to you about this! And I can't wait to see more family pictures! Feel free to post pics of your new shirts, too. :)

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    1. See, if we lived closer, we could do weekly coffee dates, and swap kids every other weekend! Now, wouldn't that be nice!

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  10. Oh dear, I could have written a post very similar to this. But we really and truly do matter!

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    1. And somehow it is nice to know I am not the only one that has felt this way, and yes, we do matter!

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