By Brie Gowen
My life hasn’t been the same since my first daughter arrived in 2010. She opened those puffy, slate gray eyes, and as I gazed into them I began to see the world in a different light. With each daughter I added to my brood I became more enlightened to the simple joys you can experience in life. Watching tiny faces explode with excitement on Christmas morning, or the way it felt when a squeaky voice first uttered, “I wuv you, mama.” But aside from the obvious perks of the gig, I also experienced the frustrations. It seemed like as my family grew, my capacity to love grew. But my patience waxed and waned.
Nowhere did I experience more desperation than in the daily grind. It seemed as if the simple tasks I had once taken for granted suddenly became epic elevations to overcome, like getting the laundry done was akin to scaling Mt. Everest. Every action I performed was easily undone, and though it took great effort on my part to have the time to clean up the living room, it took my children very little time to mess it up. It typically seemed as if every job I performed was immediately wrecked by the people that I loved most, and since housework resembled the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day, I found myself gritting my teeth over picking up the same items from the floor day after day, after day.
Sweeping the floor was the worst. Basically if you wanted to sweep just once you’d have to leave the house. Every action performed seemed to almost be an act of futility, and it sometimes made you wonder if the little people you created were secretly plotting to drive you insane.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve always had the tendency to be a grumbler. I’m the woman running around picking up stray socks and abandoned cups muttering under my breath about how I’m the only one who knows how to do anything around here. Anything. What happens is the more I pick up, the more I grumble, and the more put upon and discontent I become.
But the other day I was mopping when I came across a few spatters of dried milk. As I ran the steam mop repeatedly over the stubborn stains I smiled at the thought of my precocious toddler tipping her sippee cup upside down. I smiled and I said, “thank you, Lord.” I ran the mop in the other direction over a second milk drop.
“Thank you for that baby.”
I began to broaden my surface area tackling bits of stuck on dirt, and I prayed, “thank you for my children.”
I watched the dingy floor turn a slick, shiny clean, and with each pass of the mop I thanked the Lord again.
“Thank you for my family.”
“Thank you for my home.”
I just kept on thanking Him, and with each movement of the mop my heart grew lighter, my spirit more elevated, and my mood more appropriate for a woman so supremely blessed as myself. I was actually enjoying the opportunity to scrub up dried food bits, and I figured if I could grin at that then I could do anything. I decided that this was the way to clean after all, and certainly not my typical complaining manner.
Then I thought of something that had happened the day before with my six year old. I had asked her to go retrieve something for her sister. In a typical big sister fashion she had sighed in exasperation and stalked off sulkily. Being the mom I am I referenced scripture, hoping to teach a lesson to my little one.
Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
I had told my daughter she needed to serve her sister in love, and as I stood there mopping the floor for the billionth time I was reminded that I too needed to serve my family in love as if serving the Lord. And even though it was the billionth time I had mopped milk marks and dried dirt clumps off the kitchen floor, when I prayed in a spirit of Thanksgiving it didn’t seem to be all that bad. It was even enjoyable.