I’ve always had this monomaniacal, git ’er done attitude. It comes with being stubborn. True, I never was the most faithful to some of my projects (think unfinished scrapbooks, abandoned novels and—oh, is that load of whites still in the dryer?)—but if I really wanted something, if I really set my heart on it, it would happen.
My mama said I could do anything I wanted to do. And she didn’t mean it as a universal maxim.
Now that my grit and determination has been established, I should be able to launch into a compelling story of a career-driven girl turned homemaker-in-training. But I was won to homemaking at eleven and had no real aspirations beyond the vague goal of being a veterinarian (what girl doesn’t?). To my credit, I did have these big plans of starting a pet store in my bedroom, complete with all sorts of rodents and lagomorphs. I mentioned I was monomanical in my passions. It’s true. I could explain in detail the various illnesses of pet rats, tick off all the dog breeds recognized by the AKC and argue whether or not you’re fit to own a horse. There was a little bit of priority shift from that to homemaking, to say the least.
When I first learned about the idea of daughters training to become full-time mommies and keepers at home, I fell in love with this gigantic, world-impacting, multi-generational vision. I wanted to do something big. This seemed pretty big to me—training the next generation of world-changers, marrying and supporting the next C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther or Ronald Reagan, turning the home into a hub of ministry.
I was hooked.
Being eleven, I still had a pretty wait yet before actually marrying or raising children; I still was trying to figure out long division. (That was ugly.) I latched onto the idea of stay-at-home daughters—namely, supporting my daddy’s vision. Doing something big for him. Something—I don’t know what. But it would be big. Huge.
I asked him—several times, because apparently he didn’t quite share the scope of vision I did—“Daddy, what do you want me to be doing with my time? How can I help you?”
He always answered, “Help your mom out.”
I would make a box of macaroni and cheese that day and wonder why, when he had this passionate, intelligent, on-her-toes-ready daughter, he kept telling me to just help my mom out. Where were the ministry plans? Where was the book deal? Where was the speaking tour schedule?
I could do all that. Not only could I do it, I wanted to do it. I was totally surrendered.
Surrendered, that is, unless it meant learning to do things I wasn’t naturally good it. Boring things. Things like doing the after-dinner dishes on soup day (i.e. an hour of spoons, half-filled bowls and unending torture). Things like keeping on top of my chores so that my mama didn’t have to remind me. Things like getting off my beloved laptop to start up supper.
I hate “duh” moments, but they happen to me all the time. I realized that I was trying to do everything but what God wanted me doing. Here I was pining for the “big things” while ignoring this ministry literally crawling all over my lap (baby sisters, you know). What is ministry but the glorification of God in the context in which He has placed me? Just because the day by day chores and mundane routines didn’t earn accolades and Pulitzer Prizes didn’t mean that it took less passion and vision to faithfully continue in them. In other words, it’s not the “work” itself that defines how much my labor is worth. It’s the Employer.
That’s the life I live right now—nothing big. Nothing huge. But it’s where God wants me to be. It’s where I’m growing the most. It’s where I’m being challenged and stretched and molded into a vision-oriented young woman whose passion isn’t dampened by toddler tantrums and scrubbing toilets.
You know what? I love it. Off on a speaking tour—authoring the next bestseller—doing something “really big”—I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have now to love, learn and live. For me, the passion doesn’t come from the revolutionary aspects of reading poorly rhymed picture books to my baby brother. The passion comes from the fact that I believe God has placed me in my big, noisy family for a reason—His glory.
What I make of that—that’s pretty huge.
By Bailey, Big House in the Little Woods