I came across this quote this morning and it make me think a bit about the value of my “quiet life” being a homemaker.
St. Rose of Lima said:
“Know that the greatest service that man can offer to God is to help convert souls.”
Of course, God has no need of anything. He has given us free will so that we can choose to love him. He also works through his creation to accomplish his will. Being an instrument of God to bring about someone else’s highest good is a great honor.
I am the kind of person, as I wrote yesterday, that longs to do something adventurous and dramatic with and for God. But what I don’t want, what would really be a sacrifice for me, is the seemingly irrelevant, quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11) of duty, diapers, serving others dinner day after day, hauling people to 7 on 7 football practices… This is a real pride squasher. This is a real offering to God because there is not much in it for me (my pride, that is). And that is why I continually struggle with this stay-at-home mom thing I do. It doesn’t feel important. It is not recognized or highly regarded by the world. I very often think I should be doing something else to feel better about what I am doing with my life. I also get that impression from some others in my life who love me–that they think I have chosen something beneath me somehow and I could be doing so much more with my life. (Jenny Uebbing recently wrote an article describing her struggle with being primarily a mom that I could relate to.)
Reading the above quote this morning reminded me that (if I can believe it and try to remember it) I am truly offering the greatest service to God by my quiet life of pride-squashing, poop-cleaning service. I am trying to raise my children to be saints–to love God above all else. I am trying to be the kind of Christian that is an argument for my faith instead of against it. I keep looking around for what other grand thing God might be asking of me–surely he wants more of me than this? But, so far, nope–it seems he wants me to learn how to bear other’s burdens, love and serve sacrificially, and do it with no hope of recognition or honor, possibly for a long time. (In other words, this quiet life I am living is just the training I need to cure me of my personal spiritual ills.) To choose it is to offer a great service and sacrifice to God, whom I should love above all things. This is really the best a person could hope for in their earthly work, I suppose–knowing you have made a contribution of eternal significance.
Just a little encouragement for the caretakers out there… You are doing something important raising little saints and serving others in Jesus’s name.