By Diane Hwang
Do you ever wonder if what you are doing as a mother is truly significant? While I know the responsibility of raising children is significant, there’s something about the daily tasks of changing dirty diapers, preparing multiple meals, and picking up toys constantly scattered around the house that leave me struggling to find significance in the mundane responsibilities of being a mom.
This feeling of insignificance surfaced recently while walking around the block with my two little ones before dinner time; it was finally sunny in Seattle and I knew some sunshine and fresh air would be good for all of us. As we rounded the block, I noticed a group of well-dressed people having some sort of business meeting on the corner hotel patio and I couldn’t help but think back on my life before children, which included a sales career filled with meetings similar to the one I was witnessing.
As I looked down at my well-loved leggings and smoothie-stained sneakers (Anyone else have an independent toddler who insists on carrying his own very full smoothie?), I was reminded of my ‘barely making it’ mom look and suddenly everything that I had done that day to care for my children seemed rather insignificant compared to what I had tangibly accomplished in my days of managing sales. In that moment, I desperately wanted an opportunity to join that business meeting on that sunny patio to talk sales and prove to myself and others that I’m still capable of doing important work.
Just as my mind started wandering down that rabbit hole of discouragement and comparison, my toddler yelled, “Mama! Mama!” and I snapped out of it and continued on our walk before heading home for our evening routine of dinner, baths, and bedtimes stories.
I honestly didn’t think much about that moment on our walk until a few days later when I was reading Nehemiah. I was working my way through Nehemiah 3, where name after name after name was listed of people who helped rebuild Jerusalem, when I came across a piece of commentary that spoke directly to my struggle to find significance in the mundane responsibilities of being a mom.
The scripture being referenced was Nehemiah 3:15:
“The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallum son of Col-hozeh, the leader of the Mizpah district. He rebuilt it, roofed it, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars. Then he repaired the wall of the pool of Siloam near the king’s garden, and he rebuilt the wall as far as the stairs that descend from the City of David.” (Nehemiah 3:15, NLT)
The commentary, from my She Reads Truth Bible, pointed out that Shallum, who was just another name in a very long list of names in Nehemiah 3, repaired the wall of the pool of Siloam, which happens to be the very same pool where Jesus performed a miracle hundreds of years later as recorded in John 9:
“Then He spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”
But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”
They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”
He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” (John 9:6-11)
As I read this, I realized God was speaking to me about the eternal plan He has for the seemingly routine and tiresome work of motherhood. It may feel monotonous and meaningless as you change another dirty diaper, drive your child to daycare every morning, fold another load of laundry, and/or explain something to your toddler for the hundredth time, but just as God used the ordinary work of Shallum to rebuild the pool where Jesus would give sight to the blind hundreds of years later, God desires to use our everyday work as we build our families to set the stage for His miracles in the lives of generations to come.
I’m thankful for the story of Shallum because God used it to remind me that even when I feel like just another mom doing unnoticed work in a world of people accomplishing important things, my work is noticed and valued by Him. Now, when I walk by those business meetings out on the hotel patio, I find myself smiling instead of comparing because I know my most important work is whatever work God has placed before me today. So wherever God has called you to be in this season of motherhood, whether that’s in the home or in the workplace, know that your ordinary moments in parenting become extraordinary when entrusted into the hands of Jesus.
Diane and her husband have been married for three years and are raising their two small children in the rainy, but beautiful city of Seattle. After years in sales, Diane is enjoying her life as a stay-at-home mom and volunteers at her local church while her husband begins his new career as a police officer. She’s a lover of coffee, fresh mountain air, quality time with family and friends, and the Pacific Northwest. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!