Monday, December 10, 2018

the worth of her work.

She senses the worth of her work. Proverbs 31:18

I write it in chalk pen on little black chipboard discs that I’ll turn into ornaments for the mamas in my MOPS group. My husband is watching football and I tune out the game, and lean in close over my work, cursive like zen to calm my mind, my pen moving white over black, making little pools of ink in the downstrokes, each letter like a prayer. 

I think of each woman receiving this little gift. May she know the worth of her work, Holy Father. May she hang this little disk on her tree but may she adorn these words across her heart. I stack them one on top of the other and pray for each recipient. I pray for myself. 

May we know the worth of our work. 

This work you’ve called us to, this mothering that is every bit as frustrating and futile as it is holy and sacred, is worthy work. We know it in our heads, but do we know it in our hearts? The work of preparing meals and kissing foreheads and picking up and dropping off and nursing when the rest of the world sleeps. The work of calming tantrums and holding hands across streets and teaching gentle hands. The work of holding on and letting go, steering them faithfully while honoring their own paths. There is value, esteem in it all. 

And not just that, but the unseen work of maintaining a marriage and staying in touch with friends and being kind to in-laws and taking care of our own selves. All of it weighing and tipping, filling us and emptying us. May we see the worth in this burden, holy and hard as it is. 

May we know the worth of shining moments of pride when our children listen well or sleep soundly or the days feel light and easy. But may we also know the truth that there is worth in the hot flush of shame when we’ve lost our patience, when we’ve cried in exhaustion, when we’ve hung our heads in defeat. 

You consider it all worthy work. Even the messes. 

I write it so many times that I pray it like a rosary over each one of us. May we sense the work of our work. May we sense the worth of our work. 

I cross T’s and loop the H and I pray it with a heart beating fast because somehow, in this moment with a chalk pen in hand and a football game murmuring in the other room, I see it all so clearly. The worth isn't in the work, it's in the hands of the worker. Most days I grasp and claw at this truth but tonight, with these little black discs in front of me, stacked on top of each other, I know it deep in my bones and I pray it over each one of us. 

You consider it worthy work because you consider us worthy. 

You see us, mothering with top knots and too much screen time and you see esteemed daughters, not hot messes. You see our best efforts and you see our crash-and-burn failures. 

You see beauty everywhere you look when you look at us. 

You see opportunity in our brokenness. You called us into the work of motherhood to show us your heart. And your heart is the heart of a mother, lifting our chin gently to speak to us and whisper truth that shatters any doubt, “You are beloved to me, daughter. You are doing a wonderful job. You are doing worthy work.” 

As I tie ribbons, I offer it up like a benediction: May we see what you see, Father. In our homes, in our children, in our days, in ourselves. May we feel your love and grace like a warm winter sun. 

May we sense the worth of our work. 

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