I hadn’t even pulled the three year old out of her bed before she started asking for things. A certain stuffed animal. Some juice. A banana. The barrage wouldn’t end until we put her to bed that night, and even then, it’d probably continue. She is kind and so funny, but as most three year olds are – needy. Obviously not as needy as the five month old, who has an affinity for being held and a staunch objection to sleep. They’re the light of my life and all I’ve ever wanted, but they drain me. I’m here to say that they drain me and they frustrate me and every once in a while they make me question my decision to become a mother (or have anymore children, if we’re being truly honest). Tonight, after my husband and I spent 10 minutes pulling out the couches in search of our eldest’s favorite figurine so that she could go to sleep, as I sat giving the youngest a bottle after an hour and a half of my boobs not cutting it, this term popped in my head. Holy work. I’ve heard it tossed around in bible studies and podcasts, but I’ve never really dug into it. And therefore, it’s probably never made the impact it really could, you know?
Sometimes I look around at my life and feel so unbelievably fulfilled. I feel thankful and joyful and I can’t believe these three are mine. Other days, I look around and utter an audible “what the f*ck?”, and the only way I keep my head above water is talking out loud to God in the kitchen. But what if, especially on those days, I saw this home as holy ground. What if I saw the sippy cup filling and nursing as actual holy work? How significantly would that change the game? I started to dig into the Bible looking for real words that could speak to this, and landed in Psalm 127.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Warrior. WARRIOR, y’all. These babies are arrows in the hands of their warrior mamas, to be shot into a world full of chaos and brokenness. I don’t know about you, but this changes so much. These little years are tender and formative. These moments of being present and answering all of the “watch this mama”s, they matter. They matter, sister. It’s so easy to feel like you’re drowning and none of this is ever going to add up to anything. But one day in the not too far future, you’re going to have a twenty-five year old, out in the world, being the person you and your partner and Jesus formed them to be. And what got them there will be all of these tiny, seemingly insignificant, holy moments. Your decision to be present. To get up again this morning and make them breakfast, fight through the whining, sacrifice so much of yourself the entire day for their betterment. All of this is the drawing back of your bow, mama. Building up momentum to catapult filled up, Jesus-loving humans out into a world that so desperately needs them.
This is my favorite definition of motherhood as holy work I’ve ever encountered. If you know me, you know I’m not usually one for flowers and rainbows. But a warrior? Yeah. That resonates. I can work with that. So when my baby keeps me up all night tonight, I’ll do my best to lean into this verse rather than fight the desire to go drink half a bottle of wine at 2 am. I’ll fall back on the idea that showing up and giving these babies the best of me, that matters for the kingdom. It all does. You do, mama friend. So c’mere and link arms with me. Let’s get a refill of a coffee and play play doh some more because it awakens some serious creativity in your sweet three year old (why does it have to be so messy, through?) Let’s be in it for the long haul, for the hard days and the really sweet ones, because they’re the only ones we get with these babies. You’ve got this. I’ve got this. They’re lucky to have us, these babies.