When You’re “Just” at Home

Unfortunately I don’t wake up with an eternal focus. I wake up wanting to go back to bed. So I try to start my day off with Jesus- reading my Bible, praying, trying to refocus my heart and mind into the framework of how He views life. I want my days to matter for eternity and I try to pray, “Lord, use me!” every morning. 

One morning I prayed that and immediately thought, “I’m not going anywhere today so I guess He can’t.”

Did you catch what I said? “I’m not leaving the house so God can’t use me.” God can’t use me inside these four walls with this family. That’s what I thought to myself and sometimes that’s even what I believe. 

Maybe you’ve thought it to. You’ve thought that real life, real ministry, real purpose was found somewhere beyond the walls of your home and the (relatively) few humans that live there. (Although there are times when it feels like they’ve tripled in number, right? Don’t leave me hanging here, mamas.)

One of David’s prayers was that he would “walk within his house with a perfect heart.” Ps. 101:2 states his desire to live a life that honors God and it starts at home. Who we are at home is who we are; we can’t hide there. The ugly comes out because it’s where we are tested beyond any other situation. 

Home is a place where God can use us.  1 Timothy 4:10 gives us a list of accomplishments of the godly older woman. “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.” 

I don’t believe all of that took place at home and it won’t in our lives either. But surely some of it did. She brought up those children at home. For one thing, it’s much simpler to do some of that work (potty-training, anyone?) at home. Necessity also demands it. Little ones need to eat, sleep, and play in a familiar, safe environment. Home is best for most of that. 

Lodging strangers took place at home. I don’t think putting them up in someone else’s house would count. “I’d love to serve you. Please rest over here at my neighbor’s where they can care for you.” At the very least it would involve an exchange of money like in the case of the Good Samaritan. She was out something for this service.

Washing the saints’ feet was an act of service. There were no paved roads and cars in Bible times. It was dirty roads and probably sandals. It was a blessing to enter a home and be able to wash that dirt off your feet before you ate and rested. It makes me think of the countless times we wash little hands and give baths. Relieving the afflicted could be as simple of wiping your child’s head with a cool cloth during a fever. It could be an encouraging word when your husband is discouraged. 

Every good work. Civilization used to be much more home centered. The work was focused at home with a knowledge that the work mattered. There was no social media with likes and shares and follows. There weren’t airplanes that carried people around the world to speak to crowds. There weren’t high-rise buildings with corner offices and raises to earn. 

Life was consumed simply in surviving. Food for this meal followed by some clean laundry and then more food preparation. They didn’t buy already diced veggies from the produce section of Fresh Market. (I don’t either, come to think of it.) Feeding people was a huge work that took most of the day. It exhausts me to simply think about the amount of work that they had to do to just exist. And then these godly older women served others too. Not just their own families but these others- strangers, saints, the afflicted, children (it doesn’t say her own). 

She was a woman that gave of herself sacrificially to serve others. She worked hard to provide what others needed. She served invisibly- in hard work, manual labor, demeaning tasks. 

God can use me, even if it’s “just” at home. Every day that I spend with my children I am shaping them. I am telling them of their value. What do they hear if I say they aren’t part of my real work but simply a distraction from anything that matters? What message do we pass on to our daughters about motherhood if we chafe against the confines of raising small children? And it is confining. There are things that I would love to do that I simply cannot do while I am raising my babies. But I choose this now because it’s time for it; there are seasons of life. Those other things will still be there in five or ten years and my children will not be little. 

Of course God can use us other places. And He does- even if we are mostly at home with small children. I’m not talking about that because few people dispute that. It is hard to remember that God is using us when we are doing life with littles, changing diapers, teaching letters, and tying shoes. 

“Lord, use me!” is still my heart’s cry.  I’m almost to the place that I believe it’s possible- even if I’m “just” at home.