It was time. . .

    I was tired from all the dog poo clean up the day before; I was tired from cleaning up Annie’s potty accident.  I was tired of cooking, tired of serving, and weary from the manual labor of sweeping, mopping, and straightening up.
      Nevertheless, today called for more mundane work.  It was time to go through lots of messy, cluttered closets and store away winter clothes and pull out spring ones, one size bigger.  The kids have bins of clothes in the attic, and each year it is like shopping for them, to get the next size up that they are used to seeing on their older sibling, or to happily identify what new clothes need to be purchased.
    I sat them all down before we began to have a prayer.  “Lord, we praise you for this small work.  We are about to spend many hours, sorting, folding, laundering, stacking, giving away and throwing away. We are a tiny band of people, and no one will see this humble work.  While the world turns today, and business goes on about us, we will privately be doing this tiny labor that is by most accounts insignificant.  But you, Jesus, are the one who teaches us to embrace our cross, to embrace what looks like senseless failure, like meaningless, forgettable work.  So as we spend this whole day doing our meaningless work, I offer it for all those who will die today around the globe.  There will be people, many people, who breathe their last breath.  Lord, let the work of our hands be preaching to them.  Let them hear the Good News.  Let them be moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit to apologize to those whom they have wronged, to repent of their sins, to trade out pride for humility, to trade out resentment for love.  Lord, preach to their hearts, speak to their inner beings.  Let them, even in a quick moment of silence, have a turning around, a ‘con-versio’–a turning toward the other, heaven-ward direction.  Let them find the grace that makes heaven possible.  Take them all to heaven with you, Lord.  Bring them all to heaven today.  May our hands preach with powerful conviction to even the hardest-hearted of them all.”
     The kids were so happy about the prayer.  I said, “This is homeschooling.  This is schooling, or education, in the Cross.  This is learning how to have the humility of Jesus.”
     Sadly, we were a pitiful, sinful bunch ourselves–not the angelic, sweet-tongued creatures whose feet glided just above the floor from sanctity.  No, there was bickering over whom the slippers belonged to; there were moans and protests that after so many hours, they could not go and play; I felt sorry for myself that my back hurt from carrying so many bins around all day.
      But that is the point: God works through sinners, through broken people, through imperfect people. Who knows what He did with our humble and yet audacious prayer.  Maybe nothing.  Only God has the power to determine.  And maybe our offering was a far cry from what was needed for such a feat.
     But as I struggle through these long days of manual labor, hurting from pregnancy, a pregnancy that is the consequence only of obedience to the church’s teachings and Ron’s and my poor management of them, feeling like I am dying to myself, losing a part of life that might otherwise be fun, easy, or enjoyable, such a prayer is what keeps me breathing, sustains my hope, and keeps my joy alive.