Tonight after a day of high school classes for my sons, and a day of work as a nurse in acute rehab I wanted to veg out, and so did they. I had homework (only one calss left for my BSN!), they had finished theirs. By the time I finished my required essay, I was ready to enjoy my glass of wine and do nothing but relax. My boys wanted to watch the rest of Black Panther and I was tempted to let them.
But in the shower these words came to mind:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
In a brief exchange of prayer, I argued with the Holy Spirit, Psalm 127 coming to mind, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord , the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalms 127:1,3). But even as the passage went through my head, I hear the words of Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
“I know you’re tired Sheila. But it’s the very fact that all your labor is in vain unless I build, unless I grant life (even your children’s), that you should labor. I am building the house. Your labor is not in vain.”
In a rare exchange of intimate prayer (most of my prayers are more like drowning Peter’s, “Help Lord!”) I responded, the words of the Psalmist bubbling up in my heart:
Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalms 90:16-17
“Establish the work of my hands Lord! Establish the work of my hands to impress the gospel upon my children’s hearts! Establish the work of my hands to be a witness of the good news of Christ to my husband! Establish the work of my hands!”
I got out of the shower and pulled the Tim Keller book I was planning to return to the library without ever reading out of my bag, “Making Sense of God- An Invitation to the Skeptical.”
“Hey guys,” I called to the two young men of my womb laying on the couch watching Black Panther, “I want to read to you for awhile.”
“Oh mom, come on, really?! Read what? I want to watch this…” they challenged.
My tired body didn’t want to resist. I wanted to give up and go to bed. But the promises of God assured me, any effort I put into impressing the hope of Christ on my kids would not be in vain.
So tonight, we read the intro of Making Sense of God, and had a short discussion.
Tired mom, don’t give up on pressing into raising your children in the nurture and teaching of the gospel of Christ. Work! Your labor is not in vain. God is buildng his house. May he establish the work of our hands.