(this post is recycled and slightly re-edited from last November.)
In His incarnation, Christ has knit creation back together and sanctified our flesh, our mundane. He has redeemed for us all the ‘actual textures of physical life’ and granted us the ‘full extent of the mysteries of the incarnation and all that flows from it, and all that make our mortal life fruitful once more.”
“The incarnation took all that properly belongs to our humanity and delivered it back to us, redeemed. All of our inclinations and appetites and capacities and yearnings are purified and gathered up and glorified by Christ. He did not come to thin out human life; He came to set it free. All the dancing and feasting and processing and singing and building and sculpting and baking and merrymaking that belong to us, and that were stolen away into the service of false gods, are returned to us in the gospel.”
You know the list. Laundry, cooking, dishes, schooling, some crafting, a whole lot of reading and even the noble task of rearing young girls in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It’s quite noble work but it’s so easy to despise it. To wish it away while daydreaming about grandiose plans and schemes of lunches with friends, slow workouts followed by lingering visits to the coffee shop.
But my life doesn’t look like that most days.
Most days, I’m here, doing ordinary work, in a never ending cycle.
Washing the same dishes, cooking the same food, teaching the same prepositions and direct objects and fractions.
But today, I choose to relish it.
I hold the laundry tight and inhale extra long and think about the love that is modeled when a woman washes the same clothes over and over, day in, day out—-almost touching something sacred—-this washing and consecrating of materials things for a noble and good purpose. Lingering in the renewal that comes from being clean. My heart aches for that washing too. Perhaps it’s a blessed thing, this daily rhythm of life. We love the grand scale, the best days, the shiny things. The bright newness of God’s blessed restoration.
But what about all those ordinary days? Where is God then?
He always chooses the ordinary things to do his greatest work.
He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
He chose ordinary fishermen.
He comes to us in the most humble of ways.
He gives bread to feed us. Water to wash us. A baby to save us.
He is no despiser of the small days.
It is in them that we see the key to life.
Not in falling in love but in loving everyday, with clean socks and warm soup.
Not in that one blissful day of childbirth but in the birth of each day, one a time, where the daily routine teaches us to depend on our Father, who has made no provision for tomorrow—but only today, in this daily bread.
Perhaps this thing I’ve come to dread—-this daily drudgery—-is in fact my greatest teacher, in disguise.
Teaching me to live in this moment. With these children. And this sacred work. It’s really all there is.
Today is the day of salvation.
So, I hold on tightly to little hands. And I stir the soup. And I fold the towels.
And I say thank you for this work, this calling.
And for this blessed ordinary day—where grace and mercy rain down and turn water into wine, drudgery into vocation, and curse into blessing.
(quotes taken from Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard, first quotation paraphrased and links all to podcasts of Issues Etc.org )
I wish you joy in all of your ordinary days!
And blessed Advent to you.
Thank you for this blessed reminder of how much our love can be expressed in even the mist mundane of daily tasks.
Wishing you a blessed Advent.
Southern Gal says
Always something here I need to read. I’m so glad I’ve come to know you through blogland. Maybe one day we’ll meet in person. Just a warning, though. I’m a hugger. 😉 Off to begin what looks like another ordinary day with a skip in my step and a smile on my face.
Edie this is such animportant lesson and I am so glad you have taught me it! as things start to get busy this time of year, we need to focus on the ordinary and enjoy it! love your words and your heart! I am ready to teach my students today with a new focus on the ordinary! XO
Once again you’ve opened my eyes and made me see the mundane tasks of motherhood, even that Mt. Everest of laundry that awaits me seem so beautiful and blessed. Thanks my friend. I shall roll out of bed now and get at it with a humble heart and a skip in my step. I am SO thankful to have the most devine duty, I only wish all could see it’s rewards.
This post was a gift to me this morning; thank you!
Posts like these nourish and uplift my soul. I want to print this and give it to all the moms I know.
Amy Avery says
This is so beautifully written Edie! It is so important to remeber that the ordinary is where God can be found in each and every day that we live. All we have to do is open or sleepy, tired eyes, and there HE is right in the very things and people and places that make up our day-to-day ordinary lives. Thank you sweet friend for your beautiful heart that shares these words with such grace. xoxo
Thank you. I really needed to read this.
Shawna Ford says
I soooo needed this today. The song, too!
YOU ARE SO RIGHT, IN THE END THAT IS ALL THERE IS. BEAUTIFUL POST.
Alison F. says
What a beautiful reminder that instead of mundane, we work in the miraculous!
Thank you. I listened to the first podcast about the Lord’s Supper and learned some new things. I’ll be listening to more, and re-reading your post too. 🙂
Thanks for the reminder – I really needed to hear this Truth today. The mundane repitition of my daily life does not hold a lot of excitement, but I am exactly where He wants me to be. I am a wife, mother, and home manager and I find that I must pray for contentment and joy daily.
Trudy K says
God bless you Edie!
Beautifully written! So thankful for the way God has gifted you to gracefully come alongside others to gently speak truth and spur us on to love and obey Jesus. I thank God for you!
A very lovely reminder, Edie!
So fitting for this at home mama! Thank you. I am off to sniff some laundry, LOTS of it! 🙂
Julie @ Lilacs & Longhorns says
Thank you for this lesson…I really needed it this week! It is all stuff I know…but to live it is something else entirely.
“Perhaps this thing I’ve come to dread—-this daily drudgery—-is in fact my greatest teacher, in disguise. Teaching me to live in this moment. With these children. And this sacred work. It’s really all there is.”
Hi Edie! I met you at the Circe Conference. My husband Gavin and I were there from Lexington. We enjoyed meeting you so much! Since then, my friend Claire (the one who encouraged me to look for you) and others started a book club. We are using your recommendations. Thank you for that. When I read this post, it reminded me of a book that I think you would really, really like. It’s called The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris. Here is a quote from the book, “It is a paradox of human life that in worship, as in human love, it is in the routine and the everyday that we find the possibilities for the greatest transformation. Both worship and housework often seem perfunctory. And both, by the grace of God, may be anything but.”
It was such a blessing to meet you and Gavin! I’ve thought about you and hope you guys are doing well. I’m definitely going back to the conference this year—the talks have blessed me over and over again and we found our online latin class (which is great) through one of their sponsors. And yes, I have that book. Such a precious gem of a read, too! I need to pull it out and reread it. Loved the quote and thanks for saying hi!
tara lowry says
I have been a stinker of a blog reader lately….
life has had me doing all the ordinary things you’ve mentioned here…
laundry, dishes, the preposition song, the presidents song, the timeline, fractions & decimals, etc……
and some days I sure to despise it, too….but most days…most days my heart is full of thanksgiving.
love to you dear.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THOSE ENCOURAGING WORDS of how Jesus chooses ordinary things to do His work. I really needed that. I’m pregnant with second child, the first is 16 months old. I’m stressed, moody, tired, and i’ve been fighting with my husband off and on all week. We’re not seeing eye to eye these days and while I know that it’s just because of the state we’re currently in….i needed that reminder to see Jesus in what I’ve got, in the small things, and to relish the small things. I’ve missed Him in that.
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