Sometimes life can be mundane. We go about our daily routines not really thinking about the monotony of taking out the dog, washing the dishes, making breakfast, lunch and dinner, sweeping the floors, running errands and grocery shopping. We just do it because it has to get done. The ordinary seems ordinary and sometimes I find myself not stopping to realize how God is working in those circumstances.
I was especially struck when I read some passages from my devotional book "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. The book is broken down into days and on June 15th, I read these words:
'Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet, "Jesus...took a towel and...began to wash the disciples' feet..." John 13:3-5
He goes on to say:
'We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everday tasks. The routine of life is actually God's way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which comes from Him. Don't always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.'
I think I must have been so struck by this devotion because this is just where I am at in life. I've mentioned before some of the awesome opportunities that I've had before to serve the Lord in large ways. Traveling, speaking, helping to run things. In fact, after I was finished with my ministry training, I found it hard to simply go back into the "shadows" of just regular church attendance. I was used to helping set up for services, doing dramas at different parts of the message, helping to host large scale events like week long youth camps and major concerts. To sit back and merely attend church on a Sunday morning was so different for me. Shocking, really. And then bit by bit I was removed even further as I began just a hum-drum job as a cashier at Walmart. There was no longer the ebb and flow and unexpectedness of working in a church atmosphere.
And in that time I began to know the Lord in a different way. As I experienced the different personalities of customers who came through my line, I was challenged to live out a true Christian countanence - especially when faced with rude and nasty customers. I learned how to flesh out a devotion time with the Lord when it wasn't automatically scheduled into my day. Prior to that, it had been on my schedule - it was easy to have devotion time when it's built into your schedule. And now, as I have been a stay-at-home wife for the past few years, and have went about my ordinary life keeping a home, taking care of dogs and honoring my husband, I've come to experience the Lord in a whole new way.
This is a quiet time in my life. A chance to spend time with the Lord in a new way. To experience the rest he so freely wants to give us - 'my yoke is easy and my burden is light'. I've not been involved in active ministry for awhile - my last bit was coleading a high school girls Sunday School class last year. Now I'm learning to sit back and drink in the ordinary. To serve Him as I fold my husbands clothes. To pray a prayer over my hubby as he leaves to provide for our family. To make a conscience effort to thank the Lord for this ramshackle house and praise him for the opportunities to spend an hour reading his Word and studying who He is. I take it as a preparation time for the next thing he wants to do in my life - motherhood. I hope you are preparing too. In the ordinary moments of the day - as you practice obedience in your mundane tasks. As you flesh out being a patient, kind, gentle mother. As you speak words of life and affirmation to your husband. As you care for your home and all that God has entrusted to you. As you do it with a humble heart and a joyful spirit. It's not easy but it's practicing the presence of God in our ordinary lives. Drawing us just a bit closer to who he is and becoming just a bit more of who he wants us to be.
As one of my favorite speakers, teachers and author, Donna Otto says:
"The common begin and the uncommon finish. Go out and have a very uncommon day."