God’s Goodness in the Ordinary

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by Natalie Kliewer

Scrambled eggs, crunchy bacon, fingers laced around a mug of piping hot lukewarm coffee – another ordinary, slow morning. Predictability sizzling in the skillet, the air smells like déjà vu. This isn’t the first morning I have sat here in these pajamas, watching my husband flip pancakes, listening to our son ramble on about caterpillars and butterflies, constantly eyeing my daughter to make sure she isn’t eating too fast.

It is exceptionally beautiful and yet the splendor is often overlooked; the mundane feels like it is lacking grand, new adventure. Normalcy isn’t near as exciting or shiny as the spontaneous surprise.

Maybe you’re like me. There have been moments…days…seasons where you have felt unseen. Within the walls of your home you are putting away dishes for the hundredth time, refereeing sibling squabbles, kneeling down to wipe crumbs. Outside your home you are sending what feels like the hundredth email, navigating rush hour traffic, or impatiently sitting through another drawn out work meeting. Mundane tasks, constant work, tiring repetition…what if we stopped to realize that the unseen work in our lives is still sacred and holy work that God has called us to for His purpose?

In Philippians 4:11 Paul writes “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” What stands out to me most about this passage are the two words, “whatever situation.” This means whether I am a tired mother tripping over another Hot Wheel car, a working parent balancing the demands of work and home life, or a single parent navigating a season of loss and disappointment…whatever my situation.

When Paul wrote these words he was imprisoned for sharing the gospel, chained, and most likely experiencing a great deal of pain and suffering. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a season where contentment came easy.

Instead of giving in to my sinful desire of discontentment, apathy, or grumbling, it is my daily prayer that I may see God’s goodness in the ordinary. I pray that by His grace, I will be able to demonstrate His love through whatever He gives me each day. I pray for an eternal focus, even during the humdrum moments of life.

During this season of parenthood, I am praying that the Holy Spirit will steady my focus. Friends, I hope my daily struggles will challenge you as well. May we be parents who smother peanut butter and jelly along with smothered prayers for the little mouths who will devour it in two seconds. May we remember that the diapers we change are that of little unbelievers who are observing us constantly (even when we are tired at 3am). May we sit with our kids on the porch and sip a glass of lemonade through a straw of thankfulness. May we sacrifice our alone time to be present after a long day at the office. May we choose over and over again to serve those in our family for the glory of God. Amidst the busyness of parenthood, let’s slow down our hearts and act with purpose…even when it feels like our work is monotonous and unseen.

The big moments of life are grand, but the richness of life seeps in from the cracks of the ordinary. The only true answer for contentment and peace comes from our loving Father. Cling to the gospel, embrace an attitude of prayer, and rejoice always – whatever your situation.

So many of the big lessons in our life are not radically learned overnight; God refines us in the simple and small moments, day in and out. One day I want to look back. One day I want to tell my kids about God’s goodness in my life, to show them that He has a purpose in the beauty, the hardships, my shattered dreams, and even the ordinary day-to-day. I want them to know that motherhood was one of God’s greatest gifts to me. I will celebrate the simple, mundane moments of motherhood because by His grace, it is radically changing me.

These are the days where dishes pile higher, and laundry multiplies like rabbits.

These are the days of snotty noses, slides, and bike rides.

These are the days of choosing to start, even when you are behind; a surrender to self, an embrace with humility.

These are the days of trying to blend the water and oil, Mary’s heart and Martha’s servanthood.

These are the days we fail. By God’s grace, these are the days we succeed.

These are the days we recite the mantra once again…

Rejoice always.

Grace abounds.

Goodness exists.

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