It’s the 6th time through If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, the 5th diaper change, the 4th fight you’ve broken up, the 3rd load of laundry, still 2 hours until your husband gets home, and the one thing that seems to be a constant is your children’s bad attitude! For those of us in this season of life, spiritual growth can seem like a noble but distant aspiration. We would love to grow… if we could just get a moment of peace and quiet!
What About This Season of Life?
Many of us desire to “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), but find ourselves wishing for different circumstances. Particularly in the routine-driven role of a wife and mother, it can be tempting to wish for “grander trials” in which to acquire and display the fruit of the Spirit. We might imagine a career where we upheld our integrity in the midst of workplace persecution. Surely there we would grow in faithfulness and self-control! Or, if only we were a foreign missionary, then we would really learn to love through the sacrifice of comforts and convenience. Or, if only we could beat the odds and overcome a debilitating disease — certainly that would produce fruit, right?
But here we are, playing the same supporting role over and over again, and often with no audience but One. We’re folding the same clothes, scrubbing the same counters, teaching our kids the same lessons, fixing the same dinners, and struggling with the same thoughts: Does this matter? How can I honor the Lord in this? Am I in the right place for spiritual growth? …Can I really please God and clean the kitchen?
Does God Have a Plan for Our Everyday Trials?
You can breathe a sigh, because the answer is “Yes!” The Bible teaches that God uses trials to test our faith and produce Christlike character (James 1:2-4, Romans 8:29, Romans 5:4). Because the Lord is intimately involved with our sanctification, we can be confident that whatever season we are in is sufficient for His plan for our growth in godliness. What a burden lifted!
Thankfully, we don’t need to finish the “to do” list in order to finally move on to spiritual growth; pleasing God isn’t just on the other side of the dirty dishes! If you are a wife and mother, this is the stage. Everyday trials are part of God’s plan for our sanctification. Rather than lament our repetitive tasks, we can rejoice in the knowledge that God has already incorporated our spiritual growth into our busy day.
With each trial, however mundane or difficult, we have an opportunity to choose to walk by the Spirit. We can learn to respond to conflict with gentleness and self-control. We can choose to think on what is loving and what will promote peace. And, of course, we can practice patience, remembering that God is at work in our husband and children as well.
God wants to use this season of our lives to transform us into the image of His Son, and with each and every trial we have a choice: to respond in the flesh or to walk by the Spirit.
Let’s embrace God’s plan for us and make the most of this busy season!