Ever since I claimed the role of a writer and the domain name of my website, I felt purposeful with the work I got to do.
I’m a mom with two young children without any childcare. My husband just started his own business. Time is tight as well as space since we live in a 60 sqm apartment in downtown Geneva, Switzerland. Nevertheless, we try our best to maximize what we have and honor God’s assignments for us in this season.
With my husband’s help watching the kids, I block eight hours a week to work. For now, I mainly work on the weekly blog post, and if I have margin, the Instagram content too. Though no one is paying me for my work, I treat it as a real job. I try my best to block out the distractions and show up at my desk when it’s time to work. You’ve got to start somewhere if you want to go anywhere, right? Besides, I genuinely love what I do and come alive in the process. It’s also an enjoyable learning experience that requires me to read more books, learn the writings of others, learn online marketing tricks, social media tools, and so much more.
Has it been easy? Nope. Neither is life with a toddler and a baby. How do you fit in nicely with the quality work, taking care of the kids, cooking healthy delicious meals, cleaning the apartment, nourishing your marriage, and self-care? If there were a formula, I’d buy it. But of course, there isn’t. It looks different for each of us because we all have a unique story. However, if we want to reign in life instead of just letting life keep happening to us, we’ve got to do some inside work that’s possibly harder than the 9 to 5 job.
Last night, our seven-month-old daughter woke up four times, including a feeding around 2:00 am. I had set my alarm at 6:30, planning to start my next working morning afresh. However, at 5:30, Esther woke up again, crying none-stop. We didn’t want her to disturb Caleb, who was sleeping at the top bunk bed, so my husband took her out to sleep in her stroller. Right after they left the room, Caleb woke up and cried about going to the living room. Thankfully I managed to calm him down and persuaded him to stay in his bed until later.
Then, I lay in my bed, feeling defeated. It’s been three nights in a roll that Esther would wake up multiple times during the night. I was hoping to get a decent sleep for a clear mind for the work the next morning. Now I was so tired and frustrated. I asked God, “Why does it have to be so hard? Wouldn’t it be nicer if we had a bigger apartment with more rooms so that Caleb wouldn’t be woken up by his baby sister? Is this the best You have for us? Is this really the promised abundant life? I don’t understand.”
I wasn’t in my best attitude before the Creator of the Universe. But He wasn’t mad about it, I believe. Instead of answering my questions, in His kindness, He gave me some understanding.
I crave more time and space for work and family life, which I deeply love. I want both of them to grow and thrive. However, it feels like we are a plant in a nursery pot, limited in resource and space. It’s tempting to think that life will be better if we have more. But will it, really? Will the “more” give us more Life? If that’s what I believe, I’m fooled because the truth is God is the only source and giver of Life. Jesus has promised to give those who believe in Him abundant Life. If I’m feeling otherwise right now, it only means my perspective needs to be renewed.
Our nursery pot is also a training ground for us to learn to hold on tight that which is real Life. If we fail to see it and fail to hold on to Life now, we won’t grow even if we are put in a bigger pot with more soil. God is the only source of Life. He is our kind Father and proficient Gardener who knows where to place a plant of a kind. What’s more, He makes the plant grow.
I felt relaxed in mind meditating on this fresh understanding and fell into a deep sleep. The whole family eventually woke up again at 8:00 am, and that’s ok. I’ve done some critical work already earlier this morning, through my wrestling with God. And I felt restored and energized by the extra hours’ sleep. Thank God!
I have come to understand better that the perceived work which serves our audience, whether it’s a blog post, a podcast episode, a design project, or a purposeful activity with kids, is just a small part of the work we are called to do. Much more hard work takes place behind the scenes. It takes place in our hearts and mind when we are confronted with discontentment and frustration.
However, when we come out of the wrestling through the choice of trust and surrender, being thankful for what we have, flowing creativity, productivity, and more Life often await at the other side.
Dear reader, what do you need to work on today? Know that I don’t only mean the work of your hands, but more importantly, the work of your heart. I pray that the Lord will show you clearly and give you great peace as you willingly take part in His beautiful work.