It always catches him off-guard.  I’m a morning person and an introvert, so I do my best thinking and processing before the troops and the sun rise.  Matt is the exact opposite.  Of course.

Matt remains mostly-asleep until approximately lunchtime and is at his prime at 11pm.  I’m dead to the world at 9pm and wanting to chat about racial reconciliation and adoption ethics and the Syrian refugee crisis while the moon’s still up.  And I do.  So many mornings, I’ll march up to my almost-entirely-asleep husband, my second (or my third. stop judging.) cup of coffee in hand, to unload all of my early morning feelings.  Because not only did he marry an annoyingly chipper morning bird, but he married one with so. many. feelings.  Bless his heart.

So, it came as zero surprise to him when he came downstairs a few mornings ago to find me on the couch, Bible open, coffee cup in-hand, and tears on my cheeks.  I cast him a sheepish look because (1) I knew he wasn’t ready for this so early in the morn’ and (2) I also knew he’s too good of a man to hustle out the door for work while I was likely in the process of trying to solve the world’s biggest problems before sunrise.  Again.

“I don’t even know what to do with myself,” I blurted out.  “I feel like God filled me with so many passions.  I feel like I’m finally figuring out some of my giftings and abilities and callings.  I want to serve the unloved and the marginalized.  But here I am.  Shuttling kids around all the live-long day.”

I continued to emote.  (Y’all, I can emote.  Clearly, that is not AT ALL evident on this blog.  Clearly.)  I emoted about how I feel like my passions are being wasted these days.  How I still mourn having to leave my old job where I felt like I was actually doing something of significance.  Something that mattered.  Something that I loved.

While emoting, I may have said the words, “I feel like I’m going to explode.”  (Okay, so I actually did say those words.  I’m telling you- SO MANY PRE-DAWN FEELINGS.)  “Like all of my passion is just going to explode out of me and is going to be wasted.  Because all of my time and bandwidth and everything goes straight to our kids.”

Poor half-asleep, uncaffeinated husband of mine just stared at me for a minute.  Probably because we had been here before, and he knew that I already knew the answer to my own early-morning internal drama.  Also, because of the whole morning thing.  But he rallied.  And he prayed.  And he reminded me, “Catherine, God wants his kingdom to advance more than you do.  He’s going to use you.  He IS using you.”

Ugh, I married a good man.

It’s so bizarre how we moms completely invalidate the ministry that God has set before us.  How I look right past the little lives I’m pouring into day and night and ask, “God, when’s it MY turn?  Here I am!  Use me!”  Somehow, I have bought into the lie that “being used” and doing great things for God involves all things big and flashy.  Going overseas.  Launching a non-profit.  Writing a book.  Being right up-front and center.

When I’m pushing back against the good and holy work the Lord has sovereignly appointed me to do or when I bemoan my current season or circumstances because I’m just not able to get out there and “do ministry”, I am completely in the wrong.  When I diminish what God has me doing in his name, it begs the question: am I really doing it in His name at all?

Moms, let’s stop negating the value of the work that God has set right on our laps.  Let’s keep reminding ourselves that God didn’t put the fire in our bellies and passion in our hearts for naught.  Let’s really believe that, with palms up and motives pure, He will use us mightily.

It’s just that sometimes, the ministry he has for us looks a lot like the children living right under our roofs.  And sometimes the marginalized just happen to be their classmates sitting right beside them at school.  When I hear my child mention that he invited “that boy who doesn’t speak English” to join him at recess, I am reminded that, yes, this work matters.

When my daughter is tantruming for the seventeenth time this morning, and I want to throw a tantrum right there beside her.  But instead, I pull myself together, wrap her in a bear-hug and whisper truth upon truth into her ears, I remember that this work is good.

And when I lose my cool, roll my eyes, exhale an exaggerated sigh, and snap at my kids, I am reminded that I am saved by His grace alone.  When a day is punctuated with apologies and forgiveness, our gaze is shifted back up to Jesus.  All of this- the good and the bad- it matters.

So moms, let’s steward what He’s given us well.  Let’s just agree to toss out all of our preconceived notions of what it looks like to live a life that matters.   Meanwhile, let’s do good with whatever sphere of influence, large or small, He has entrusted to us.  May we speak truth over one another until we’re breathless.  Give of ourselves ’till it hurts, whether it’s in our homes or in the slums of Nairobi.  Raise up a generation of brave sons and strong daughters who love Jesus with reckless abandon and whose God-given passions and abilities DO explode right into whatever platform the Lord gives them.

My friends, let’s carry on about our days as if these days matter in an eternally-important kind of way.  Because nothing could be more true.