Meaning in the Mundane

There was this mom… and like many moms, she was tired.  O so tired: tired of breaking up the fights, tired of “connecting” like the good parenting advice says to do, tired of tucking in and saying goodnight, tired of getting the food on the table.  Very tired, tired of being mom.
Day after day left her with feelings of defeat, worthlessness, like life was on meaningless repeat.  But she kept on and did the next thing.  She broke up the next fight, put on the next shoe, and made the next sandwich, all the while fighting for breath, for meaning in the mundane.

On one of those very mundane days, her son took the lunch that she had very mundanely packed, and set off for his day.  The mom went on with her day, wondering what she needed to do.  And not what she needed to do in the task sense of the word.  There was plenty to do: laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc.  But what she needed to do in the purpose sense of the word.  What could she do that brought purpose to her life? This mothering thing wasn’t really cutting it.  What it felt like was a bunch of little nothing tasks all pulled together to form a day, then a week, then a year, until life felt like a mass of little nothing tasks.

Then her boy came home.  Something had happened.  He was home much later than usual and he was dazed.  “Are you ok? What happened?” The mom asked.

The boy proceeded to tell the mom about a man who had taken his lunch.  “He took it and made enough for everyone, the whole town, mom.  I don’t know why I even offered him my lunch.  I had followed the crowd which was following this man.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  But then it began to get late and people needed to go home for food, but no one wanted to leave.  So they were looking for a way to feed all the people, over 5,000 of them.  So I offered my lunch.  I knew it wasn’t much, but this man, mom, he gave thanks and began to pass out my lunch, my small lunch, and it kept going and going and going.  Everyone ate and was full.  There were even leftovers! His name was Jesus.”

This lunch felt small.  It felt small to the boy, humbly offering it to the men and it felt even smaller to the mom, one of thousands of lunches she had prepared.  It felt not worth the effort, like another meaningless task on top of all the others.

But it wasn’t what was given that was important, but who it was given to.

In Jesus’ hands, the offering is more than enough, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.  In faith, the small offering becomes great.  Just like the widow’s offering in Mark 12, or the meager lunch of 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread from John 6.

While this rendering featuring the mom is fictionalized, there was a real mom to that boy from John 6. A real mom who may have felt the very way we oftentimes feel as parents, especially of little ones: tired, depleted, mundane, like all of our efforts are for nothing, as if our efforts are purposeless.

However, purpose lies not in what you do, but rather in who it is done for.  In the hands of our Father, our parenting mishaps, successes, and ordinary tasks are all redeemed for good and his glory, they all have purpose.  Not that we should not strive for success, but rather we shouldn’t be crushed by our failures or by the commonplace events of the everyday.  God has each and every one of us in our specific roles for specific reasons.  So whether he has called us to stay at home with kids, work full-time, do overseas missions, live in the inter-city, live in the country, start a ministry, serve our spouse, homeschool, whatever it is, if He has called you to it, then it has a magnificent purpose in his kingdom because it has His name on it.

If you find yourself caught in the whirlwind of what seems like meaninglessness, remember who has put you there and how He has a purpose in every little thing.

The Lord has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of disaster. (Proverbs 16:4)

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17)

But I have spared you for a purpose – to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth. (Exodus 9:16)

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Christina Leonhardi

Christina Leonhardi lives in Lewisville, TX with her husband James. She is a stay-at-home mom to their four kids, all under five years old. She loves the Lord with her whole heart and desires to help others, and herself, grow in a deeper love of the Lord. She writes about her family's life at her blog: Life with the Leonhardis.