I’ve been debating for a few weeks now whether or not to post this answered prayer.  It is not so obvious an answer as some of my previous posts but it was very real to me.  I’ve got a few other more dramatic stories but this is the one that is nagging at me begging to be written.  I’m going to assume that it is a God-thing and go with it.  So, at the risk of being dismissed as silly or psycho-analyzed as (fill-in-the blank), here goes.

I was knee-deep in the early child-rearing years.  I worked part-time from home to supplement my husband’s income but for the most part I was a stay-at-home mom.  My days mostly consisted of wiping up boogers, poop and spills, kissing boo-boos, picking up toys, refereeing fights, locking myself in the bathroom for five minutes of “me” time, dispensing snacks, and trying to have a nutritious dinner on the table at a reasonable time, like before 9 PM.   When John would come through the door around 6 PM, it took monumental self-restraint not to pass him the teary child in my arms like a pro quarterback and go running for the nearest exit until well after bed-time.

The life of a stay-at-home mom can be incredibly exhausting.  It isn’t as much a physical exhaustion as it is an emotional one.  You are on 24/7/365, expected to be bright, cheerful and ready to tackle any problem head on with the patience of Gandhi.  But even more than exhausting, it can feel unbelievably insignificant.  As you say to your child “sure honey I’d love to play Candyland with you (…..again……for the 3rd time today)” it is easy to wonder if this is all there is.  Boredom sets in and cements into your heart with a leaden feeling of purposelessness.  Mundane defines your life and threatens to define you.

This is the place I was at, feeling small and invisible, insignificant, that day in the car.  I don’t remember how it came to be, but I was actually alone in the car, a rare luxury for a stay-at-home mom.  As is my habit, I use those alone times to gather my thoughts.  Sometimes I consciously bring those thoughts to God.  My conversation with Him that day went something like this:  “God, isn’t there something I can be doing for You?  I mean, I don’t really have the ability to participate in much, actually probably nothing, but, well, isn’t there SOMETHING?”.  I wanted to feel useful, more than just needed.  I wanted to know that my life mattered.

Most often, my prayers are met with silence.  Sometimes, I will later on come across a scripture that speaks directly to me.  This time, God knocked my socks off by showing up in the car.  No, He did not physically appear in the passenger seat and start talking to me.  Instead, I felt enveloped by a presence that threatened to suffocate me with love.  Like the biggest, deepest hug you’ve ever felt in your life from the person who loves you most.  There are no words to adequately describe what it was like.  I was reduced in an instant to a little girl.  My heart was brought to the surface and tenderly but vulnerably laid open. 

As I basked in this overwhelming presence, a picture of my husband and children formed in my mind.  Then I heard a voice speak these words.  It wasn’t physically audible, but it might as well have been.  “This is your ministry.  Do not underestimate it.”   That’s when the tears spilled out uncontrollably.  A peace I hadn’t felt for years settled in and soothed my soul.  I was right where God wanted me to be, only now I knew it. 

It was simultaneously one of the most frightening and one of the most comforting experiences I have ever had.  And the best part about it?  I know that my life matters.  God said so.

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