“So what do you do?” The question hung in the air.
“Stay home with my kids,” I finally managed to mumble, feeling half the size I did a moment earlier.
Why did one simple question invoke such a shameful reaction? After all, I loved staying home with my children. And more importantly, I knew it was the best thing for our children. Nevertheless, the reaction remained … for years … each time such a question was asked.
Truth was, I felt insignificant as a “mere” housewife and stay-at-home mom (SAHM).
I thought of all the corporate executives, the biologists (in my field of education), the teachers, the nurses and doctors, even bank tellers and department store workers. While I was sitting home day after day, wiping runny noses, refereeing disagreements, and washing projectile food out of my hair, they were using their education to make a difference in the world. Others depended on them.
How silly were my thoughts. Who are more dependent and needy than our own children? And what mother doesn’t rely on far more knowledge than just the one area they studied in school? To offer 24-hour care to one or several children requires medical skills, some scholastic knowledge in every single subject area, a logistics degree (especially if there are special needs or older children), and an infinite amount of patience.
Nevertheless, the occupation question still often makes me squirm. Perhaps surprisingly, it often makes those who hold full-time, outside-the-home jobs squirm as well. Even after I added “freelance editor and writer and substitute teacher” to my resume, I still ducked my head at the question.
Why? Because I wanted to do something significant … make a BIG difference in a BIG way. And I didn’t feel I was doing that.
This seems to be a problem many of us have. Discontentment with our current positions and experiences. Thinking we should be doing more and influencing more. Perhaps that is the case with some.
Yet, what we fail to realize is that in God’s hands each little thing multiplies and grows. Each sacrifice and offering we give to Him becomes greater than anything we can imagine.
In the Lord’s mysterious ways, our few becomes His abundance … our little becomes His great.
I love this quote by William Bradford (of the Plymouth Plantation pilgrims), which sums up well the importance of little contributions made to the glory of God:
“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all praise.”–Of Plymouth Plantation.
The impact and influence the pilgrims had on future generations is incalculable. Yet they began with a tiny settlement of starving individuals.
Every big impact begins in a small, quiet way.
A crack in the earth can become a canyon with the right conditions. A tiny mustard seed produces a large plant. A microscopic cell becomes a complex reasoning human. A grand pyramid begins with one brick. A great city starts with one house.
So don’t look on your occupation, your contribution, as having little significance. Instead commit it to the glory of God and trust that His grace will magnify it a thousandfold—to be even greater in Him.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12)
Share in the Discussion: Have you ever felt insignificant in your role?
Julie Sunne has been married to her husband, David, for more than 23 years and is a full-time mom to three amazing boys and a precious daughter who has special needs. In her spare time she writes, speaks, and edits. She is passionate about celebrating “the least of these” and living life by faith in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Julie and her family reside in a state park in Northeast Iowa where she posts her thoughts at juliesunne.com. You can also follow Julie on Twitter: @JulieSunne1 and on Facebook: Julie Sunne.