When You Wonder If Your Work Is Worth It

I have this horrible habit. Sometimes when I’m right in the middle of a task, no matter how small, I have to fight to complete it before the overwhelming urge to begin a different one takes over. Sometimes the new task wins.

For instance, I might be standing at my pedestal sink brushing my teeth making sure to reach all the hard places while supervising intently in the mirror. As I’m looking, I’ll notice that my face is looking a bit dry in spots. So I’ll stop mid-brush with my lips pursed around my toothbrush holding it and the runny toothpaste inside so I can moisturize my face because it sounds more fun and exciting than the completion of brushing my teeth at the moment. Then when I feel my face is properly moisturized, I’ll resume brushing.

It happens when I read out loud to my kids too. I can read an entire chapter of The Trumpet of the Swan flawlessly making sure to do all the voices while making a mental shopping list or rehashing a phone conversation in my head.

And it happens when I’m doing things for myself as well. I love to knit and crochet, but I would never venture to make an entire blanket or adult-sized sweater, because I’d die of boredom or by a tragic death of knitting needles to the eye before that would ever happen. But one cold winter’s night three years ago I decided to start knitting a shawl even though I don’t wear shawls and rarely knit projects larger than a hat. But I’d seen this beautiful, yet rustic piece I just had to have on an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford, the show which is set in the 1800’s in two different English villages. I Googled a pattern and ended up with this one because it was exactly the same as the shawl I was drooling over from the show, then set to work because it sounded exciting and new even if I didn’t have the right size needles or yarn. I began anyways because I thought it’d be quaint to wear a shawl around the house on cool mornings and dark evenings while pretending to be Emma Timmons in her bustling cottage with her brood as I went about the day. But after just two sittings, I abandoned the project because I was bored and didn’t realize what a mundane project it would be. Row after stinkin’ row of the same stitch in that brown scratchy wool about did me in.

I’m like the mouse who was given a cookie and the moose given a muffin. I might have even looked up the symptoms of ADD in adults just now. I’ve often wondered. But I have a feeling it’s something more than that.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

Ah, discipline. The word that hurts so good.

Maybe it’s natural to want to move on from repetitive things, but it’s maddening, you know? Because who wants to live in fast forward? I don’t know about you, but I want to be in the here. Today. Fully present in the moment. Disciplined.

Plus, what if God is trying to do a quiet work within me, within us, in those moments we’re desperate to push past? It seems as though He often does His most beautiful work in the unlikeliest of places. When the toddler is throwing a fit in the bath. Or when the driver in front of us won’t go over 35 mph and it’s making us late to gymnastics.

As you and I both know, the work of being a mom is full of repetitive task after repetitive task. Some enjoyable, some not as much. Diapers, meals, dishes, bedtimes, clipping toenails, school work, discipline, and the washing of clothes, countertops, and squirmy bodies. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be thankful for the ability and means to do these tasks, no matter how repetitive, it’s just to say that repetition can feel so useless sometimes. Like are we ever going to get anywhere good with all of this?

You see, we are getting somewhere. We’re growing and nurturing people. That’s heavily important and good work. But the thing is that we do visible work on earth for an invisible reward in heaven. A reward that can’t be taken from us and doesn’t have to be shared with anyone. But it’s a reward we’ll have to wait for. Sure, there are an abundance of blessings here, but nothing — I mean nothing compares to what is to come.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Those mundane parts of life just became a whole lot more important, didn’t they? Are we willing to be mothers who do visible work for an invisible, but ultimate reward that lasts an eternity? It sounds worth it to me. Incredibly worth it.


In what ways do you need to look past the temporary and into an eternal mindset in your mothering?

Amanda Bacon

Amanda Bacon

Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of eight kids and has been married for sixteen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an adoption advocate and encouraging voice for moms everywhere.
Amanda Bacon

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