I recently subscribed to a FB page named “A Mighty Girl.” The webpage it represents pays homage to notable females, both current and historic. Thus, throughout the week brief biographical vignettes about notable women will appear on my news feed. I enjoy reading these little biopics, and it helps me look forward to the day when Meg will start to develop a personality that I can help her steward. Even now, I look at her and hope that she will do great things. That she’ll have an inquiring mind, a creative spirit, a solid work ethic….well, you get the idea.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing enough as her mother. Will she want to follow my example? Will she think of me as an admirable role model? This leads me to the question: is my life worth copying? Maybe not in the specifics, but in my general attitudes and values?
Obviously, I’m way ahead of myself here, since Meg is just rounding the corner on her first year of existence : ) Still (and I’m sure that I’m not alone in this) I often sit back and wonder if I should have tried to do/be/achieve something more. To be an Elisabeth Elliot, Amelia Earhart, Anne Sullivan, Amy Carmichael, Eleanor Roosevelt or Dorothy Sayers—women who were bold, brave, smart and determined. Women who made a mark on the world (even if it was just the “christian” world). Should I have tried harder to do something note-worthy or culturally significant?
These thoughts were running through my head while I cleaned today. There was a playlist of Christmas carols playing in the background and, as I mused and cleaned and cleaned and mused, the lyrics of one song suddenly broke through the fog of this repetitious process.
“Mary did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb? That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM.”
And the thought flitted through my head that Jesus’s mother is one of the greatest women in all of history. A woman who found favor with God, she was blessed among all women. Talk about a role model!
But then, with a dripping sponge in one hand and dish soap in the other, it suddenly dawned on me that Mary never did anything ground-breaking or awe-inspiring (from a human perspective). It’s clear that she was well acquainted with the scriptures and that when given a task by God, she willingly accepted the role (Luke 1:26-38). But beyond this specific instance of faithfulness, we aren’t given any other acts of spiritual magnitude that would cause her to stand out in God’s eyes. Apparently, she lived an unassuming life. I mean, unlike her venerable counterpart in proverbs thirty-one, she didn’t even go around buying fields, weaving purple cloth, or managing a household of servants. And beyond her social and cultural insignificance, the bible also doesn’t indicate that Mary became a pillar of the fledgling church after Pentecost. Unlike Dorcas the humanitarian, Lydia the savy business woman and host to the church at Philippi, Peter’s mother-in-law the perfect host, Pricilla the brainy co-teacher, or Phoebe the wealthy patron, deaconess and courier for Paul’s letter to the Roman church, Mary isn’t given any descriptive qualifications which would lead us to consider her as anything more than a faithful wife, mother and believer in the gospel of her son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:46-55).
So I went back to washing dishes. And as I washed I reminded myself that God delights in our faithfulness more than in our achievements. This doesn’t devalue achievements made, but it places those achievements in their proper place. I want my daughter to be faithful, wherever God leads her to go and with whatever gifts and abilities he grants to her. And if that means living in an average, suburban home and throwing herself into the task of raising toddlers (complete with monotonous household tasks), well, at least I am confident that she is in the very best of spiritual company.
For me, this truth means that I can model Mary myself. When life gets tedious and it seems as though I am a nobody in the grand scheme of things, I can remember that God sees my heart. And a faithful, joyful, obedient heart is worth more to God than all the advancements and accolades that any one woman can amass. This should be an encouragement to all gospel-believing women everywhere. Your faithfulness in whatever task God has given to you, is valued. So trust God and serve him, even if you don’t understand, or particularly like, the task that he sets before you. Someday God will delightedly greet all of us with the same praise. “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21).
So I will strive for a faithful heart and I will make it my goal to teach this truth to my daughter….though, she still might one day cure cancer or run the country. We’ll see ; )