(originally written for Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife)
When you’re raised in a family full of big brothers like Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and David, it’s hard not to grow up dreaming of doing grand things for God. What I mean is, having no older brothers of my own to look up to, these Biblical story boys were my childhood heroes. Being a girl and all, I knew I probably wouldn’t be slaying any giants or leading armies into battle. But getting married and having babies seemed grand enough for me, though at the time, I had no idea how grand it really was. I didn’t know what grand meant. I had yet to fully learn the good news of the Bible–how these stories are not about small people becoming grand, but of a grand God becoming small.
In the fullness of time my dreams came to pass. God brought a man into my life, joined us together in the holy estate of marriage, and through the years, blessed us with children. As far as understanding the grandeur–or my delusions thereof–I’m still learning as I go. For everything there is a season. Is this not what wise kings and seasoned women of the world have told us? There is a time to grow and a time to be pruned. A time to bring order and a time to let the messes go and run wild. A time for my children to clean their own rooms and a time when I am free to throw away as I please.
And so it was, I spent the morning crawling around on my hands and knees, digging my way to the bedroom floor. Boyhood treasures intrigued me for hours. My youngest son, a treasure of my own, played on the floor beside me and the trash bag. I’d often pause my excavation to kiss his head, thankful for his quiet presence. YouTube provided some welcome company as generations joined together in Kids Sing Praise, the same songs Grandma used to play years ago while I washed her kitchen floor. I was down on my knees back then as well. Grandma said that’s the only way to really see what you’re doing—when you’re down on your knees.
Those floor-washing years were simpler times. Play was ample and work was nothing that couldn’t be put off til later as long as I didn’t mind a spanking or extra sock-matching here and there. But when the work was done, Grandma noticed, and I could always count on an encouraging, “It looks wonderful, Honey!” upon completion of my task. That was usually enough to get me running down the hall to the bathroom floor, rag-in-hand, for a little more crawling and a few more quarters. These days, the coins from Grandma’s hand no longer reward me, but the memories of that season are still paying off. She taught me to get down on my knees. Lord knows she knew I’d need the lesson.
I’d love to say those humble days of girlhood floor-washing catapulted me to a lifetime love of selfless servanthood. But that is not the way a love story goes. Love is not revealed in the sudden ascent into clouds, but rather discovered in the grueling run and return to the ground. Love is the dutiful doing of deeds unpraised. Love is loving without pay whether it pays off or not–but always hopes and believes that it will. Love is seasons of loving your lot in this life and the sorrows of losing your life for the lot. For the life of me I cannot tell you the last time I washed my kitchen floor. Neither can I number the days, years, and untold tears of crawling around on my knees in the bedrooms.
But God knows each and every one of those things. My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do. He bottles my tears, charms my fears, forgives my fails and unwashed floors. He is not too big for me and I am not too small for Him. The woman on her knees is never hidden from His sight. He is, in fact, there on the floor, crawling around on His knees right beside me. Knowing this—believing this—is enough for me to keep going, to keep crawling when the going feels too grand for me. I take my deeds—my dirty rags—and fall to my knees again and again. The Lord in His mercy hears my prayers. He takes my rags, these seasons of endless love, and counts them worthy for the sake of His Son, my greatest Brother. He begets the strength to get down on the floor, faith to rejoice in the treasures of Heaven, and the joy to go in peace and serve the Lord.