Me working as a brickie’s labourer, a job I took to raise some quick cash to go snow skiing after university. For four months I worked six days on site and four nights at a pub. Then I skied for two months in the U.S. My hands have never been soft again.
I like work. I am a worker. I have had many jobs in my life. I was in the work force from the age of 13 to the age of 33, 20 years. I worked all kinds of jobs, from a casual Assistant in a Teddy Bear Shop to a full time Bricklayers Labourer. Sometimes I had two or three jobs at once. Only one time did I finish a job without another to go to. That was because I was coming home from a year long working holiday in England as a boarding school housemistress. It was Christmas, so I gave myself 2 weeks holiday, then I got up, put on a dress and some good walking shoes, tucked my resume under my arm and I starting walking. I stopped at every place of work that I walked past and asked for a job. By the time I had walked 1.7km I had a job.
It was as a sales assistant in the heavy building and plumbing section of a hardware store. I worked weekends. For four years, as I put myself through university, I worked in the drive-thru, loading 40kg bags of cement into cars and helping people fix their toilets.
These days I write ‘Wife and Mother’ as my job description. I always put wife first because I have had that job the longest. I’ve signed a lot of employment contracts in my time but the one I’ve held the longest is my marriage contract.
I don’t fool myself. Marriage is work. Being a parent is work. It is not like any other job I’ve ever had. It’s messy, it’s learning on the job and the job description is insane!
Thankfully God has so much encouragement for us when it comes to work, including all the work of being a wife and mother. These are some of the verses that get me out of bed in the mornings and get me into bed with my husband in the evenings!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in forced labor.
All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
For no word from God will ever fail.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
2 Timothy 2:6
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
Knowing verses is important, we can stand on the word of God. It has power, it will convict us not condemn us, but sometimes we condemn ourselves, we condemn others. Even after almost 20 years of freedom in Christ I still catch myself doing it. Just yesterday I had a messy job to do and I found myself thinking, “I suck at this job and my ‘colleagues’ are incompetent!”
I was hanging out on the toilet seat, while my two youngest were in the bath, when my 4 year old screamed, “Isaac’s done a poo!! Isaac’s done a poo!!” simultaneously leapt out of the bath.
Calmly I gave her a towel and said, “It’s ok, you get dry I’ll look after Izy.”
But he did not want to be looked after, he wanted to stay in the bath, so he head butted me on the chin and hit a hard plastic car against my cheek bone. I managed to remove the toy, wrangle him dry, all the while avoiding head butts, and expel him from the bathroom, naked, while I with a very sore face, cleaned up the bath.
Little did I know he wasn’t finished. While I cleaned up one, he pooed in three more rooms. Then he stepped in it and sat in it, and walked it all around. When I emerged there was more screaming, “Isaac’s put poo all over Luca’s mattress!”
Suddenly it was bigger than I could handle. Being the weekend, the words that came out of my mouth were, “And where is your father?”
I grabbed Isaac and looked around, (past the plates still on the dinner table and the kitchen bursting with unwashed dinner pots) for my spouse, my comrade in arms, my work colleague. He was lying down. He had been standing up, but since the commotion began he had gone to lie down to escape and play IPAD with Luca.
I was furious.
I took the squirming, stinky, recently bathed but very unclean again fourteen month old to the change table in the corner of our bedroom, copping blows from his drumsticks on my head all the way.
Naturally, on the change table, he did not stay still, he resisted, and I lost it, I hurled the drumsticks away and I yelled, yes I yelled, for the very first time, at my little baby, “Stop!”
He stopped for about one second and then he cried, got angry at me and the rest of the change was even more impossible than the beginning. Only now I felt ashamed for losing it as well as being angry at my husband for not running to my aid but just laying there and watching me, expressionless, from the bed.
Once I’d finished, I put the baby down and went to clean up all the poo in a huff, then when that was done I went downstairs to pray. I was so angry. No amount of verses I knew to quote to myself were calming me down. I needed God himself. I put my arms up to worship, because that always works best for me, I lifted up my eyes to heaven and I said, “God, What should I do? What should I say to him? He’s going to get up later after I’ve finished all the washing up and put the kids to bed and want to have sex and I’m still going to be angry!” (You know how, if he’s done one bad thing you tend to imagine he’ll do ten more and suddenly he’s the worst husband in the world? That’s how I felt) and do you know what came to me?
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
So that is what I prayed……and prayed….and prayed until I believed it and I could finally stop justifying my actions and ask forgiveness for myself too.
When I got upstairs, my husband had showered from his afternoon working in the garden, shaved his face so he could kiss me later, cleared the table and almost finished the washing up. My son, Luca, asked me gently if I was ok, he never once complained about his bed.
Pretty often this job is too hard for me my on own, and ‘my colleagues’, although they try, are like me, unqualified. But this is what I can do; I can keep lifting my eyes, I can keep lifting my hands, I can keep forgiving, like Jesus forgave his killers on the cross, like Jesus forgave me.
It doesn’t matter how I feel or what my circumstance, nothing is too hard for God. He will….and he does….work all things together for my good.
Be blessed today as you work, lift your arms to the saviour, let the Lord God love you and work all things together for your good.
(This is another post I wrote in my journal a while back. Beautiful Isaac will be three in August and Praise God no longer hits me or head butts me or poos in the bath! Again it is so wonderful to see progress. I encourage you to journal, particularly if you are going through a stage that you are afraid may never end, maybe one day you too can look back and giggle at yourself!)