Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Six college-aged girls warily made their way down the creaky wooden steps leading to the basement of a rustic cabin deep in the woods. Rusted iron beds with bare mattresses, each holding a stack of neatly folded sheets, lined one wall. The concrete block walls were painted a drab gray; fitting décor for such a miserable room.
“Well girls, this is your sleeping quarters for the night,” one of the chaperones said as she motioned toward the beds which stood under a single bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Visions of mental institutions portrayed in old movies flooded their minds. A couple of the girls started to tear up, lips quivering as they prayed for a way out. Please, God, one of them whispered under her breath, don’t’ make us sleep here.”
No, this isn’t a scene from the next Freddie Krueger movie. It’s a host home my daughter, Elise, and the girls from her group were to stay for the night. When she told me about it later that evening, I was upset, picturing the scene in my own mind and knowing I’d never sleep a wink in a place like that.
Fortunately, the chaperons decided no one should be asked to stay in such a place. They hustled the girls back
upstairs to find proper sleeping arrangements. My daughter ended up in one of the lofts, lined with hundreds of baby dolls staring at her all night. Needless to say, she didn’t get a good night’s sleep.
Almost every weekend Elise’s gospel group, Joyful Sound, loads up their North Greenville University bus and head towards a new destination, never knowing exactly what to expect. When they have to stay the night, they must rely on the kindness of strangers to house and feed them while they’re away. Most of these homes are pleasant, with welcoming hosts. But some are the stuff horror movies are made of, or at the very least, comedies.
It’s funny how people can change. We once had to stay in a hotel room that was not of my choosing and Elise refused to sit anywhere other than the top of the dresser. She was afraid she’d get some dreaded disease.
Now she stays in homes with rodent problems and doesn’t say a word– literally. Recently they stayed in a home where one of the girls found mouse dropping under her pillow. After running into Elise’s room to discuss what they should do, they decided to keep quiet and not embarrass the host. I couldn’t believe it! I’d have let out a scream that cleared the house.
But, thankfully, my daughter has more tact than I do. Ahem.
As I was pondering all of these adventures Elise has endured over the last two years, I had to admire her willingness to give up her weekends to travel and sing in unlikely places. They usually have one or two concerts on Sunday mornings and another at a different church that evening. Sometimes they even have to work with a church’s youth the Saturday night before. The schedule can be exhausting when you add in the already busy life of a college student.
When I asked Elise how she has the stamina to do all of this in a weekend, she said,”Yeah, it’s a lot of hard work. But when I get up there in front of that church each week it’s all worth it. I love it.”
Her words made me stop and reflect. That sounds a whole lot like motherhood. Taking care of a family can be exhausting, and most days we don’t know what to expect. Sometimes we’re confronted with scary situations where we pray for God’s mercy and protection. Even though it may be difficult to endure the hard work and thanklessness, we persevere. Why? Because it’s all worth it.
The sleepless nights and messy rooms and screaming fits; no, they’re not fun. But they’re necessary. We can’t grow strong families without wading through the daily chaos of life. It’s hard to consistently discipline our children, make sure they eat their vegetables or read that bedtime story one more time. That takes dedication and willpower. We have little people looking to us for boundaries and we can’t let them down. That can be a scary thought.
Elise gets on that bus most weeks and sings because God has called her to spread His Word through music. We love and nurture our families because we have been called by God to the position of motherhood.
No, we aren’t always successful. But that’s ok as long as we don’t give up. Like Joyful Sound, we’ve got to get on the bus every day, ready for the adventure of motherhood. Our kids are counting on us.
Is motherhood wearing you out? Don’t give up! It’ll be worth it 🙂