Ever wonder what that phrase means, when it is used in Ecclesiastes 3:11? I have wondered, because there are many, many days when mommying 12 kids is anything BUT attractive. I mean, “WHY?” has become my most-oft-repeated question, three year old style. The boys come in crying because dirt got in their eyes. Turns out a dirt clod war is in progress. I clean up the injured party, he goes back outside, clocks his big brother in the back with another clod, receives return fire, and comes in crying again. “WHY?”
I entered the bathroom the other night and nearly screamed. Toothpaste adorned the mirror… the walls… the tub… the toilet seat… the floor. “WHY??”
I was scoring tests and the answers on one led me to believe that the child submitting said test had not even read the directions, let alone put any thought into the answers. Called the guilty party over, issued verbal correction, handed them the test to do over. When it was turned back in, the answers were erased and changed… but still incorrect. The method of test taking had NOT changed. Issued sterner and stiffer correction. Tears and howling ensued. Test comes back somewhat corrected… somewhat. Half still was obviously skipped and/or ignored. “WHY???”
Well, this past Sunday my consternation with that particular passage of Scripture was eased. ‘Beautiful’, the pastor explained, doesn’t mean ‘attractive’… in this context. It means ‘appropriate to its time and place’. Aha. Suddenly, dirt clod wars make sense. Sin nature rears its ugly head in my boys when, outmanned and outgunned, the desire for revenge prods the little one to attempt retaliation- and big brother thinks he’s still playing. Beautiful. Makes perfect sense.
The toothpaste smeared on mirrors and walls was the product of a small person exploring texture and cause and effect. Beautiful- he is learning his world. Also learning how to apply a wet cleaning rag to fix the results of his exploration. Definitely appropriate to its time and place.
The howls and tears and corrections of the test taker were the medium through which a character flaw (laziness) was able to be addressed. Painful? Yes. But also beautiful. We are able to address a habit before it costs someone their grade or their job or their marriage. So very good in THIS time and place.
Mamas, the days with little ones are long. They are draining. They are frustrating. Your “WHY?” may not only be about the messes, but: WHY am I not doing something grand and significant with my life? WHY am I wasting my time and talents with small people who obviously don’t appreciate them?
There was a comment that Jesus made that I take comfort from. He said that whoever is faithful with the small, insignificant things will be trusted with the great and important things. But whoever is not faithful with the small things- even what he has will be taken from him and given to one more responsible. (Matt. 25:29) These crazy, insignificant days are the arena in which we prove our greatness. Our most formidable enemy is ourselves; the temptation to look for importance in grandeur, not in faithfulness. So battle on, brave mamas. These days are more significant than you know. They are ‘beautiful’ days.