“I want to see Jesus now,” my little children declare. “I want to see him too,” I answer. Sometimes I wonder if they think they will see Jesus in person if they just ask enough. In this, my children experience a tension of the Christian life: contentment and eagerness.
In life and motherhood, this tension is hard to hold. Sometimes we’re discontent because we think our work should be easier. We want it to involve fewer tears and more sleep. Bear more visible fruit until it looks more successful than the work of other moms. But another type of discontentment is actually our eagerness for heaven. We want to be home—we want to see Jesus face to face. We want to know that our children will be there with him, with us. We want peace that none of our daily labor is done in vain. And we want it all now. Our eagerness is good, but it can turn our eyes from trusting God today.
Can we trust God and be content in the life we have today while eagerly looking forward to heaven?
Contentment and Eagerness Meet at the Cross
Contentment and eagerness are two sides of the same coin.
Think about it this way—while you’re running a race, you experience many uncomfortable things—sweat, pain, tiredness. But you keep running the race because you know what awaits you—the end. You’re content with the discomfort and pain, because you’re confident your eyes will see the finish line. 
The beautiful reality of the Christian life is that Jesus is at the finish line, and he’s also the person who runs the race with us to the end. The writer of Hebrews grounds our ability to “be content with what [we] have” on the promise that Jesus is with us and will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). We can be content in the tiring, painful trials of today’s mothering because we have Jesus today.
Our contentment in the present and our longing for eternity meet at the cross. In both cases, we desire more of Jesus. We’re content now, because we know that our walk by faith is a temporary exercise until the day we long for—when we’ll walk by sight. Moms can endure the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical pains of our daily labor. We will suffer. Our sin will affect our children. Our children will suffer. Their sin will affect us. But Jesus is coming to abolish sin, sickness, and death forever. A longing for home is a longing for him—the full knowledge, display, and experience of God in all of his glory.
The Work in the Waiting
As we anchor our contentment in Christ today and eagerly wait for his promised return, God is at work. He has work for us to do too.
1. God works for us.
We’re on the road to a home where God will dwell with man forever. The place that has many rooms, the place personally prepared by Jesus, the place to which he will personally bring us. The place where we will reap with shouts of joy from our present-day mothering sorrows. The place where we will see that aspects of our daily calling—sweeping up Cheerios, discarding dirty diapers, responding in grace to the hundredth whine of the day, extra cuddling in sickness, and speaking into sibling squabbles, done with a joyful heart, matter to Jesus.
With each mothering day, we’re one step closer to obtaining our inheritance: eternal life with Jesus himself.  He died to give it to us, and he rose to establish his kingdom that will never die. He will keep us in his grasp as he prepares heaven to be the home we were made for—the place where our present chaos will turn into eternal peace, where our earthly sorrows will turn into infinite, unquenchable joy. 
2. God works in us.
God also promises he will finish what he started. He began his work when he saved us. He finishes his work when he brings us home. And every day in between is his walk with us to the finish line. 
Motherhood is a work of waiting. So much of our daily investment in our children may not earn a return for many years. We must learn and re-learn to wait on the Lord to bring us home as we learn to wait on the Lord to work in us and in our children. As surely as Jesus saved us, he is continuing to make us more like him. He will stretch us and challenge us. He will use our children as tools to refine us, so that we learn to not lean on our own understanding, but to trust him. We march toward heavenly joy through every word of scripture learned, loved, and spoken to our children, every worship dance party, every tear and moment of praise we bring to Jesus, every opportunity to speak and savor his name before our children and others, until the day when we will see joy himself: Jesus.
3. God works through us.
“[W]hy do you stand looking into heaven?” Angels questioned the disciples after Jesus left the earth to be with God. 
Like the first disciples, Jesus doesn’t want us to just stare into heaven and wait for his return. He calls us to engage in “fruitful labor” as we wait for Christ’s promised return. One day, we won’t be tired anymore. We won’t be anxious anymore. We won’t have sore muscles and aching backs. But in the meantime, Jesus has important, time-sensitive work for us to do. Every seed sown in tears will one day bear fruit—every handshake with the homeless with little watching eyes, every word of scripture spoken into a sibling quarrel or sung over our children, every prayer uttered and modeled, every image-bearing child fed, and even every push on the swings. We will run this race with our children at our side, pointing them to Jesus. And one day, we will see, with shouts of unhindered joy.
As Jesus left perfect home to bring us to himself as the firstborn among many brothers, we now have the joy of potentially bringing our children and others with us to the place where the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” from our King will have been worth the wait. 
We Will See Him
One day, we, like my little children, will no longer say, “I want to see Jesus now.” Our eyes won’t have to dream up what’s to come because we will see Jesus face to face. But the Lord isn’t finished with us and he isn’t finished using us. We have eternally significant work to do today, which entails a load of laundry as much as answers to deep theological questions before bedtime. On our most tiring mothering days, we can joyfully shine Jesus’ light and learn from our children to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.” And one day, our source of contentment and eagerness will not be a hidden person. He will be the visible, risen King.
Monica Geyen is a wife and homeschooling mother of four children. Previously, she practiced law and served with InterVarsity, discipling law students in the Twin Cities. Now, she writes and speaks on topics focused on motherhood and missional living.
1 Cor. 13:12
1 Pet. 1:3-4
Jude 24-25, Rev. 21:4
Rom. 8:30, 2 Cor. 3:18