When I was growing up my Dad had the wonderful gift of making me feel like I was his favorite. He had a special nickname for me that nobody then—or since—has ever used for me. The way he said it made me feel his delight in me. He was away at work most of the time, but especially when I was little, I felt like he was interested in what was happening in my life. As I grew older, he had a way of showing that he respected me, and my opinions. When I was old enough to work alongside him for a few years in his business, I felt he trusted me. My Dad’s love for and trust in me helped me develop confidence in myself. I adored him, and would have done anything in my power for him.
I mention all of this because sometimes the way we view the things we do depends on who is asking us to do them. If someone we truly love and trust—I’ll go so far as to say if someone we adore—asks us to do something, we want to do it and do it well.
When I became a mother, I left a fulfilling business career, and I had to grow a lot spiritually before I became content in the work at home. A mother’s days are so long, in fact, 24/7 is a reality, at least in mental readiness. The tasks are sometimes so mind-numbingly repetitive. Change a diaper, change it again, dress the children, feed the children, clean up the children, dress them again, do the dishes, prepare the next meal, gather the laundry, sort the laundry, wash the laundry, change the diaper, dry the laundry, fold the laundry, fix another meal, bathe the children, put away the laundry, change the diaper, wipe the nose, pick up the toys, comfort the wakeful child, nurse the sick one, then the next one….it is all so daily. And, frankly, it is all so wearying. And at the end of the day, what is there to show for all the work?
The boredom, discouragement, and sometimes the degree to which I felt overwhelmed drove me to seek the Lord intensely during those years. I worked hard to find a few minutes to be in the word each day, and it amazed me how often something in God’s word would make me feel like he was speaking directly to me. I also learned that when I missed a day, I felt more stressed and overwhelmed than the days I spent even a few moments with my Lord.
I tried to use the time doing the dishes or folding the laundry, to pray—for my own needs and for others. It was as if God knew my need for encouragement, because he answered some of those prayers in such amazing, direct ways. Not every prayer, to be sure, but quite a few were answered in ways that I knew nothing but the movement of the Lord could have been the explanation.
I didn’t have time to join a Bible study when the children were small, but I listened to Bible teaching on the radio—that was easy to do as I worked around the house and ran errands. I learned so much, and the teaching and perspective of these “mentors” really helped me grow in deep love for the Lord and understanding of his word:
God is sovereign over all things.
He is so good.
His love has been proven so abundantly in the sacrifice of his Son that I might have relationship with him.
He has plans for me and they are for good.
He numbers the very hairs on my head.
He rejoices over me with singing.
Nothing can separate me from his love.
One of the things that became so clear to me as I was learning to adore my heavenly Father was that being a mother was not simply a responsibility I had because my husband and I had children—it was part of God’s plan for me. It was an assignment from God. I began to see just how precious a gift it is to be a mother and to have God entrust little image-bearers to me. I sensed in ever growing ways that he was with me every moment and would help me, and that the spirit I brought to the work mattered to him, even and especially in the mundane work and all the interruptions. C.S. Lewis once said “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.” 
As Paul is giving instructions for Christian households in Colossians 3:23-24, he says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” So much discontent in mothering—and much else in life—comes when we try to define who we are or measure what we are doing by the world’s standards. God has a much higher standard than the world. In his economy, every wiped nose and changed diaper is an opportunity to affirm that we love God and want to serve him with gladness. If he has asked us to do something, it is worth doing well. No one else may notice, but he will, and the reward will be his pleasure now and when we meet him and enjoy him for all eternity.
The work you are presently called to is an assignment from God. You might ask how I can know that. I know that because it is before you. If you are growing your relationship with the Lord and truly seeking to know his will and plans for you, if he has other work for you, he has ways of letting you know. For now, it is safe to assume that the God who loves you more than you have ever been loved by anyone has this for you right now. He adores you and one way to show him you adore him is to receive the work he has called you to with gladness and work heartily every day to please him in it. The reward is worth it because the reward is more and more of Jesus and more and more delight in your life now and forever.
Adrien Segal lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Rick. They attend Bethlehem Baptist Church and work with Bethlehem College and Seminary. They have four sons and four prized grandchildren. You can find her online @AdrienSegal.