A very thoughtful and generous friend of mine sent this beautiful little diamond shaped bottle of perfume all the way from Jordan for me. She said it’s uncharacteristic of her to send her friends perfume, not knowing if they will appreciate the scent or not, but since she felt like this was to be her gift to me, she sent it trusting I wouldn’t mind. She couldn’t have done better at sending a gift that would minister to me over and over again in my current season! So much so that I sat it on my kitchen windowsill right at my sink where I see it often and it keeps reminding me of my commitment to this current learning curve I find myself in.
You see, I used to think the only things of worth were the big things ‘out there.’ It was difficult, actually, almost impossible for me to find fulfillment and satisfaction in doing the everyday stuff. Now you moms out there realize that so much of mom life is made up of exactly this—normal everyday ordinary stuff. And when I became a mom at 34, I wasn’t prepared for all it would show me. It showed me I hated the normal hidden everyday stuff. It showed me I’d never learned to thrive well in the everyday gears that are so important in the foundation before going out in the bigger world for all the bigger things. In a lot of ways, I was like my little storybook friend, Scuffy the Tugboat, always thinking and dreaming of the bigger things I was created for and most discontented to even THINK of sailing in the little dinky bathtub right in front of me.
And of course, at the bottom of it all for me was a huge identity crisis.
A couple months ago I began to crave, literally CRAVE finding God in the everyday stuff of motherhood and daily life. God kept land-locking me into this place where it felt like everything out there I had deemed satisfying and fulfilling wasn’t working anymore for me. I would try but ended up feeling like a cat that had gotten confused and tried out at a dog convention instead of the cat show. So, I settled back and said, Okay God, I’m finished. I don’t want the big till I’ve learned what you want me to learn in the ordinary.’ And I said yes to being hidden away. It wasn’t fun at first. It was boring. It was a lot like slogging through slough looking for a treasure. And I thought maybe I’d just signed my life away…
God kept teaching me and shining His light on the corners of my heart where trashy concepts were hidden. Some days I felt stuck. It felt like nothing was changing. But I kept whispering, sometimes almost frantically through tears, ‘God I’ve got to find you here! I need to know you’re in the little stuff of my life. Teach me to value what you value’. I didn’t do any prayer-closet on-my-face praying. I just carried it on my heart and lived with my hands held out for whatever the whatever was I was hungry for.
This week I was shocked to realize I was enjoying the ordinary! I felt fulfilled. Satisfied. Whole.
And it wasn’t because I was able to get outside the four walls of this house. Quite contrary, I was cooped up all week long with feverish sick kiddos. Saying ‘no’ to bigger things I had planned for, meals I was going to make for others, food ministry I was going to go to. Nope. I had to turn it all down. And instead found myself tucked in with my little people. Snuggling and reading stories to help pass their time. Trying to get laundry done and cook semi-healthy meals in between giving lots of Vitamin C, etc. Holding, comforting, encouraging, and making doctor appointments to make sure it wasn’t pneumonia. Working on some personal goals like cleaning up and organizing my storage room, etc. All hidden away. But I found Him there in the hidden!!!
All of a sudden, I knew why I’ve been connecting so deeply with Mary in the Bible. The one that broke her beautiful alabaster jar of perfume, pouring with seeming reckless abandonment and extravagance on the feet of her Master what was so dear to her. Completely misunderstood by the people around her. But unaware of their presence, not caring what they might be thinking, she just wanted to somehow show Him her devotion and commitment. It was what she had. The most precious thing in front of her poured out from a heart of wide-open generous surrender and humility.
All of a sudden I’m with her there. My alabaster jar looks different, but it’s not that different. And when it’s broken open by my willing choice without thought of myself, the aroma is delightful. No one else around me may notice. It’s simply a divine transaction between the King and I. It doesn’t matter. No one else needs to see. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the crowd around me or what people think. What matters most is what’s happening in those moments of divine transaction between Him and me. And that transforms everything!
My alabaster jar is different than yours. Don’t compare your jar to mine. Go get your own and pour it out with reckless abandon! That’s where we find Him.
February 17, 2021
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by Vera Smoker
Hi there! I am Vera, blessed wife of one and mom to three wonderful little people who make my world go round. I am an unashamed lover of Jesus, passionate about authentic relationships rooted within the identity that comes first from my relationship with Him. I’m a lover of good books, fat journals, sunsets and sunrises, long quiet country walks, and time with my family around campfires or on our front porch. Growth and mentorship are high on the list of values for me and I always thrill when I get to celebrate the wonderful journey of growth and discovery with others. The Hubs and I both love hosting so come relax with us sometime and we will chat the time away and connect over a good cup of coffee or chai!
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Oh Vera, How I relate to so many of your writings. Often they bring tears to my eyes and this one was no different. Even though my children are grown, I can relate to feeling so ordinary and at times obsolete but God always finds me in my corner, in my country farm house. In His presence I feel value and special and the ordinary life I lead doesn’t matter but He does.
Keep writing! I’m always encouraged!