And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus… Colossians 3:17
When she gets enough sleep, my five year old Jocelyn spends her days singing and singing. She even narrates her every action and thought in song: “I’m going to make my friend Caroline a kite, yeah, yeah. This is how I do it, oh yeah. I cut the edges off and I add some stickers…” and on and on the song goes until the craft is complete.
Most of the time, she has no idea I’m listening. She’s not singing for me, or for anyone else. She’s singing for herself. The fact is, her joy brings on her song, and her song brings on her joy. It’s one of those positive spirals that’s wonderful to be caught in.
I gave a retreat a while back called “Motherhood As Prayer.” In preparation for it, I read every book on the topic that I could get my hands on. That’s how I stumbled onto the concept that became the core of the retreat: every task we perform as moms can be transformed into prayer; we just have to invite God into the task to make it so. While cooking, we can pray that our food nourishes the bodies and souls of those who eat it. While folding laundry, we can pray for those who wear the clothes we are folding. While wrapping gifts, we can pray for the ones receiving them. We can even pray while scrubbing toilets, emptying the trash, and running errands. There is no task that can’t be transformed into prayer if we just include God in it.
The magic of doing so gives the tasks new meaning. Now, not only are we taking care of our families physically, but we are taking care of them spiritually as well. We have to do the chores anyways. Why wouldn’t we use them to bless others?
Praying through our “to do’s” also makes them less burdensome. Prayer yokes us to God who shoulders half the weight. Chores suddenly seem to go faster when He’s involved. Furthermore, like Jocelyn’s positive spiral of joy and song, praying through our chores catches us up in a positive spiral too: we bless our families, then God blesses us. Round and round the spiral goes.
When anything is on my radar, I can stay pretty focused and follow through. So over the course of the year that I gave that retreat, I did turn my chores into prayer most of the time. It was wonderful! I felt so connected to my family; I felt so connected to God.
But then it was time for a new retreat topic. Unfortunately, I have a short memory and a small brain. That new topic bumped the praying-through-chores idea off my radar. So although I taught the topic for a year, I have forgotten to live it lately.
I am so grateful that Jocelyn’s singing has pushed the idea back to the forefront. It just proves how positive and powerful her spiral of joy and song is: it has blessed me and has me renewing my vow to bless others through my tasks.
I just hope Jocelyn continues to sing for a long, long time.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, please check out my sister Kerry’s blog at http://www.MyTMSJourney.com
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Claire, how perfect–offering chores as a prayer. While I offer a prayer while picking up things from the floors in department stores, I guess I never thought to do that at home as well!! I will definitely be doing that. So glad you mentioned Kerry’s journey as well. Lots of love and thanks!!
I do remember you picking things up at department stores and offering them as prayers. I’m sure that was part of the foundation that I built upon. Thank you for always being such an amazing example for me Mom! I can only dream to follow in your footsteps some day!
Thanks for this reminder Claire. Having participated in the retreat back in October…I too needed this reminder (especially at this crazy time of year). Thanks to you and Jocelyn!!
Glad to know you needed to be reminded too, Jess, and that I’m not alone in that department. Onward and upwards!!!