The Search For Significance

“So what do you do?” The question hung in the air.

“Stay home with my kids,” I finally managed to mumble, feeling half the size I did a moment earlier.

Why did one simple question invoke such a shameful reaction? After all, I loved staying home with my children. And more importantly, I knew it was the best thing for our children. Nevertheless, the reaction remained … for years … each time such a question was asked.

our little-His great copy

Insignificant or Not?

Truth was, I felt insignificant as a “mere” housewife and stay-at-home mom (SAHM).

I thought of all the corporate executives, the biologists (in my field of education), the teachers, the nurses and doctors, even bank tellers and department store workers. While I was sitting home day after day, wiping runny noses, refereeing disagreements, and washing projectile food out of my hair, they were using their education to make a difference in the world. Others depended on them.

It Matters

How silly were my thoughts. Who are more dependent and needy than our own children?

And what mother doesn’t rely on far more knowledge than just the one area they studied in school? To offer 24-hour care to one or several children requires medical skills, some scholastic knowledge in every single subject area, a logistics degree (especially if there are special needs or older children), and an infinite amount of patience.

Nevertheless, the occupation question still often makes me squirm. Perhaps surprisingly, it often makes those who hold full-time, outside-the-home jobs squirm as well. Even after I added “freelance editor and writer and substitute teacher” to my resume, I still ducked my head at the question.

Why? Because I wanted to do something significant … make a BIG difference in a BIG way. And I didn’t feel I was doing that.

This seems to be a problem many of us have. Discontentment with our current positions and experiences. Thinking we should be doing more and influencing more. Perhaps that is the case with some.

Multiplied Offerings

Yet, what we fail to realize is that in God’s hands each little thing multiplies and grows. Each sacrifice and offering we give to Him becomes greater than anything we can imagine.

In the Lord’s mysterious ways, our few becomes His abundance … our little becomes His great.

In the Lord's mysterious ways, our few becomes His abundance ... our little becomes His great. Click To Tweet

I love this quote by William Bradford (of the Plymouth Plantation pilgrims), which sums up well the importance of little contributions made to the glory of God:

“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all praise.”–Of Plymouth Plantation.

Great Impact From Tiny Beginnings

The impact and influence the pilgrims had on future generations is incalculable. Yet they began with a tiny settlement of starving individuals.

Nearly every big impact begins in a small, quiet way. 

The impact and influence the pilgrims had on future generations is incalculable. Yet they began with a tiny settlement of starving individuals. Nearly every big impact begins in a small, quiet way. Click To Tweet

A crack in the earth can become a canyon with the right conditions. A tiny mustard seed produces a large plant. A microscopic cell becomes a complex reasoning human. A grand pyramid begins with one brick. A great city starts with one house.

Greater Things

So don’t look on your occupation, your contribution, as having little significance. Instead commit it to the glory of God and trust that His grace will magnify it a thousandfold—to be even greater in Him.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12)

Reflections: Have you ever felt insignificant in your role? 

Linking with Ann Voskamp for my Joy Dare list  for Multitude Mondays (#1245–1265, read them all by clicking here):

  • “Chatting” w/ my nephew online-miss that boy; Cooking up a whopping heirloom squash; 5th & 6th grade Christmas concert
  • My hubby, who is 50 today; Eating lunch w/ 6th graders–love those kids; Glass crayons to write bday msgs on mirrors
  • Church decorated for Christmas; The amazing landscape God allows me to enjoy daily; Peace found in Jesus Christ
  • Serving my man a steak birthday supper; Flickering candles; This moment
  • Fun evening with friends; Sharing the morning with my 17 year old; Old memories and new playing Sequence
  • KitchenAid mixer for holiday baking; Abundant sugar & spices to make all taste better; Splash of reality & truth
  • Decorating our barn escape for Christmas w/ all but oldest; Privilege to worship openly; Light snow much of the day

By His grace ≈


Also linking with these great sites:

Grace Laced Mondays

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “The Search For Significance
  1. withalljoy says:

    I am finally becoming more comfortable with telling people that I am a SAHM. I became pregnant the summer after I graduated from college; so the people who was most difficult to tell were my classmates and professors! I still find myself occasionally telling people that I am a children’s minister first, even though that is only a part-time job. I know that staying home to raise my daughter and support my husband is where my heart is, but it is still difficult on a daily basis. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • juliesunne says:

      I hear your heart on this topic. I had 5-plus years of post-secondary education to stay home and care for my children. Many don’t understand that, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now that my oldest is in college and the other three are in double digits, I treasure the memories. Persevere–you and your children will never regret it! Blessings.

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