One year ago next month my book, Glory in the Ordinary, was released. It feels like an eternity has passed in a way that I didn't with my first book. In large part, I think it’s owing to all that happened the weeks leading up to Ben’s delivery (and the weeks following). Our plans for the book launch didn’t include three weeks of bed rest, a premature delivery, or a hard recovery. But God’s did, and it completely changed how I viewed the book as a result.
You see, a lot of what I’ve experienced these nearly ten months since going into the hospital is everything I wrote about in the book, just not in the way I expected. I joked when I turned in the manuscript that I could go back to doing the work of the home. Often throughout the entire marketing process I would tell people that I believe all these things, I just have been limited in completing them because the work of launching a book took up all my time.
Then I spent a month in the hospital, and additional months recovering from a complicated c-section, and adjusting to life with four small children. The work that I thought would get done still isn’t really getting done. And neither is the writing work (which allowed me to justify putting off my other work during the book writing phase).
A few weeks ago I posted a picture on Instagram of my clean kitchen, not to boast in what I had done, but to give honor to the people who have held us up these last ten months. My friend cleaned my kitchen for me while she was watching my kids. Another friend brought me a meal a few nights ago. I’ve had friends watch my kids, friends organize my kitchen, friends take over responsibilities for me, and friends understand the limitations that this year have placed on me. It has been the most humbling (and most freeing) year I’ve experienced to date.
One of the primary points of my book is that the work of the home isn’t just women’s work. It’s everyone’s work. It’s the work of the husband, the work of the kids, the work of the fellow church member, the neighbor, and friend. If the work of the home is for the good of the world, then the world has to all work together to get the work done. Never underestimate the gift of a clean kitchen, or holding a friend’s baby so she can do something else, or bringing her a meal, or keeping her company when her husband travels, or folding her laundry. You are doing good work when you serve in this way.
My life has been marked more by help this year than anything else. I’ve had help from Daniel, help from family, help from babysitters, help from friends, help from television shows for the kids, help from Mother’s Day Out. Help on all sides. To top it all off, this is the first year since we’ve been married where my income brought in didn’t really offset anything for us. In the book I stress the value of work as contribution (not compensation), the value of community working together, how we aren’t all superwomen and need help, and how the work of the home is not gender specific. But if I’m honest, now that I’m on the receiving end of all I said, I don’t really like admitting that I’m that person. I wanted to finish this book and know that I could do the work all on my own, instead God is asking me to put my stake in the ground on the things I wrote about.
I am living the words of the book, just as a recipient. I’m living life in as ordinary of a way as I ever have, daily asking God for sustaining grace to move forward and find a new normal. There isn’t a lot to show for it in the tangible sense, but my prayer is that just as we don’t always see what fruit is coming from barren branches in winter, the same is true for myself. One day I will do the work in a way that I want again, but until then I am asking for grace to find the glory in the ordinary days—even days where everyone else is helping me get by.