Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Cathedrals --- (author unknown)

Moms, remember we are all making a difference... For those children here with us, our building is still in progress. For those already with the Lord, our task is complete.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please." I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just got back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Carol , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees." I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become." At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to your strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don 't want my daughter to tell the friend she's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want her to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to her friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there." As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."- Genesis 16:13
Lately I've been feeling a little sorry for myself. I've been feeling alone in my job as a mother. I've been feeling overwhelmed at all the responsibility I have in raising 4 boys, especially Gavin. I've been feeling unnoticed and a little worthless to the world. I find myself so consumed with taking care of my family and not having the time to help out at school, like I used to, or to be of assistance to others. Instead, I find myself making up medicine syringes, giving nebulizer treatments, changing diapers, helping with homework, driving to appointments and soccer games and practices and most of the time stuck at home to ensure that Gavin stays as healthy as possible. Most of the time I am able to stay positive about my situation, especially when I look to God in the process. But, sometimes, like this week, doing all of this leaves me feeling pitiful and restless. How many times have I been told, "You are so lucky to not have to work! You are so lucky to be able to just stay home with your children!" Not work?! Try overworked! Lucky?! Try extremely Blessed! I know that I'm blessed and I wouldn't have it any other way, but some days I need a new perspective. Today I was given this perspective by reading the above story! I am not alone and even when nobody else notices, God does! So, I should realize that all that I do should be done for the glory and honor of God! It may be monotonous at times, but I'm "building cathedrals" for the Lord! What better job could I ask for?!
"Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation." Psalm 62:1


mommy to 2 bugs said...

I LOVE the story about the Cathedrals! How true is it that it's not about us....as mommies, but our children! Being a mommy is the hardest job, but also has the greatest benefits...it just takes time to see them sometimes! God has a way of letting us know just what some of those benefits might be when the look of an innocent child brings such warmth and love...could you ever have imagined having sooo much love to give?? It's truly a blessing, though that doesn't mean we don't get weary from time to time....That's why God made friends! Between running around for our children, we do need to take a break now and then and smell the flowers! Let's do that soon!!
Love you!

Anonymous said...


I so know how you feel about feeling alone somedays. God has led us down this path for a reason and taking care of our "god sent children" means the world to me but when the baby is crying due to being in pain and the other two just want the attention they have never had I just want to go in a corner and cry---a real job I would love but being a stay at home mom is something that I'm supposed to do and only god knows why. I was glad to hear that I'm not alone. Somedays I dont think I apprechiate what I have been given but I'm really thankful. Someday soon we will have to get together and talk.

Thinking of you lots--

Inspired said...

Your entry today brought a tears to my eyes. The thought of you feeling so alone and overwhelmed hurts my heart. Not because you shouldn't feel that way, but because I can only imagine that you would. You give the word mother true meaning. You continue to amaze and awe me with your love and your "putting yourself out there".
Sending hugs!