Day 10

Fallen and Redeemed Work

from the Mourning and Dancing reading plan


Genesis 3:17-19, Ecclesiastes 2:18-26, Romans 8:19-23, Ecclesiastes 9:9-10a, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:12-16

BY Guest Writer

God created us as complex creatures, capable of feeling and sensing a whole garden of emotions. Made in the image of our Creator, we can both grieve the wrongs of this world, and celebrate the sweetness of this life.

This 2-week reading plan will lead us through a series of passages from Scripture that examine the seasons of mourning and dancing in the life of a believer. In the written responses here on the site, our writers will enter into this tension, articulating their personal experiences with grief and joy in hopes of freeing you to explore your own. By immersing our hearts and minds in God’s Word, and honestly presenting our laments to Him, may we remember that God is present with us, He is good, and He is faithful.

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Text:
Fallen Work Scriptures—
Genesis 3:17-19, Ecclesiastes 2:18-26, Romans 8:19-23
Redeemed Work Scriptures—Ecclesiastes 9:9-10a, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:12-16

I was once a well-oiled working machine, churning out articles, speaking at conferences, ministering within my capacity and out of my weaknesses and strengths. While I’d never envisioned myself as an unmarried woman, I found fullness and contentment in the plot God had given me to tend.

Then I got married. And moved. And moved again. I’m no longer in my home, or church, or comfort zone. I still don’t really know anyone here, and we haven’t found a local church home in the D.C. area yet. We feel displaced.

Meanwhile, all the work that’s been done in me and through me is suddenly no longer for me. I can’t write about singleness anymore. I’ve begun to see others picking up the banner I laid down for the gift of marriageand I’ve resented myself for losing it. My heart echoes King Solomon’s words:

“I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun.”
-Ecclesiastes 2:18-19

There is this sadness in me that I cannot shake. The earthly identity I worked hard to build, and tried my best to bear faithfully, is no longer mine to carry. Those days of fruitful ministry feel very far behind me across the chasm of this difficult year. The Enemy loves to taunt me, to tell me I’ve wasted and been wasted, that all those words and thoughts are now lost. It’s hard to trust that my previous work has not been done in vain, though I know it was never mine to begin with. It was always His.

I dreamt of this time for years, didn’t I? I longed to be married. Why then is it so hard to reconcile the work I once did with the work I’m called to now? I agonize over how to spend the eleven-hour days stretching from the still dark hours through sunset when my husband returns. I sweep the kitchen floor, wash the towels, and put fresh flowers in the vase, growing weary and resentful of all I’ve lost, straining to remember that I’ve also gained.

Happy as my husband and I are together, happy as I am to be called his wife, this place in life is still not our true home. It isn’t supposed to be.

Today I do four loads of laundry. I sweep the kitchen floor. I write this post. I text Nate and our friends to tell them I love them, that I’m praying for them. I heed King Solomon’s words: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But in my struggle as a new stay-at-home wife, I remember that work is still work, no matter the title, no matter how blessed. At the fall, God told Adam so: the work of his hands would be hard from then on (Genesis 3:17). And it still is, for all of us. It will be until the day in Glory when pain in all its forms is no more (Revelation 21:4).

Sometimes the days drag on, the work feels endless. I can’t sort through the mountain of to-dos quickly enough, and yet it feels like I’m searching for things to do with my hands. But this is the plot to which I am called today: this home, this house, this husband. It is a life both better and harder than I imagined, and it’s being redeemed by God with every light and heavy step along the way.

“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.”
-Philippians 2:13

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Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, tweets @lorewilbert, and posts photos @loreferguson. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

Post Comments (122)

122 thoughts on "Fallen and Redeemed Work"

  1. Haley White says:

    Thank you for this!

  2. Kari says:

    Lori, this was the saddest post I’ve read on SRT! I am so sorry for this difficult transition period you are going through. I do hope things have gotten easier since your wrote this. Although I can’t relate to this one, I feel so much pain for you. Prayers will continue to come your way!

  3. Calista says:

    I hope you’ve found a church by now! Just in case you haven’t, give Monterey Church a try! It’s in Warrenton, VA, I believe. I can relate to what you’ve gone through. I don’t know what to do with myself sometimes and I fill the space with food or tv or both. Thanks for that verse in Romans!!

  4. Jenny says:

    @loreferguson thank you for your words. They really resonated with me. I am in a similar season. I have gone through school, gotten a masters degree in education, taught for 3 years and am now….at home. No kids. As a military wife, my life sometimes seems at the beck and call of the Air Force. I’m at home now because we are planning for 2 moves this year. And so, like you wrote, I do laundry and check my endless to do list, but also seem to be looking for work to do with my hands- such a strange place to be when it seems there is so much to do and yet you feel frantic to be busy and productive! To be purposeful. Thanks for the reminder that this place, too, is a called position. A verse that God spoke to me in this season is 1 cor 7:17 “17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.” Where we are is where we’re called, and it is a divine place- just like the other places we’ve been.

  5. Mems says:

    This is a lesson for my next season of life. I’ve been unwell with M.E for a couple of years, managing to just about hold down a part time job, but no energy for housework. My husband has been working hard full time plus tending to the house. We have a baby on the way in August, and moving house in the next month or two. I will be stopping work and have been dealing with feelings of guilt that I will not be contributing financially for a while. Actually, I wonder whether God has ordained this time for me to rest and heal, but also to focus on housework first, that will be my job, so my dear husband can rest when he comes home in the evenings, and once baby is born, spend his time with his son/daughter. It always amazes me how God knows exactly what our family needs. Thank you for this reminder today, it has been a great encouragement to me in a time of big change!

  6. Ashley says:

    Definitely needed this today!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    This is exactly what I have been going through! Being a stay at home wife and mom makes me feel almost like my life is amounting to nothing but I have to remember that God has me here for a reason! This was truly beautifully written!!

  8. Marilyn says:

    I’m going through a similar phase, but at a different life stage. I was a stay-at-home mom for 25 years, but before that I had a thriving career in the publishing world. Now, though I am able to do some editing and writing from home, I long for the identity and fulfillment I once had in my career. I know my identity comes from Christ, and He is sufficient for me, but I guess we all long for human recognition. I’ll be praying for you, Lore, as you seek after God’s best plan for your life.

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