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 9:9-10, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:12-16

BY Lore Ferguson Wilbert

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 marriage—and I’ve resented myself for losing it. My heart echoes King Solomon’s words:

“I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun because I must leave it to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile” (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. 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 hands find to do, do with all your strength” (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. God explained this to Adam at the fall, that 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 [us] both to will and to work according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

Post Comments (159)

159 thoughts on "Fallen and Redeemed Work"

  1. Melissa Graves says:

    Churchmouse, I’m catching up on the readings for this week, so I’m a few days behind. I always jump to your comments because of your wit and wisdom that seems always to apply to my own circumstances and life situations. Your comments today were no exception. We all have challenges to face, regardless of our age or stage in our walk with Christ. And He is available to us for strength, wisdom, hope and guidance in order to navigate our way safely home. Thank you, once again, for these reminders, which served to encourage my heart and soul to continue to fight the good fight of faith!

  2. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Amen…powerful

  3. Alanna Reger says:

    I don’t know if you will ever see this comment, nor do I know how long ago you wrote this devotion. On a chance that you might see this and are near enough, please come visit McLean Bible Church. It has been our home church in the DC area for three years now. Thank you for these words you wrote. They resonate with me: a fellow stay at home mom.

  4. April Love says:

    Thank you lovely ladies for your kind words of comfort & encouragement, and for you le prayers x

  5. Melissa Perez says:

    Wow! This was timely for me today! 2.5 years into marriage and the devotional took the words right out of my mouth. So thankful for my husband but some days I get caught up in the “house work”. But I’m thankful marriage is ‘work’ gifted to us by God!

  6. Anne Jones says:

    Please forgive my typos from this morning. It should have said than you Churchmouse. And SRT community.

  7. Natalie says:

    I totally feel this. In the 8 years my husband and I have been married, I have changed jobs 5 times and we’ve moved across the country away from friends and family for his career. It’s so easy to get burned out and hold a grudge waiting for it to be *my* turn. But I wouldn’t trade our life for anything and I know we’re exactly where God wants us to be. We’re getting ready to move again, and I’m praying God continues to show me where I fit. It’s so much easier than trying to claim space on my own.

  8. Michelle says:

    I really needed to read this today. Thank you so much for your writing, Lore.
    I have been in a very similar season for quite some time now. Going on 2 years. I was in full time ministry, and God called me out of it without a real solid reason other than to rest. I had recently gotten married, which I believe has been such a huge blessing. But for a while it was difficult because I felt like I was somehow giving up on ministry although I was trying to obey God’s calling of surrender.
    So here I am 2 years removed from resigning, still no church home, and feeling “unsettled.” We don’t know where my husband will end up getting a new job, and where I can serve/find a job. It’s been difficult to find purpose in folding laundry and doing dishes… but I trust that God’s timing is perfect, and that He’s glorified even in the small tasks that he’s bestowed on me as a stay at home wife. Thank you for the reminder this morning. I was not expecting to be met with such a relatable devotion this morning. God is good.

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