Today's final idea comes from the book of Matthew. These words are taken from chapter 6 during Jesus' famed sermon on the mount. Although the context of this verse is all about addressing your motives when giving, specifically to the poor in this case, I think the larger principle we can understand and seek to apply is that God sees the small insignificant things we do with as much interest as anything else. The verses read:
3 But when you give to the needy do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
From an at-home caregiver perspective, why would it be important to know that giving to people who cannot provide for themselves and serving those who cannot serve themselves is seen by God? Because you spend A LOT of time as an at-home caregiver doing just that! And, over time, it can begin to feel like no one knows all the good you're doing. In fact, you can begin to question your own value since so much of what you spend your day doing seems repetitive and monotonous.
Don't think anyone sees what you're doing? Think again. Think your only audience is your drooling toddler who has no clue of your efforts? Not the case. Think what you're spending your time doing all day is wasteful? God says otherwise. More importantly, this verse says that not only does God notice this type of activity, but that God will reward those who labor in such obscurity. So, be encouraged! Even if your spouse doesn't reward you (and shame on them if that's the case), or if your children don't reward you (and most likely they won't), or if you wonder to yourself if it's all worth it, remember it is. I don't know what God's "reward" might look like, but I think it will be worth it.
A few years ago I had the privilege to speak at our church about my at-home experience and the lessons I had learned. That Sunday morning was Mother's Day Sunday. It was an intentional and strategic choice. My experience has taught me to value highly those who stay at home and who tend to needs unknown and seemingly unrewarded.
At the end of that day the church offered to each mother on her way out of the service a small magnet. The magnet had the picture of a great European cathedral on it with the words "With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees". These words apply not only to mothers, but to any caregiver who stays at home and who pours their life out for the building up of another.
I would make the case that there are no small or insignificant actions in God's view. And when you are laboring alone without any recognition that is a good thing to remember. Make today a great day.