"Every woman would love to replace a life of survival with a life of meaningful accomplishment."
-- Elizabeth George
Wow.. isn't that a true statement! I know that's how I often feel. There often seems to be so much going on and so much to do that I sometimes seem like I am doing nothing but running in circles all day. Then on the flip side, everyday can seem so alike and my time here at home seem so meaningless because I have nothing to show for it. Of course there are my children to take care of and train up in a Godly manner, but my mind is wired in a very fleshy way and I often find myself looking to see what "accomplishments" I can claim as my own. We live in a very worldly world where what you do is more important than who you are or who you serve. I have pursued so many different paid work at home opportunities and looked for ways to fill my time at home because I want my time to be filled with "worthwhile" activities. Of course I'm a stay at home mom and homemaker, but there has to be more, right? I mean, if someone asks you what you do, just replying "Oh, Im a stay at home mom" sounds so overly simplistic. Too easy. Almost, lazy even. But, is it? Is that what God says?
I was busy trying to clean our room the other day and became frustrated with the whole process. I asked the Lord, "Lord, more dirty laundry?!? How am I ever going to keep up with all of this? Why can I never stay organized enough to not accumulate so many piles of stinkin paper everywhere and why am I cleaning the same thing everyday?! I just can't seem to keep anything clean for more than an hour or a day? What's wrong with me? It's not that I'm lazy or un motivated, I just truly can't seem to keep my house tidy for very long. Please Lord, if there's something I'm missing, show me what it is! If there is something I'm doing wrong, show me another, better way to do it! It's house cleaning for crying out loud! Not rocket science!"
This has been my prayer (or one very similar to it) for the past few weeks. Now, in the last few days, weeks and months He has been showing me some things!
Lesson 1: Be in the world, not of it!
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Although I am very secure and comfortable fulfilling me call as a stay at wife and mom, I have a tenancy to be very "success" oriented. When people ask me what I do, I love rattling off a long laundry list of items that include so much more then just laundry! There's my photography business, my numerous little online writing jobs, there's all the different etsy shops I plan on opening, many different online work at home jobs that I have pursued at any given time, ect..... I like to have things to "show" that I can make good use of my time being at home. My thinking has been that I will not be one of those moms that just stays home and cleans or sits around everyday!
So, are those thoughts God given thoughts, or are they a result of my carnal self trying to bring glory to myself? Is being a good stay at home mom requiring me to "just clean" all day anyway? (Although having 2 under 2 it often seems that way!)
I feel like God has been showing me that being the sunny, joyful and encouraging wife to my husband, the patient and kind mom to my little children and keeping my home is more than enough for one person to master. I shouldn't feel even the slightest shame replaying "I'm a stay at home mom" to anyone. Because being a stay at home wife and mom will have more than enough jobs in itself to master! Of course, God has blessed me with opportunities such as my photography business, which I completely enjoy and am so thankful for, but that is just additional. It's not a part of my "official" job description.
So, one of the main things He has been teaching me:
Get over seeing myself in the world's light and what the world would see has not only successful and what the world sees at "a good use of time."
He had to teach me this through and through before the next lesson.
Lesson 2: No one is perfect!
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
I like to kick myself when I'm down. Has the laundry been in piles for days and am I once again frantically searching for envelopes and the address for the electric company? Well then, I guess I am a horrible home maker and a failure at things organization. Did I forget to take something into account when balancing the checkbook or over spend on the budget for that week? Well then, I might as well let hubby take care of all the finances because apparently I can't.
Hhmmm... what kind of thinking is that? I have unrealistic expectations of myself and when I don't live up to those expectations, I get so down on myself that I end up more down and even less encouraged. But you know what? NO ONE is perfect and that probably means that nothing we do is perfect. Were only human. Not only does God know this, but He created us like this! Why? Because our weakness is perfected by Him! When we are having a hard time with something or struggling trying to fix it ourselves, no true help will come to us without Christ's hand in our lives.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.
God purposely made us imperfect so that not only can we learn to lean on Him for help and support, but also so that when something does go right, we can give all the glory for that right thing to God. God is the only way anything in our life can go right and all the glory is due Him!
Lesson: 3 Homemaking is a learned profession that takes many, many years to learn and master.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live... to teach what is good Then they can urge the younger women to..... be busy at home (also translated as " to do work in their home" "manage their households" "homemakers" ......
Just like no one can expect to become a specialized surgeon after one human anatomy class, not one keeper at home should expect her home and all her household affairs will be perfected with the surgeon like precision a master would have without many years of training. Even after years and years of running a household, there will always be something new to learn.
I have had my own household for just over 3 years now. Of course I don't have it all together! I never really will, but I know as the years go by and I learn from those woman who are older and wiser than I, that the state of my household will continue to improve.
The outcome of these new lessons:
I feel that the Lord is leading me to stop pursuing so many different pursuits. Maybe I have just a few to many "irons in the fire" and I need start weeding out a little better what I'm being called to do and what I'm doing to fill up time that I don't really have in the first place.
Aside from my photography business (an opportunity that I truly believe God has His hand in right now) I'm going to start trying to learn how to run my household better. And what does running a household entail? Here is a list:
First, to serve my husband and children. I want to be their rock. No matter what goes on in the world and happens in the course of their daily lives, I want to be the smiling, encouraging , loving, pillar of strength that loves them. When they think of home, I want them to think of me.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Now, everything else in no particular order:
Nutrition and meal preparation
Cleaning (not picking up, but how to actually clean things)
Weekly lists and week by week planning
How to make my home a beautiful, peaceful and restful haven.
There are more than enough things of interest to pursue to help fulfill my job of running a household. Most of these things have to be done by everyone to some extent, but what an honour to have the opportunity to become a master of these skills and provide our family with a beautiful and smooth running household! I realize of course that God has different callings for different people, and just because I am called to be a stay at home mom doesn't mean that I think that's what every person who has a husband or children should do, but it's what I am called to do. So I will do it with all my might!
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
In closing, let me share an encouraging quote from Elizabeth George:
"When we get up every morning with a fresh prayer for our home in our heart, and a burning passion for building our home in our soul, when we acknowledge the priority, and pledge to better the lives of the people at home by bettering the place of home, and then practice the many tasks that such love requires, in time we master the skills of homemaking.