Sunday, March 18, 2007

Grace for today

I just read this article by Dr. Laura that really made me stop and think:

One of my recent callers came up with what I'm sure she thought was the singular most legitimate reason for not being a stay-at-home-mom: "... it's not all enjoyable." I kid you not, she actually said that, followed by, "... and I just don't seem to be able to do it well." She did say that being with the kids was fine, it was all the other stuff: housekeeping, shopping, cooking, and so forth – that were described as unrewarding and relentless and, well, just not enjoyable.

She also complained that she just couldn't do it all well. I asked her what part of putting dishes in the dishwasher and making sure the clothes got through the washer and dryer and back into drawers was too complicated for her? She laughed and said that she didn't know why it was hard for her to do it right – it just was. Mind you, this was all said with a tone that did not suggest she had great concern about doing any of it better.

Truth be told, whether coming from a man or a woman, this behavior is self-centered, and displays a character that knows little of honor, obligation and sacrifice. This is a mentality, rampant today, that speaks not of what "I can do for my family?" but only for "What will I get out of what I do for my family?"...

The woman caller was resentful that her husband did not come home and do housework. I asked her when she did his paperwork, made his phone-calls, drove in his rush hour traffic and dealt with his boss. Silence. I reminded her that she is part of a team and each member of the team has its own responsibilities and that the end result was a peaceful, happy home.

In response to her call, a number of women wrote me to describe their deeper understanding of being the family team member at home.

Anita wrote:

I have something to say to the woman who was just not "enjoying" it. Life is like that. We all have stuff we don't like. True, there are some tasks we must do that may not be pleasant, but for the most part, we are free to choose what we do and when we do it. We are doing something extremely important and irreplaceable. But think this thought: We have incredible power within the home. We set the tone of the whole family. It is our honor to serve those we love and those who love us. And our lives are blessed with things that an office does not offer:

* The warm sun on your face.
* The laughter of children.
* Their sweet breathing when they are asleep.
* Breezes, flowers, spectacular cloudscapes.

Look at the world through the eyes of your children and see what a marvelous world we live in. Enjoy it all with them.

Sabina, another listener, wrote, "If she doesn't like being at home and walks out on her family when they need her, what does this teach her children? I have often used this myself as a teaching tool. When I ask my kids to do something, they frequently balk at my requests. When my daughter refused to help her siblings or do her chores, I tell her that we all have to do things we don't like to do.

"Each person in our family has responsibilities and we take care of each other. I tell her that sometimes I don't feel like getting up in the morning. What would happen if one day I didn't get up? How would she like it if I didn't make her lunch just because I didn't feel like it? She usually grumbles that she wouldn't like it and then proceeds to do her chores. The amazing thing is that it not only works, it's the absolute truth and really makes kids think about responsibilities and obligations."

I have been thinking a lot recently about self-sacrifice in the Christian life, and about choosing the Lord's way instead of my own. As Marvin DeGroff describes it, "Standing on the edge of the dock, looking out at what the Lord has for you, and saying, 'Yes, Lord, I'll take it!'" I so want to be willing to say that about EVERYTHING the Lord has for me, even the mundane, not so enjoyable tasks in each day. Because those things are His will for me, and I have come to firmly believe that the Lord's will is ALWAYS, unarguably, where I want to be.

And that may involve sacrifice sometimes. Our ultimate example, the Lord Jesus, lived a life full of sacrifice, laying down His human desires to obey His Father and bring glory to Him. This is the only reason that I have any standing before God, because His Son willing gave up His life to be a Sacrifice for my sin. Why should my life be any different?!?

As the old hymn says,
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my life, my all.

There is not a lot of recognition to be had in living a life filled with cleaning poopy diapers, wiping faces, cleaning bathrooms, keeping things tidy, doing the laundry (and putting it all away!), cooking meals, and shepherding tiny hearts, but I see in God's Word that it is the Lord's will for me. I'm so thankful for the grace to embrace that, and to be able to say, "I'll take it, Lord!" When I look ahead too far, and get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, it seems so exhausting and TOO MUCH. But the Lord faithfully provides the grace for TODAY, to choose His Will today. I'm so thankful for that!


marti said...

Dr. Laura showed alot of insight there. Being a mom isn't for the selfish.

It's hard work but there is recognition. We are all watching and learning. I for one say "Good job! You go girl!" God is making note with joy as you gladly "take it" from Him. He will one day say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Anonymous said...

I love how Dr. Laura brought out the positives of being at home. The warm sunshine, the children's faces when they are asleep, etc. The Lord is good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rachel. Love you, Mom

Grace Powell said...

As someone who also doesn't enjoy it, I appreciate the encouragement. Just because the task isn't enjoyable doesn't mean we can't find joy in knowing that we are fulfilling the Lord's plan for our marriage and family when we submit to Him in the everyday tasks.

bandanachick said...

Wow that was so great and encouraging! Thanks for sharing that.

The lady who cut my hair last Friday asked me what I did for a living, and when I told her I stayed at home with my son she just went off. I honestly couldn't believe it. She just went on and on how she could never do that and didn't know why anyone would want to do that blah blah blah. It was so weird. I went home with a cute hair cut but feeling kinda discouraged. It is sad how much others additudes can affect you.
So, thanks for your thoughts. You are always an encouragement for us "new" moms!

dave & rachel said...

Ruth, people at work say things like that all the time! It IS discouraging, because it is not always an easy choice, to stay home. You will probably not be valued for what you are doing by most people in the world...our culture has definitely devalued the role of a woman in the home. But remember, you're serving the Lord by keeping your home and taking care of your husband and baby, and He is no man's debtor!

You know that I work prn at the hospital, so obviously I am not saying that there is only one way to do things. But I do know that the job the Lord has for me is to be a "keeper at home." So it seems like other pursuits should take a back seat, whether or work or hobbies or whatever.

Hope you're feeling more encouraged today...keep it up! You will see fruit when Austin is a little older. Your sweet spirit will have such an impact on his life. Who knows who Austin may be when he grows up! The Lord will use you as a missionary to him, to teach him about who the Lord is and to encourage his heart to be soft towards the things of God. It will be worth it!

HopiQ said...

Amen, amen, amen, and amen! :)

Thank you for this reminder!!! We do it NOT because it's just the greatest fun on the planet (although it really CAN BE much of the time!) We do it to honor and glorify the Lord and to give our family an irreplaceable gift: ourselves.

As my mom often says, [making husband and children and home priority] "is hard on the flesh!" But what a true blessing and honor we have as wives and mothers.

The Daniel Den said...

Thank you Thank you thank you!!!!!
I appreciate this so much!! Training has not been the easiest and seeing people look at me like I am strange for only doing prn gets hard.....
I needed to hear this from a friend and someone who values the Lord and her family first.
I have found it a joy to be home with my kids and while working full time to train it has given me a new appreciation and love for being a mom..... first foremost and always above a nurse.

dave & rachel said...

Anne, I so agree! People WILL look at you strange because they honestly cannot imagine staying home. They don't know how joyous it can be because they probably don't have the same goals you do. I know these weeks are probably going to be tough on you, but keep your eyes on the goal, sister...a few more weeks and then back to prn. You will probably will appreciate it so much more after you've worked so much. And we will all enjoy seeing more of you too!

Praying for you!