Friday, October 1, 2010

Serving the Lord, by Serving my Family

When I first became a mom (7 years ago), I was so unhappy with the 'job'.  I felt guilty not being 'busy' and not being more useful and important.  Burping babies and changing diapers does not come with a lot of prestige (unless of course you're a nanny, then for some reason it's considered perfectly useful to society), and I craved attention and men's accolades.  I didn't admit it at the time. To be fair, I might not have even realized it then.  But over the years, that discontentment grew and drug me down.  I remember standing in my messy living room one day, a few years ago, and wishing I could run an orphange with 30 sick kids.  Granted, I could barely take care of my own 2 sick kids.  But somehow if they weren't my own, and there were more of them, I thought I could handle it.

What I didn't realize at the time was that my lack of contentment and joy in motherhood was based on the world's idea of worthiness and importance.  More is better.  If only I could be affecting the lives of 30 people instead of 2, it would make it all worth it.  I would feel important.  I could change the world.  It would be my 'ministry' to God.  He would be proud of me and I could be proud of myself.

But, what I have come to learn over the last few years is that God does not operate that way.  In his glory and wisdom, he created men to glorify Himself through the roles he gives to them in their daily lives.  Nothing grand is necessary.  Yes, sometimes he does choose to use people in larger venues.  Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield come to mind.  But, after studying the lives of some amazing, effective evangelist, I have come to the conclusion that he has only been able to use them because of their humility and utter trust in God.  I have also come to realize that I am NOT that humble and if God were to use me in the lives of great amounts of people, it would most assuredly go to my head and cause not only myself, but those who witness it, to stumble.  He would, of course, receive no glory in that, and has graciously not allowed me to fulfill my 'dream' of affecting many people for him. 

Paul says that he has learned to be content in whatever state he is in.  I wanted to be able to say that, but truly couldn't.

So God graciously sent me on a journey of learning my 'place in this world' and my 'ministry' of bringing glory to Him.  And of learning his 'plan' for mankind. 

My marriage was the first thing that needed cleaning out.  I was proud and had swallowed the world's agenda for feminist/women.  I was important and intelligent and should not have to suffer for someone else's decisions.  But God showed me how important submission was to his story of 'creation, fall and redemption'.  It wasn't something that was degrading or demeaning.  It was simply His way of unfolding His plan.  Who am I to disagree?  Through many books, conversations (thanks Carrie!!), prayers and meditations, I finally saw God working in my hard, prideful heart, and allowing me to finally have true respect and honor for my husband.  And following that, came the submission somewhat naturally.  Yeah for victory!

Next God worked on my attitude toward my 'home duties'.  Oh, how I remember spending hours at the kitchen sink doing dishes and preparing food and being so bitter.  'Why can't Drew help out with kitchen duties now and then?' 'No one else spends this much time cleaning their dishes/kitchen'.  'Woo is me' 'Poor Sarah'.  Seriously, the whining I used to do in my head, it's downright embarrassing!   But, as God started showing me that my 'ministry' to Him is to take care of the family he gave me, I started finding those same chores a blessing.  I found myself doing dishes and being thankful for God's graciousness in giving me a husband that wants me to stay home and raise our children.  So many people I know would like to stay home and/or homeschool, but their husbands want them to earn money, or their kids to go to school to be 'normal'.  But my husband not only requested that I homeschool, but he has also been open to my unusual methods of homeschooling/eating.  'For such a time as this' did God prepare me to glorify Him and serve Him.  Thank you Lord!!!!  I truly rejoice when I hang my laundry up to dry these days.  I am doing it for the Lord!

Once the Lord worked on the foundation of the marriage, which is so important to a family/child training, he started working on my attitude toward my children.  I've been reading child-rearing tip type books since becoming a mom.  But I've always known that I was missing something.  And now I realize that the something was the foundation of my relationship with my husband and my attitude in general to my 'homemaking'.

Finally I get to attend to the details, which are what I really enjoy.  My control-freakish nature of course, prefers those over the attitudes, which I can't ultimately control.  It's a very exciting place to be. 

And here is my manual for those details:

Proverbs 31:10-31

A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

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."

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

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