“But God, I want to get some work done!”, I frustratingly bemoaned. The pen, papers and computer in front of me sat untouched because every time I sat down to “work” another voice called to me that I was needed, or another hand was reaching up to show me something or a pleading voice to pull a small body into my lap for affection. “Haven’t I fed them, taught them, loved them all the blessed day long?!” I thought, exasperated that my agenda was being leveled. But I already knew the answer: there’s no clocking out in motherhood. “This IS the work.”, Holy Spirit gently reminded me.
I know this
I know this. I really DO. Why do I still, at times, see my ‘work’ as something seperate from my family? I already have two grown children out on their own. I KNOW this season flies by ever so quickly and yet… my flesh still feels inconvenienced when I cannot get certain things done.
I have wrestled my entire parenting career with my flesh, with what the world says is “important work” versus what God’s Word says is “eternal work”. I came into this marriage and parenting gig thinking that I could do all the things and do them all well. It soon became clear to me that, at least for me, this was not the case. Giving my attention to too many things at once only resulted in spreading myself too thin to be of much good to anyone. When I heard God calling me in my heart to come home full time, it was one of the scariest things I had ever faced. I had been raised to think that a career was everything and that staying home full time was of lesser value than going out and making your way in the world. I was also very selfish. To come home and take care of my family and the home meant I wouldn’t be doing what I wanted to do. It also meant that, in the area of finances, I was going to have to trust God and have faith that He would care for us.
Then, He called us to homeschool. I remember thinking, “How much more of myself can I give??? There will be nothing left of ME.” And honestly, I think that was kind of the point.
The Complete Laying Down of Self
Through the years, I have had to make choices that required the complete laying down of self in order to be truly obedient to God in the area of motherhood and wifehood. I wanted to “work” outside of the home, “work” in the ministry, and “work” in many other ways, but God called me to the work of the home and family. My husband and children are not an optional career, they ARE the career God has designated for me and in the giving of myself to this work, I find that I am the one constantly being worked on by the Lord. I’ve learned lessons in this voacation that I would have never learned anywhere else. I have grown in spiritual maturity as a direct result of it. God, in His Wisdom decided that this would be the arena of life that He would use to develop me as His child.
And trust me when I tell you that I haven’t always been a willing participant. In fact, I’ve been downright rebellious at times trying to do what I want AND what He wants. I cringe when I think about the times that I reasoned out that “Maybe God didn’t mean I couldn’t do any outside work…” Sounds a whole lot like a certain serpent from long ago to me…
“ Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Have you ever noticed that what you are told you cannot have all of the sudden can look so very attractive?
I’m not saying women should or shouldn’t work outside the home, that is seriously between an individual woman and her God. What I am saying is that I personally KNEW by my first year of marriage what God was asking of me and while I did obey Him and come home outwardly, it took me many years to come home inwardly. You see, submission has everything to do with the heart and it took me a while to figure that one out for myself. The way I was raised, this culture I was born into, constantly tries to dictate where I find my worth- and it is rarely in being a godly wife and mother. It is rarely selflessly laying myself down so others can grow, mature and prosper. The “What about me?” syndrome is never far away, trying to bait me into a mindset that no longer glorifies the One who has given me everything, but seeks to steal some of that glory for myself.
And even now, after being home for over 20 years, I still have to fight that nagging feeling that I could be “doing more”. What is ‘more’ than obedience to God? What is “more” than a life lived for His Glory? The enemy has had a field day with me at times, telling me that following God has not made a lick of difference, that all I did was ‘spend’ myself for nothing, that no fruit will come of the life I have chosen at Christ’s leading to live. But I know a truth deep down in my soul: The enemy is a liar.
When I think of this process I have been in since the day I said “I believe in Jesus, that He is the Messiah, my savior, forgive me of my sins and be Lord over my life.” Since the day I said, “I do.” in covenant with a man I truly love. Since the day I surrendered to God the amount of children He wanted me to have. Since the day I left secular work for eternal work. Since the day I agreed to homeschool… when I think of this journey, I don’t pat myself on the back because I have lived it perfectly. Oh no… I have fallen and gotten back up. SO.MANY.TIMES. But I have done it with in faith believing that God, who was the author of this journey, is also the finisher of this journey. And so…
This IS the Work
So I turn the computer off, and I leave the ‘work’ that screams its importance and I turn to the work that matters- young souls who know they are loved no matter what, who, hopefully will see even a glimpse of the Jesus I serve and that it will serve as a seed for future harvest in the kingdom. I’ll pull that little body into my lap once again, I’ll listen to what that teenager has to say again, I look at that creation for the fourth time today, I’ll pray with the child having fear in the night and I pray for the child who strays off the Path in the wee morning hours and I will remind myself over and over that clocking out is not an option when eternal work is needing to be done. This IS the work. And I am not any where near finished.