I don’t quite remember the first time I felt self-conscious and embarrassed when I told someone I was a full-time housewife and mother, but I’ve had lots of experience with that feeling to date. Mostly feelings of inadequacy and second-guessing what I was doing with my life.
It usually plays out something like this:
“So what do you do for a living?”
“I stay home and take care of my kids.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”—subject change needed because, WHATEVER. “Err…Where do your kids go to school?”
“We actually home school them.”
“What does your husband do for work?”
“He works at a church full-time as the youth pastor/business administrator.”
If you’re a stay at home mom, you know the stigma. We do nothing all day. We’re wasting our life. We’re wasting our talent.
Thankfully as I’ve aged, I don’t care about the current feminist rhetoric du jour and I’m more comfortable with my own choices. As I look around at the landscape of our troubled society, one thing is clear: people need to be cared for and children need guidance like never before, plain and simple. Who better to pour your life into than your own cherished husband, children, extended family, neighbors, and church?
I’ve been reading two books on calling that have resonated with me. The first one that I’m reviewing is entitled Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God, a book about our stay-at-home work and re-thinking the value of it. Courtney Reissig says,
“What I’ve learned is that God is glorified in the mundane work as much as he is in the magnificent.” (Kindle loc. 171)
“You image God uniquely when you work. You tell a story to the world about his goodness and glory through your work.” (loc. 234)
“We take the good things that God has given us (work, the home, etc.) and make them seem pointless. But for those in Christ, the futility of the ordinary chores isn’t the end of the story. Our work is meant to be a means of loving God through loving our neighbors, so the greatest love we can show them (even the neighbors in our own home), is to bring some sense of order in a broken and chaotic world. Sometimes this looks like opening your home to a friend who is weary and sometimes it looks like disinfecting the whole house after a stomach bug makes its way through.”
The chapter on imaging God by preparing and providing food for the people at your table really inspired me. We think of Jesus teaching and preaching, but the Bible shows Him eating and drinking with his friends and feeding His own manna, fish, milk and honey and more.
I’m also making my way through a gut-wrenching book written by a woman who has fostered over 100 children, Another Place at the Table which shows the devastating results of children who are *not* cared for and end up in the foster care system. It’s not for the faint of heart and as you can imagine. It is riddled with stories of physical and sexual abuse. It’s heartbreaking and convicting and inspiring and maddening all at the same time. It makes me want to care for my own and then some and has made me thank God for the service I can do for Him that come disguised as mundane and thankless jobs.
It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of comparing ourselves to others. But it’s imperative to know that the only thing that matters is the job that God has called us to.
If you are a mother, God has given you children to lead and guide. So much of what we do behind the scenes impacts generations. Our integrity in the home is no small matter and our kids pick up on our attitudes. These verses from Psalm 106 always convict me:
“They forgot God, their Savior…then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.” (21a,24,25)
These verses remind me that forgetting God leads to discontentment in our place and with His provisions and plans, which leads to complaining–which God hears, even when it’s in the quiet of our own house where we think nobody hears.
If you get a chance to read Glory in the Ordinary, I think you’ll really enjoy it. It will help you as you care for your home and family. Let me know if you pick it up.
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