The Awesome Ministry of Homemaking
This post is intended for young Christian homemakers and mothers. I qualify this because the internet is a wide, vast land of varying opinions and worldviews, and I know this topic will be strange to many. Some will think that this topic is an “oppressed” position, even anti-intellectual. Some will roll your eyes and take pity at any poor woman who takes my position. If that’s you, I respect your right to live and think the way you do.
But in this space, I want to encourage the young Christian wife and mother to live counter-cultural. Since the world doesn’t applaud stay at home motherhood, since they are looked upon as the lowest of the low, like choosing an entry level career in dishwashing as a way of life, I want to strengthen your tired, lonely, and perhaps overwhelmed hearts and minds. I want to tell you that investing in your home and children is not a waste and you are not wasting your life. In fact, I believe you’ve chosen the most fulfilling career as a nurturer and caregiver of others.
Oh, I know many of you aren’t home “full time” because finances don’t allow it, and of course, working to help the family is a godly endeavor. But I also know that many of you are home by choice when finances would allow you to pursue other things, even hire a nanny, and your decision is looked upon as “unmotivated” at best and “lazy” at worst by those who don’ t value family sacrifice. I want you to know that I greatly admire you who chose to invest your lives in little ones.
No matter what culture tells you, you are doing a wonderful, needed work. (If you don’t think our families and homes need work, read the newspaper.)
We’ve been reading through the Old Testament as a community on the blog and I’m struck with how much loving God has to do with joyfully serving Him in obscure places. The Old Testament is like a cyclic reminder of God telling the children of Israel who they are, where they came from, who He is, and how they can be rightly related to Him.
It’s a record of God’s faithfulness to them and their wandering after other foreign gods. We’ve seen how their desires led them away from God time and time again.
And we’ve seen in our reading that life works best when God is our desire, and we keep Him in the forefront of our affection. Happiness is found in desiring Him and resting in His sovereignty. Unhappiness and wilderness wanderings (literally and metaphorically) happen when rogue affections drive our desires in a self-centered and errant-worshipping direction. When we worship God in ways of our own making, adding to, taking from, we always lose our way.
That’s why our desires will be a primary point in our discussion of homemaking. They are so important and instinctively propel us towards what we believe will bring us happiness.
For those following the world’s philosophy of happiness, your desires are seen as your “authentic self.” If you desire it, it must be who you really are and it must be ok to pursue. Is your desire not met in your husband anymore? Worldly philosophy says run and find another lover who will bring you happiness. Children cramping your style? Walk out on them. Our world takes things that should be precious (people, relationships, community) and makes them disposable. What a backwards, small view of life.
Of course, Scripture smacks against our man-centered philosophy. It teaches the faithfulness of God that transforms His children into faithful spouses, parents, friends, and neighbors. God is our Ultimate reality and “self -fulfillment” is a flimsy, shifting foundation to base our life upon.
That’s why what we love supremely is important. We can know all the right things in our head, but until our internal disposition is turned towards loving God with all our drive/desire/affection we can’t “think” or catechize our way into Christlikeness.
So as young mothers (or older mothers, or even grandmothers!) love for God and His vision of sacrifice and serving is the scaffolding that holds together a healthy “ministry” of motherhood and homemaking that affects communities and generations.
If love for God is not primary, selfishness is our natural default, and the always changing manifestations of “self” will reign.
You’ll find yourself at odds with your young children who aren’t on the same page with your desires. They won’t seem to share your ideas of peace and quiet, order and kindness, and making mom look good in public. They won’t praise you for the peas you set before them on the table. They’ll throw them and tell you they don’t like them. You’ll view all their behavior through the lens of how this affects you and your happiness, rather than what God is trying to teach you as you work in this moment for Him.
Your children won’t fulfill you. And that’s a good thing, because only God is meant to satisfy our deepest longings and He’s the only one who won’t let us down.
So as we start this new series on homemaking and motherhood, I want us to realize that they are not an end in themselves, but a way to love God and others here on this earth. They can’t become idols, our identity, or a false standard we hold others to. We can’t become homemaking legalists, looking around to see how others are measuring up, policing and commenting on the work ethic or lack thereof of others. That’s not our job and that is a sign of sinful comparison. (Isn’t it amazing how we can take good things and twist them into self-aggrandizing things? God help us!)
Our job, dear mother, wife, and homemaker, is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and ability. It means we do our best, as unto the Lord. It means we love our neighbor enough to assume they are doing the best they can, and to stay in our own lane and serve God in the ways He calls us with the resources and opportunities He provides and presents. It means we look well to the ways of our household, and open our hands with kindness where we can. It means we live with open hearts and homes realizing the potential each home has a source of light for the kingdom of God.
So if this topic of motherhood and homemaking interests you, join me as we discuss what I believe is the most fulfilling, undervalued asset of our time, for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the health of our communities: the Christian home.