Here is part of a recent question that was asked of Teri:
My children are 8, 6, 3, and 17 months. I homeschool. I had a miscarriage 5 months ago. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in everything to do. The home stays relatively picked up. It stays cleaned. We don’t have fancy meals, but they’re always on the table and usually on time. The children are well-behaved most of the time. They have issues that continually crop up because they’re human and sometimes these overwhelm me. So what is the problem? I feel like I’m going non-stop. Jennie
Can you relate to Jennie? Have you felt like this? Maybe you are struggling with some of these same emotions.
Through my twenty-seven years of being a wife and twenty-five years of being a mother, I have come to see that what the Lord has called me to do is just plain “hard work”! There are no guaranteed vacation days, no promised full nights of sleep—not even an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom! However, Scripture tells us in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” There is nothing of more eternal value that I could invest my life in—if working hard is even truly suffering—than my husband and the children the Lord has given to me.
My first step in how to handle my emotions concerning “hard work” is through my expectations. If I expect to complete my work by dinnertime so I can sit and relax all evening, then I am frustrated and perhaps even angry with circumstances or people whom I see as robbing me of “my” time. On the other hand, if my expectation is that being a mother is a difficult job that goes from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night—plus some nighttime interruptions—then I am only doing what I expect to do!
My next step is to recall why I am doing what I am doing. In Romans 12:1 we find these words, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Isn’t this what we are doing every day as we serve our families? We are choosing to be living sacrifices that are holy, acceptable to God, and our reasonable service. We could be investing our time in many areas of our own pleasures and interests. Instead we are making the choice to be a living sacrifice and obediently follow what Jesus Christ has called us to do.
Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” In John 12:24 we find: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
I have not been called to follow my pursuits. Rather, I have been given a specific calling to “well doing” that says I am to be sober, to love my husband, to love my children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, and obedient to my own husband, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:4-5). This is “hard work.” It starts the minute I open my eyes in the morning.
The final suggestion I want to make is to simply accept the “hard work.” Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying there will never be any time for rest, relaxation, or pursuing something I am interested in doing. What I am encouraging is that it not be my focus and goal. I don’t want a craving for “my” time to cause me not to have the meek and quiet spirit that is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4).
It is interesting that the more I submit my heart to the Lord’s direction to be content (Philippians 4:11) and to be grateful (1 Thessalonians 5:18), the more my “hard work” is what I like doing. It becomes what I choose to do even if I don’t have to do it.
When my mind is set on things above (Colossians 3:1-2), then days filled with work and activity are blessed and a joy. I feel a sense of peace and contentment in the tasks set before me. How easy it is, though, for me to take my eyes off the Lord and His calling to be an obedient, living sacrifice and instead have them on me.
This is most likely to happen when I get tired. Then my thinking becomes particularly skewed. Here are the kind of “poor me” thoughts I will have: “No one picks up anything in this house except me! The children will never do their chores without being reminded or disciplined! I have more to do than is possible!”
These thoughts are not true! At that point, I should battle the thoughts through prayer. So often, though, I am too tired to even do that and tears combined with those false ideas are my companions. However, with a good night’s sleep, I find the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. I am again ready to face the day, where the truth is that the children do accomplish some of their chores without being reminded, family members do put things away, and I can do what the Lord has called me to do.
This Mom’s Corner is not about schedules, timesaving suggestions, or ways to simplify our lives. These are important, and I will be writing about them in next month’s Mom’s Corner. However, I think we would do well to also encourage each other in the “hard work” we have set before us. Our labors are our living sacrifices—the sacrifice of ourselves. Through our “hard work” we die to ourselves, but live to the Lord. The rewards we will see in our husbands, children, those around us, and even our own hearts are the rewards that truly matter!
Sisters, may I encourage you that you have chosen a good thing when you obey the Lord’s calling on your life to invest it in your family by serving them. May I also suggest that this lifestyle is one that requires constant, vigilant, “hard work” with bountiful rewards now and in eternity. Let “hard work” be our expectation, one which we seek the Lord to help us embrace with joy. May we die to the wants we have for our “free time” and invest all that it takes in the areas in which the Lord has called us to serve. May we simply, contentedly, and happily accept the work that comes with serving our families!