Are you at peace right now, my friend? As you search your heart and mind, is it in a good place? A holy place?
The last several days, this has not been so for my husband and me. While we both feel a dog would reduce our son's ADHD/OCD stress--and therefore the whole family's stress--at the same time, it seems like we can't squeeze our budget any tighter, and dogs require more than leashes and dog food. Our heads are spinning and yet medicine is clearly not helping our son's neurological issues enough. Something more is needed, and our friend who suffers from OCD herself confirms that, yes, dogs do help.
I need a job, my head screamed. We simply cannot live any longer without me bringing home an income of some sort. I checked again for online writing jobs, but the niches advertised were not faith, homeschooling, education, or parenting/mothering.
I've long wondered how mothers maintain professional blogs/work-from-home jobs and keep up with technology and three or four social media accounts, and still say hello to their children. Social media, I'm sure, like blogging, has its good points, but it has taken many a mother down by Internet and status addiction. I hate social media and the thought of its mandatory presence in the life of writers turns my stomach. I've read from more than one writer that she went kicking and screaming into social media, to reluctantly honor a writing contract with a publisher.
We can't get these years back and children can easily feel emotionally neglected by a mother whose face is always down in a phone or staring at a computer screen, too distracted to listen attentively or truly care what a child is saying. The computer is every bit as addicting as drugs or alcohol.
As I perused the writing jobs and thought about deadlines and the need for a perfect copy, and the time to sell oneself and maintain a social media presence, I collapsed onto the computer desk, absolutely sure working from home is not for me.
It's one thing to love the written word and blow off a little steam by writing myself into an understanding of what God is saying to me--to produce typo-infused blog posts several times a week. But it's quite another to think about your audience and how you can serve it. Or the technology and how you can master it. Or your "brand" and how you can develop and market it. Some women are so talented and organized, they can accomplish more than the majority and still be a loving wife and mother. I am not that woman.
My heart is at home...not the home that is a place, but the home that is God's heart for a woman. My heart is with my children and cheering them, shepherding them, teaching them, praying for them. My heart is with my husband and praying for him and loving him.
The key, my friend, to a heart and mind that is at peace, is to know what God asks of you and do it.
He asks us to pray and drink of His Holy Word, he asks us to be keepers at home, he asks us to be servants. A servant isn't someone who just serves, for in deciding where and how you will serve, you maintain the control. A true servant gives God all the control, even when the wait or the task seems impossible. A true servant lays down his life for the Master...his own desires, his ego, his own comfort.
When I quit working in 2005, it was with the understanding that God never asked me to bring in an income in the first place. Women are supposed to be resourceful and frugal with money, but they aren't asked to support the family. Contributing regular support through a paying job is extra-Biblical for women. Not wrong necessarily, just something extra that God didn't command. As I said, some women can do this extra, and still do what God commanded of them.
It wasn't working for me. Even as a part-time, work-from-home mom, I couldn't keep up with everything and the result was a woman who wasn't doing anything well, least of all the very things God asked her to do.
I had to relearn all these lessons this week, and finally, Saturday morning, my peace returned.
Similarly, my husband isn't asked by God to support us in style, or to support a dog as well as us. He's supposed to support us to the best of his ability, and lead us spiritually as well. We can't heap extra things on ourselves and expect to maintain peace and joy.
Matthew 11:30 (NLT) For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."
1 John 5:3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
We may or may not need a dog. Only God knows for sure. The Bible teaches that it's not really my husband who provides, but God. My daily bread is not dependent on my husband's pay rate, but on God's love and mercy. When I seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, my daily bread is secure.
If a dog is necessary for our peace, God will provide it as one of "these things that will be given to me as well."
Do Not Worry (source here)
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee ?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
He knows what is needed. I am His servant and my thoughts and heart need to be focused on that. On being ready and willing to bend to His will and live this: "Your Kingdom come...Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
How are you, friend? Are you at peace?