Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Housewife Gone Astray

It's Saturday morning. A few hours of heaven on earth in my life. Yes, I still have chores, shopping, and cooking weighing on me (ain't that the truth even on our birthdays and on Mother's Day?), but there is no exact deadline, other than hungry stomachs.

As a homeschooling mom, Saturday did have perks for me, but it's different now. Now it's a huge relief, like the last contraction of an unmedicated childbirth, or like the last hundred yards of a marathon.


And Sunday afternoon and evening? They've changed too. The stress starts to build as I run around, getting the house ready for the next day, knowing that if I don't use my time wisely, I could be up until 2 AM cleaning and planning lessons or crafts. I used to get the Sunday blues as a public school teacher, too, toward the end when I had a lot of behavior problems and dreaded the weeks.

Because non-paycheck moms don't live under intense time pressure (excepting those with kids in a lot of programs) it's easy to get too relaxed and waste time. Poor time management makes it difficult to be a blessing to our families. If we fail to listen to the Holy Spirit's prodding on this, God will correct us in uncomfortable ways.

He promises to make us a spiritual success so we can finish the race. He promises. We need only respond.

I'm about to reveal a sin in my life and encourage you to avoid the same path and stay on higher ground.

Are you ready?

I would recommend every stay-at-home mom make a list of her typical daily pursuits--not how the days would ideally go, but how they actually go. Then, analyze the list to check on your time management. Did you spend two hours on Facebook or surf the Internet too long each day? Did some other guilty escape occupy too much of your time?

Don't be ashamed, but do give this to the Lord. He doesn't ask us to be perfect, but he does desire a responsive heart.

Prior to being forced into this babysitting job, I was spending too much time reading political Internet news. It became a habit that I justified in the name of being a responsible voter in an election year. But really? I was failing to put things in God's hands, and I admired one political person too much, reading everything I could find on him. Twenty to thirty minutes of news a day was probably appropriate, but I let it get out of hand and I didn't respond quickly enough to the Holy Spirit's prodding, or I responded inconsistently--doing better one day and falling "off the wagon" the next.

I'm ashamed before God. I served myself, not my family. It haunts me that my having to babysit is somewhat of a punishment or a correction. I didn't appreciate enough my status as a stay-at-home mom. And in a sense I didn't fear the Lord.

Staying at home to care for a family is a privileged position, not a right. 

To whom much is given, much is required.

I feel utterly exhausted most days and there's not much pleasure in my life right now. There's a lot of dread. I'm not bitter, but I am very, very sorry. God is using this time in my life, creating in me a purer heart, giving me a greater desire to be a godly mom and wife, instead of one who feels entitled and eats the bread of idleness.

Dealing with hard physical or emotional issues can cause us to seek guilty escapes, and those escapes, unchecked, can prove costly. Sin is always costly. It is forgiven, but still costly.

God promises to give us an escape route when we're tempted, but first, we have to recognize and acknowledge our sin. Escape routes mean nothing to a person in denial. 

Live in the light, God commands. Don't hide sin, acknowledge it and let yourself be purified.

God knows women. He knows what reminders we need. Our culture would have us believe men and women are the same, with the same capabilities and faults, but God doesn't seem to teach that.

Titus 2:3-5  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Proverbs 31:26-31 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ...

The Proverbs 31 woman, by the way, is not one woman. We can't all be great at everything. It's more of a list of admirable qualities we should pray into our lives. If you read it as a description of one woman, you'll surely get discouraged and give up.

A godly woman keeps a quiet time to center herself on Him. She gives the day's troubles to her Master. Like Mary, she says "Let it be to me as you say. I am the Lord's servant." She is unselfish and generous. She takes care of herself, but she doesn't indulge herself. She doesn't feel entitled, but grateful. She loves with her time, with her prayers, with her words and with her body.

When referring to God, godliness means perfection. But in humans, godliness is a submission, a acknowledgement of our complete dependence on the Savior and Master.

Our behavior is telling, though. It's an accurate picture of our spiritual state. We are told to look for fruit. When our time here is up, we won't be judged on the way we wanted to behave, but on how we actually behaved.

That's why I advise...take an inventory of how you spend your time. If you find error, there's a heart issue that needs revealing and cleansing. Every sin starts with the wrong attitude of heart.

Working moms are forced to be more time-efficient (unselfish with their time). They have a boss and multiple deadlines, at home and at work. A stay-at-home mom can potentially get more done, spiritually and relationally, but only if she lives each day as though God were watching.

1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

I trust God in this, and I don't believe life will be this intensely hard forever. I thank Him for not giving up on me, and for loving me enough to die for me and remake me into His image. 

In the meantime, there are two children who come here for 45 hours a week. If my heart is right, I can introduce the Lord to them and encourage their parents, who really have their hands full with some high-needs children. 

Has the Lord ever corrected you with a major life change? Did you recognize it as such, and how did it come out?

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