Friday, May 9, 2014
A Call to Realness: Going from Picture-Perfect Homemaker to a Woman in Need of Grace
Upon getting married nearly two months ago and undertaking the role of keeper of my home, I have had many thoughts whirling around in my head as to the work and ministry of homemaking. There are countless wonderful blogs out there which so aptly point to the purpose and design God has in mind for the home. These portray the home as a domain of hospitality, dominion, ministry, a place for “transforming souls”, if you will. Indeed, the home is all that and more, and as homemakers, the queens of our homes, the ones whose role it is to make sure our homes are carrying out that calling for which they were created, we have a high and lofty vocation and responsibility on our shoulders. We should take great pride in this, ladies. We are the sole ones whom the Lord has called and equipped to carry out this most important, world-changing mission. Our work is valuable and important, friends! What we do in our homes has the potential to alter the course of nations. But in light of all this, I think we sometimes make a mistake. And that mistake is that we, on our blogs specifically, have the tendency to portray our view of the day-to-day work that must be done in a home as all-glorious, magical, amazing, and fulfilling. Now, don’t get me wrong-we shouldn’t view our work as drudgery. Not at all! Far from it, in fact. Even little things like cleaning the tubs, scrubbing toilets, and washing dishes have an eternal impact on those who enter the four walls of our homes and are a ministry in and of themselves. But when we begin to have blogs depicting the excitement we receive from sweeping the floor for the third time in one day, this is where I begin to feel uncomfortable.
What I mean is this: while every little aspect of homemaking is indeed valuable, important work which we should delight in and find fulfillment from, no homemaker feels that way at all times. No homemaker wakes up each morning doing jumping-jacks and singing, “Hallelujah, glory be, today the dusting is the thing for me!!” While that may be the attitude for which we should strive, we do not live in a broadway musical and no homemaker has or ever will arrive at that point, living in such a way day after day. It just doesn’t happen. And this brings me to my main point.
The last thing we want to do in our Christian walk is to act like we have it all together. Like we have somehow arrived at perfection and everyone else would do well to follow in our footsteps. Oh, and if they don’t? Well, that poor, pitiful sinner! Such an attitude, though human and so easy for us to fall into, is the direct antithesis of meekness, grace, love, and compassion-traits for which we should be known.
So, here’s is my proposition, ladies: let’s be real. Let’s admit it when we’re overwhelmed with all the tasks on our to-do list. Let’s confess it when we need to clean the bathroom, sort the laundry, scrub the baked-on pots and pans, and dust the bookcases when all we want to do is curl up in our recliners with a cup of tea and a good book. Let’s share with a friend about those days when the thought of mopping the kitchen floor detests us and seems empty and pointless and it would be way more fun to go a-pinteresting or to chill out for hours on end on Facebook. Or, hey, how about total honesty-not just sharing that we feel that way sometimes, but telling how we actually give into those feelings sometimes and how there are, in fact, days when the computer screen receives far, far more of our attention than the home we make for our families does. Can I get an amen, ladies? ;)
As Christians, our mission is to be an ambassador of Christ and to minister to and love others. We are to lift each other up, encourage and edify each other, love on each other, and be a blessing. And the only way we can do that is if we are open with people. If we share with others our own failures, struggles, and weaknesses. There is no glory in portraying oneself as the quintessential homemaker. Certainly we are to strive for such a high and lofty goal and endeavor to be an inspiring example of godly womanhood to others. But the most inspiring women I have met have been those who easily admitted they didn’t have it all together. Who would tell you point blank that they had to rely on the strength of Christ to be all they were called to be and to do all that they were called to do. What made them inspiring? It was the fact that the work of Christ was so evident in their lives-the proof that God is at work and that He will complete the good work in us which He has begun. That we are not alone and without help in the world.
One of the notions that many brides-to-be have, I think, is the notion that married life will be a fairytale at all times. Now, when you’re married to the perfect man for you and are head over heels in love, marriage can certainly feel that way. But along with marriage itself comes all the responsibilities of keeping a home functioning in working order-many of which one has to carry out when her beloved husband is away at work and things seem decidedly less fun sometimes. And this is something a new bride learns very soon upon coming home from her honeymoon. Because, I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: I do not do jumping jacks and shout for joy at the thought of cleaning the bathtubs. Even in my newlywed state! ;) That is a job I have always struggled with attempting to like, and while things are a little different now that they are my own bathtubs rather than just my parents’, I have nevertheless not grown into an instant lover of bathroom-cleaning!
Herein is the rub. That newly-married girl who finds herself suddenly not quite as enamored with all things homemaking as she thought she would be, could find herself stumbling onto a blog wherein is written article after article on the glories of working at home and begin to feel inadequate or like she doesn’t quite measure up. Now, please understand, that as stated above, I believe in, espouse, and delight in the ministry of working at home and believe all Christian women are to do likewise. But we need realness. We need to know that we are not failures. That there are other women out there who struggle with the same issues we do when it comes to delighting in the home and who also struggle with the thought that we just do the same tasks day after day after day and wonder if our work is really all that profitable. It is when we come clean about those thoughts and admit our struggles that we can gain strength and perspective from others, and in turn lift up and encourage other downtrodden, discouraged women.
So, ladies, here is what I have in mind: by all means write about the glories of homemaking and the irreplaceable work that is the homemaker’s. Encourage each other and lift each other up by letting fellow ladies know that everything they do at home is worthwhile and important. But also encourage one another in another way-allay other ladies’ fears that there is something wrong with them when they don’t like to dust by being open and honest about your own distaste for mopping (or fill in the blank with whatever it is ;) ). Then lift each other up, express that the other person is not alone and that you, too, have those days, and pray for and encourage each other in your daily walk as keeper at home. We’ll all be the better for it! :)