Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not enough.

Several months ago, an acquaintance posted something on Facebook, directed at mothers, to the tune of

If you are busy working on the weekends -doing laundry, cleaning, etc.-, it is because you didn't use your time wisely during the weekdays.  Be a good steward of your time!

Those aren't the exact words she used, and the poster is a really wonderful woman: her intention was clearly to spur other women on to being stewards of their time and homes so that they could bless their family on the weekends.

However, those words have spoken guilt and accusation every weekend, since I've read them.

Because sometimes, my weekdays are full to the brim with
packing lunches
teaching 2 days a week
swim practice
piano lessons
bill paying
studying for a certification test
church obligations
errands
volunteering
reading books
answering oil questions
grocery shopping
cooking dinner
squeezing in a quick run
helping with homework
playing board games
unloading the dishwasher
picking up the shrapnel of a dog chew toy
helping a neighbor
taking a small nap
reading books

And.  So.
Sometimes our weekends have to include a family effort.
Sometimes they include
wiping the grime out of the bathtubs
eradicating the horrendous boy smell around the toilet
doing laundry
washing cars
planning meals
chiseling the leftover bits of dinner from the kitchen table
washing sheets
running a vacuum across the rug
wiping the toothpaste out of bathroom sinks

And every single weekend, when we have to take care of household tasks together, I hear the voice in my head
You should have taken care of that during the week.
Dan works all week - this is YOUR job - why isn't it done?
What did you do with your time?
You must be lazy.
You're failing at everything.
A good wife wouldn't have to ask her husband to vacuum; she would be making sure he got to watch the football game, instead.
A good mother wouldn't have her children spending their "free time" doing things like this; she would teach them to take care of their chores during the week.
What kind of home are you creating here?

It's been a millstone around my neck, I tell you.

Just this week, the Lord has freed me from those words of condemnation, and I'm not even sure quite how.  I've been diligent to spend some time with Him each morning, and as I've drawn close to Him, he's just relieved me from that burden.

He's reminded me that the Enemy can take what are meant to be encouraging words from a fellow mother and turn them into accusations, and I've been listening to those lies.

He's reassured me of His love, and His wisdom in giving me only good things.

There's such freedom in Jesus.
Set free from the Law of I should have and I ought to
Set free to love Him and the people He's given me

I'm not measured by the cleanliness of my floors,
or the height of my laundry piles.
I'm not measured by the number of things I can accomplish.

I'm measured by Jesus.
By how much I love Him,
and how much I love His people,
and somehow, that puts it all in perspective.

He would rather me joyfully clean bathrooms with my children,
that rush them through it with a heart of guilt.
He would rather me hug my husband while he's washing dishes,
than bitterly do it myself.
He would rather me have breakfast with the hurting friend,
than make sure the laundry's done by Friday afternoon.
He would rather me sit quietly at His feet with His Word
than have a pristine house.

Am I called to care for my home?  
Absolutely.
Does the way I do it measure my worth?
Absolutely not.

Such freedom.

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet,
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
Proverbs 17:1


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