I had to laugh when a friend recently told me that she can’t wait to get married and stay home, because she’ll have so much more time! More time? Recently, my husband and I have found ourselves chanting the quote, “leisure and I have parted ways,” and it’s definitely not because we have more time. We are allotted the same number of hours each day, but choose to do drastically different things with them. Although I am immensely blessed with the joy of NOT working outside the home, I find that the demands of loving God, my husband and my children are laborious and time consuming- and that is an incredible blessing!
A blessing? How can laborious and time-consuming work be a blessing? I never saw it that way until recently. When I had my son Elijah, I was flabbergasted! On TV, people with kids always looked amazing and went out with friends. The children were more like an accessory to their life bringing hysterical memories into the lives of everyone they touched and then easily tucked away for a debut in the next episode. Then… there was Elijah. He cried ALL the time, and the only thing he hated more than sleeping was knowing that I might possibly be sleeping! It wasn’t the life I planned. I worked until the end of my pregnancy, and like my friend, I thought, “all these areas of homemaking will be sooooo easy when I’m not working.” I didn’t realize the longer I’m in the home, the messier it will get! I spent many more hours cleaning and caring for my newborn than I ever imagined possible. In hindsight, it couldn’t have been as bad as I remember because I was still able to watch TV and go on lots of play dates.
So where does the idea of blessing come from? I was recently reading about the life of Joseph in Genesis 39, and I was struck by the fact that Joseph’s role as manager of Potiphar’s home was seen as a positive thing in Joseph’s life. And again when Joseph is put in charge of the King’s grain, it is a blessing. Do you consider managing your home a blessing? What about managing the home of another? Here Joseph was put in charge of caring for another’s property, no doubt with very long hours of labor and little to no perks, but he glorified God in that task and allowed HIS (God’s) character to shine through them.
I fear that we can quickly see the work we do at home as laborious and therefor pointless, but God never called us to an easy life. Over and over again we see men and women in the Bible struggling to serve God in all they do. Paul struggles in prayer for the Colossians! The Proverbs 31 woman gets up early and goes to bed late… This life is HARD! But how sweet is the joy of knowing that Christ is being exalted in our lives and is giving us all the power we need to continue to persevere.
Saying at home is hard, laborious work. The National Science Foundation concluded in 2005 that women do an average of 17 hours of housework each week. If you love serving the Lord, then you probably find many more additional hours spent keeping home as you open your home to show hospitality or serve. Add to those hours caring for the needs of your husband, children and others in the body of Christ…. I find that my days are fuller today than they were when I worked full time and went to school. Please note: I have the propensity to become busy which is not at all what I am talking about here! A schedule full of play dates or even ministry at the expense of caring for my husband and children is a completely separate matter. This is about persevering and working hard to glorify God while being busy at home.