My the Lord help me to daily make Proverbs 31:25-27 my prayer,
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
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."
We have been reading this great little book in our ladies book club called Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. We joked and kidded each other about the size of the book because seriously it is about the size of one chapter of the last book we read (Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham). There is something amazing about a young mother sharing her experiences and being a transparent example of learning to listen to the Lord in the very little things that we seem to disregard so much in our day to day, and sometimes there are huge lessons in those tiny moments that leave us broken and so much more grateful than ever for the sovereignty and bounty of the Father in our lives. This little book has been a blessing and refreshing encouragement to keep on and keep focused on my Jesus.
I sometimes find myself complaining about making beds and cleaning my bathroom and, while in all honesty I just can't and don't want to imagine having to leave my kids for the day to work or send them to school, I have a hard time remembering that its all part of my service unto God first and then my family. This is when the feelings of being under-appreciated take over and I start to see every thing as not enough, I'm not productive enough, bitterness of cleaning and having it all undone is all my despairing eyes see.
The reality is that when I re-focus myself on my Father he gives me strength to keep up the cleaning cycle with the grace to pour out on my little ones and myself when I know it will get messy again. I love a clean house and its not an easy task but one that God is ever faithful in teaching me in, He is growing me in desiring a place of order for my tangent filled mind. I want to learn the art of being humbled and broken by God in all the little things of my day so that He may better be glorified. I want to enjoy cleaning diligently and with joy so that my children learn to have a heart for anything God wants them to do. I want every word of discipline to first convict me and drive me to knees seeking these changes in my heart so that my kids welcome correction even (and especially) when it hurts.
I have known the Lord for 20 years now (yikes), and I can honestly say that I have known Him, I have loved Him and He has built up a history with me. I was a broken and scared and mean and bitter little 11-year old when He chose to reveal himself to me and draw me unto Him. I'm so grateful. He gave me many dreams ans desires and sometimes I wonder why I'm so limited now than what I was as a single youth and truthfully sometimes I can fall into the thinking that misses who I used to be. One of the chapters I was reading reminded me that when those times come I need to thank God for that, Lord, I'm not who I used to be!!! Praise Him for that knowledge and hope. He has brought me to new depths and where I am now is who I am. Before I didn't know Him, now I do. Before it was just me, now I have a husband who calls me to a higher standard in my walk with God out of love and devotion to God himself and then me. Before I was a wife and now I am a mother called to sacrifice everyday for children that God has given me that have taught me so much about unconditional love and joy and forgiveness. Before I prayed for a little sister that was far off living with a dad given to godlessness, now I'm able to welcome her into a family that loves God and be an example to her as much as to my littles. And all this is because of His promise in Philippians 1:6 "And I'm sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
She says, "Who you are is where you are. ... "Now my character has some depth, some people to love, some hardships to bear. Now I have some material to work with."" (pg61, Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches) Its so true, the work of God began on the surface of my issues has since been working its way to the depths of my heart. I pray that as I remind myself that my identity is now daughter of the King, helper to my husband, mother to the children in my home, teacher and, yes, servant to them that I can do it well, that I can embrace it and love it and cherish all those moments that encompass it. I pray that the delighted shrieks of my children stop setting me on edge and set me to praising God for happy kiddos. May every time I make my bed, clean our floors for the hundredth time in the day, and make meals be a time of gratitude for the blessing of our home and the people and laughter and love that fill it. They, those people, are my calling, they are my identity.