What do you want to be when you grow up? You probably heard it a lot growing up; kids with big dreams of becoming astronauts and ballerinas with their world at their fingertips with limitless possibilities.
I, on the other hand, just wanted to be a wife and a mother. That's it.
Although now that I think about it, I have over 10-years’ experience as a stay at home wife and mother and sometimes I'd rather be an astronaut. It's quiet in space and I could nap. Just kidding.
I know what you're thinking. You only wanted to be a wife and mother? Boring, right?
I watched my mother put everything she had into our many homes we lived in. Each one not lacking in comfort no matter how run down or structurally sound it was.
My mother homeschooled my sister and I, the house was always spotless, Dad was home by 5 or 6, dinner was cooked every single night, and we all sat at the table together. In the evenings we'd play outside, watch television, take a bath and go to bed at 9:00pm. Church was on Wednesday night's and Sunday's and we were there every time the doors were open. Whether it was to clean, have praise team practice, drama practice, homecoming, potluck, a singing, revival or whatever...we were there. I mean, I'd walk over and get ketchup for my dinner if we were out. We practically lived there, but I digress. Some would call that predictable, I call it safe. Mama always made a house and our lives feel like home. Looking back, I still don't know how she did it all, but I do know now why she was tired!
I wanted to grow up, fall in love with a tall, dark, and handsome man, meet him at the door every evening to take his coat and sit him at the table to a perfectly cooked meal, have 2 or 3 kids that wore matching clothes, have a white picket fence, wear an apron and bake all day. I wanted to make them a home to feel safe and nurture a spirit of comfort, love, and warmth. A place they would rather be at over anywhere else; a haven. I wanted to be the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman. It sounded pretty perfect to me.
Following my mother's footsteps, I quickly realized my big dream wasn't always a dream. There are no picket fences and it's not always fun. Sometimes it's only sacrifice and survival. It's tiring and relentless. IT IS HARD and it is far from perfect. I mean, we grow these tiny humans in our bodies for 9 months and they come into the world looking like their father! God's sense of humor is remarkable.
Some days I watch all the other wives and moms and I compare myself. In my eyes, they have it all together. They have more kids than I do, they work a full time job outside of the home, they wear real clothes and not yoga pants with messy buns, they have 2 incomes, and they go and go and go. I question myself, “Am I doing enough for my family?” Then God reminds me, this is a MINISTRY. Anyone who is in or has been in any type of ministry knows it is NOT easy and it is not perfect.
Day after day, week after week, I tirelessly serve everyone else and sometimes they don't even notice. I'm like an invisible fairy that magically cleans and cooks everything. That in itself can be hard. As wives and mothers we want to feel appreciated. We want to feel like what we are doing matters. Whether it is homemaking or working a full time job, we want to feel like it ALL matters. Every day that I clean a toilet, vacuum a floor, launder clothing, bathe a child, wash a dish or cook a meal, I am ministering to my family. What a different outlook! Now, that makes my work a little more joyful!
Reading Proverbs 31 and trying to apply it to modern society can be overwhelming, I know! Thinking, God wants me to wake up before everyone else and do absolutely everything with a smile on my face?!?! Please!!!! Some would say that's nonsense before caffeine! Smiling before dawn is absolutely absurd. I don't think that's what He means.
If you are striving for perfection, you are already setting yourself up for failure. How can peace reside in your home if peace does not reside in your heart? I don't think Proverbs 31 is about being a perfect woman. It is not about living a perfect "Suzy Homemaker" life. I believe it is about living your life as a wife and mother simply with intent.
Mamas, you are the Godly glue that holds your family together. Your family notices what you do whether you believe it or not. If you feel it or not you are the strong warrior of your home. You set the entire feeling and mood of the house. God has already equipped you for this role, for this ministry.
Of course you're going to grow tired and weary. It comes with the territory. Kids are crazy midgets and husbands can be clueless.
I now realize though, that my dreams actually did come true. I don't "have" to, but I "get" to nurture, comfort, and love my family in the day to day tasks before me. The sacrifice of not having 2 incomes, the newest gadgets, the nicest clothes, and going everywhere all the time is worth it to me, because I am doing what my heart loves.
It is okay to let the laundry wait until tomorrow so you can read to those big eyes looking at you. It's okay to wash the dishes tomorrow so you can hold the hand of your husband tonight. It’s okay mama.
Remember to give yourself grace for the moment. Live this life God has given you for purpose NOT for perfection. How will we raise our arrows without it?