Hey Comin' Home friends!
I know it's been a long time.. a very long time lol. But this post I wrote for my devotional blog, At Home with God, seemed so appropriate for Comin' Home, that I thought I'd share it, in case it would encourage some of you. :) I'm in the middle of wedding prepartions for my daughter, so I really can't write in both places, but thought this might be helpful.
The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike." 1 Samuel 30:22-24
I never expected to find myself shaken about my belief in the value of my role as a stay at home wife.
Being a stay at home mom makes sense to most people. You might not choose to take that route, but if you do, most people agree that it's a valuable role. Who could question the validity of caring for your children?
But mine are grown now....
At the moment, I have a husband, and three adult children living at home. They are all out of high school. Two of the kids here at home have started careers which are flourishing. One is in college, doing well, and pursuing a degree as well as managing a college club and working a part time job.
Conversations around the dinner table often reflect the work news of the day.
How I rejoice! It truly makes my heart sing to hear the news that each of our kids is doing well or making progress in their jobs. I don't care what the job is--that they are making progress and feeling good about their efforts is huge to me. :)
But of course, I have nothing to add to that kind of conversation. I don't have a 'career'... at least not a paying one. lol
Laundry, dishes, yard work, bill-paying, car repairs, tax keeping, grocery shopping, letter-writing, and sending gifts and cards, just doesn't normally add up to 'career' in the eyes of most people.
Being a very ordinary human person however, I have the same need for 'validation', wife and mom that I am, that everyone else does.
The mommy part has changed a lot. Hungry grown kids show up regularly... they whisk off to their jobs.. and whisk back in at some point later in the day.
Occasionally, they don't even show up at all lol.
I have more than once posted, "Has anyone seen my son?" on Facebook hoping that one of my youngest's friends will get the word out that his cell phone is out of power and I wonder.. should I worry or not? He's the baby at 19 so we aren't quite out of the mommy-son stage yet. I figure if the police call then I have grounds for worry--otherwise I assume they just forgot to call. lol
So, I'm facing the reality that soon there won't be any 'kids'. Can I justify staying home when they are gone? This was the question looming on the back burner of my mind today.
I once had grand dreams... I went to college for Accounting--but never finished school, was certain I'd be a published poet, musician, or at least a secretary. Eventually, I did some measure of all of those things. For about five years, I climbed the secretary ladder.
Then I married, had children, started homeschooling... and the great race of mommy-hood began.. plus teaching. I didn't do all that to near the standard that I had hoped to.
27 years are gone now and of course, as I listen to the excited chatter of our children's dreams, and watch them and my husband climb the corporate ladder, and read friends's posts about their careers, I feel very happy for them but just a tad bit like an odd fish in today's corporate pool.
In a world where your whole life's worth can easily be summed up in terms of a job title and a hourly or yearly amount of money, it could be very easy to see little if any value in a woman choosing to stay at home and manage it for the sake of others.
At one time, that wasn't the case. Many women did exactly that. Most people didn't question the value of a having one adult choose to maintain a comforting and supportive place to come home to at night for the sake of the wage earner (i.e. hubby).
So, perhaps you can't relate to my dilemma, but for those of you who are newly married and don't have children yet, or for young mothers who are struggling with your value in a world that values people mostly based off of their education or salary, I hope this devotional will help.
The fact is that my real identity is in Christ. Frankly, everyone's is.
What if you had to work a blue collar job all your life? Basically I do. My job is 75% physical labor. What if you lost your job? What if you were sick most of your life? What if you were handicapped and couldn't 'contribute'?
Does our value and identity really reside in job titles and salaries or even talents? No of course not.
Ultimately our value comes from the fact that the Lord loves us.. and He put us here to bring Him glory.. not ourselves. I am so grateful that I don't have to have anyone else's approval or appreciation to recognize that I mean a whole lot to my Heavenly father and to the Lord (not to mention my husband and family).
We are here on the Lord's business. If that means being married, having children, or working, then so be it. I will remain in whatever calling I have been called to. No need to change now.
For me, that calling is, at least for now, a stay at home wife. Might I ever 'work'? Maybe. :) Maybe not.
Everyone should remain after God calls him in the station or condition of life in which the summons found him.
Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that trouble you. But if you are able to gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. 1 Corinthians 7:20-21
The Lord knows best and my husband or I might decide for me to do that. The implication here is that remaining in your calling is not some 'legal requirement' but that we ought not to be so quick to jump into something else, just because we are a Christian.
In other words, what job you have is not the most important thing... Where you can best serve Christ is the key.
I volunteer in my spare time, as I have for many years in some form or other, and what a blessing that is to others as well. If we all work, who will do those things that no one can afford to pay someone to do?
But the Lord knew I was feeling a little unsure of my earthly calling.. of being a stay at home wife. How gracious He was to give me the assurance that even in the world's eyes, my job in a 'support' role was immensely valuable.. salary or not.
In a world of stress, and busy schedules... what a privilege it is to have someone willing to 'stay home with the baggage'. There have actually been studies done on the value of having someone who can flex constantly and relieve the pressure. I am that someone.. and proud to be. :)
Need the mail picked up, a spare car, someone to run down to pay a bill, pick up a spare part or a package or a prescription, take a meal to a sick friend, lend a listening ear? Everyone in my family seems to need that. One of the most difficult things for those who work outside the home, is not having that 'someone' who can do all of those things.
My dear Hubby has the most difficult sort of job I can imagine. He's only home one hour per day. I can't even fathom the constant stress that means. Some guys have it worse. So do some women.
Can you even imagine what that means for a man though? He can't fix our cars or arrange for them to get fixed. He can't deal with bills or manage our property (seven acres worth) or home repairs, unless he uses his entire weekend to do that. That would amount to zero rest or down time.
So I do all of that and delight in it. I even have figured out how to maintain our computers, set them up, install the OS, and do all sort of other computer related tasks.
I also support my adult kids by providing a clean, orderly, pretty home and most of the times food--food is important. Most evenings, I've cooked something they can come home and graze off of.
Our meals are very weird now...I never know who is going to be home when. But I cook stuff assuming that someone.. perhaps with friends in tow.. will want to eat it. lol
Until this morning, I had never really thought seriously about the value of a 'support' role of SAHW, but it is hugely important. I needed to have peace about that.
One of my favorite books, Home Comforts, talks about the incredible need our society has.. for a home.. not just a house in its introduction. Clean food, clothes, and life happening in that home... someone to come home to who cares. That's my job.
Today, I will be encouraged, by the Lord's gracious thoughtfulness in sending David's 'ordinance' my way.. that those who stay with the baggage, are just as valuable as those that bring home the 'booty'. lol We may not be worth much in today's cultural estimation, but in God's eyes, our role is just as valuable. If you struggle with this.. your value.. or you're just plain exhausted and feel you can't live up to some indefinable standard.. this book might encourage you. One Way Love: Inexhaustable Love for an Exhausted World
Ultimately, our value is not in our role at the moment, (man or woman)--it's in Christ's death and resurrection and our pursuit of Him. Jesus can and will use us wherever we happen to be in life if we'll let Him.
Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.7"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Luke 12:7,8
Dear Lord, Whatever our earthly calling, whatever our roles, whatever our income or lack thereof...thank you that we are precious in your eyes. You didn't have to comfort me or assure me of that, yet you took the trouble this morning to do exactly that. Thank you!
For my friends who might be reading, regardless of their earthly situation, poor or rich, employed or not, cook, baker, candle-stick maker, we are all disciples of Christ and children of a King!
Our jobs and salaries can change in a moment, yet we are still valuable in your eyes. Help us, like Paul, to be content whatever our situation.
Thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us and that you look on our hearts not our outward situation or appearance.
May we do our best in your strength to honor you.. whether slave or 'free' as Paul once reminded new Christians in Acts.
Our life is hidden in you and no one truly knows our personal worth or value but you. Thank you for caring for us. Help us to trust you and obey you in whatever calling we may be.
In Your precious name I pray, Amen Donna ~ At Home with God