This morning I woke up inspired by my fellow Mom bloggers. I have read and followed many encouraging women such as The Straightened Path, Raising Olives, Life in A Shoe (Congrats Kim on your new little one!) and Large Families On Purpose. I have found these ladies to be the constant voice of encouragement as we work to measure up to the Godly standard for a family. This is not a quick transition, as a post I stumbled on this morning reminded me so refreshingly. Growth takes time.
Our story has been one that has happened gradually over the matter of a few years. It started with my last pregnancy, and an encounter with someone who embodied the love and grace of Christ, that forced us to look at our lives and realize just how far we had walked away from God. Since that realization, coupled with a bottoming out of our family life, (You have to reach Rock bottom to know God is your Rock, right?) things have been changing bit by bit as the Holy Spirit changed our hearts, and used scripture to turn us more and more toward him. I won’t go through every little detail and change, but suffice it to say, 2 years later, we are a completely different family with different goals, priorities, circumstances, and daily lives. I went from being a career minded woman in school with a full time job to being a stay at home Mom homeschooling our oldest. My husband went from being a man who was nagged within an inch of his life to taking leadership of our family with love and mercy. Life has taken a complete turn around.
Today, as a part of that turn around, I was convicted (*several* times) about a constant issue of mine: Self Control. My lack of self control has not only affected my ability to be a helpmeet to my husband, but to properly train my children as well.
Reading a post on Large Families on Purpose about sharing bedrooms hit home. I am currently trying to rearrange our home to make room for a new little one. We are moving our youngest into a bedroom with our two oldest to make the “nursery” available for the new one. I am also coupling this project with Holiday Prep (I am a BIG Christmas Decorator! I LOVE Christmas!) House purging (We have too much stuff and not enough room!) and Seasonal Clothing Rotation. I am doing all of this at once, not because I thought it would be wise, but because they all affect each other! We need to find more space for the new baby, we need to rearrange clothing storage to do that, and the decorating is something I love to do… *blush*
But, in reading this post, seeing the beautiful bedrooms, and the practical, but elegant arrangements, I felt overwhelmed. How will I ever measure up? How will I ever begin to maintain a home that can not only house, but nurture and develop the character of 4+ children? I suddenly felt how woefully inadequate my skills are for such a task, and how weak I am in self discipline.
Every morning, as her children awaken, she has them start immediately on tasks, (morning duties and school.) and are not allowed to enjoy free time until those are complete.
I don’t do that. and I certainly don’t expect my children to. There was a time when I did, and our house was fantastically clean, and getting better every day, but this pregnancy has been rough, between the first trimester issues, then the second trimester began with other physical issues. Three weeks of sickness later, I have developed a routine that is an encouragement to laziness. We now have roughly an hour in the morning where my children awaken before I am ready to be moving. I’ve let them start their day with cartoons. Then, when I am up and moving with our youngest, I ease them into the school day, which has a few breaks for free time, and then, we finish sometime before supper. This drags our day out quite a bit, and keeps me from getting much done, other than school work and basic chores. When my husband gets home, I knuckle down and complete whatever I haven’t all day, while he keeps the kids busy. This worked when I was sick, but now that I am better. I know I have allowed bad habits to develop. I don’t know where to begin to bring everyone back from the land of leisure, and back into serious business.
I have lost sight of God, and begun to think in terms of me, and what little I have. Alone, I AM inadequate, but with him, “I can do all things.”
I have lost sight of the scriptural principle of work first, play later. I have let my sickness overpower a trust in the victory I have in Christ. I have lost sight of what God’s word has to say about diligence, perseverance, and submission to God’s plan. I know that Proverbs speaks often of the ant, and of the benefits of work. I know it is true, I’ve seen it, but it is oh so easy to slide by on only what is required, and nothing more. I can improve so so much. and I KNOW that that clean, elegant bedroom is the result of a well disciplined family who puts work first. I know firsthand the happiness of self discipline, but, I don’t measure up. So how do I fix this cycle of bare minimum and begin to achieve things in our home, our character that honor God? I can’t fix it, only God can. So, firstly, a bit of prayer, and acknowledgement of his strength, power, and victory in my life, and then I act on that. Right now.
Time to get on my knees, ask for his strength, and conviction, and then roll up the sleeves, and begin work. As my Mom says, start at your feet. 🙂