Thursday, February 07, 2008

Serving the Lord - Reasonable Service.

I remember all too well how I "served the Lord" as a young mother by rising early each morning and dragging my three little ones out of bed to drive 25 minutes to our church/school so I could drop off my children in daycare and drive the Christian School bus (for free - they never paid me) to pick up the children to go to the Christian school. I would pop into the daycare and nurse my baby, then work in the library Monday to Friday, cataloging books and assisting teachers (not being paid). Then I would jump in the bus and do the hour-long run again, then pick up my poor children and head home. I was EXHAUSTED, but I thought I was "serving the Lord". My intentions were good, but I didn't know the Bible very well. I was a baby Christian, and I thought the sacrificial service was what God required of me.

But God is so gracious. He was gracious enough to give me a massive breast infection. I was so sick and so sore, I couldn't move off of my bed. I called out to God in my pain, then read in Timothy, "I would that the younger women marry, bear children, and guide the house."

I wasn't guiding the house. I had married at a young age (18) and I had borne three beautiful children, but I was away all day, Monday to Friday, and someone else was raising them.

The day I finally learned that I should be home honestly felt like Jesus sat at the end of my bed and explained it to me. I listened, and I understood for the first time that my place was to be in the home, caring for my children and my husband. Not long after that Epiphany, we moved, and I told the leaders in the church that I would no longer be driving the school bus or working in the library. You would have thought I had blasphemed, or murdered a child, or worse.

The leaders (pastors, deacons, associate pastors) should have told me, a young Christian mother, that my place was in the home, and that it was a high calling to be a keeper at home. Instead I was made to feel guilty for wanting to do what God had called me to do.

Thankfully, my husband was stubborn enough that when he heard my explanation and caught the vision of me being home and keeping my home, he stated adamantly that his wife would be remaining at home. They found someone else to do the jobs and I stayed at home with my children.

Blessed mother and wife that I am, I remained at home for the next 25 years. Most of you know that I did go out and work part time (two days per week) for a ministry near and dear to my heart. My homeschooling children were 17, 15, 13, 11, 9 and 6, and I thought that the older ones were capable and skilled enough to run the home while I was gone.

It did NOT work. I knew after a few months, but when I approached those in charge to ask if I could cut back to one day a week, or work from home, I was told that I was NEEDED, and that they could not get along without me. I tried again, a few months later. Finally, my stress level was so high that I was not sleeping at night. I felt guilty. I was neglecting my children, and I knew it, and they knew it. But no matter how much I pleaded with God and mentioned to others that my desire was to be home, nothing changed.

Until exactly one year ago, tomorrow. That Thursday night I was on my way home, having worked my two days. I had a trunk full of groceries because it was my habit to stop for groceries on the way home, thus eliminating another day away from my family. I was only about 15 minutes from home when an elderly man made a terrible mistake and turned right without looking, into MY lane.

You can read about the accident, here:

And you can rejoice with me, that God's mercies never fail. He used the accident to shake my world and to make me examine my priorities. He used the accident to make me unable to continue driving to work and sitting at a computer. He used the accident to bless our family abundantly.

Ladies, the leadership of your churches is not always right. Read the Word. Examine your heart before God. Remember, Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I work just as hard here at home as I did when I worked away, yet I delight in my work and take joy in my tasks. I enjoyed my work at the ministry, too, but my stomach was always in knots and I felt torn. I had at the back of my mind a running list of questions: "Are the kids alright? Are they doing their schoolwork? Did they remember to feed the animals? Did they take something out of the freezer for supper? Are they getting along?"

The biggest confirmation I have that I am right to stay home is when my six foot tall son gathers me into his arms and tells me, "It's not the same when you're not home, Mommy! I am so glad you aren't going out to work any more."

And I'm glad, too!

In Christ,

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