"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sucked Dry!

If you, like me, are ever tempted to think that because you're exhausted by the end of each day after caring for the basic needs of your family that you must be doing something wrong...

or if you feel like all the feeding, clothing, teaching, training, moderating, and caring for your children physically, mentally, and spiritually day in and day out, is KILLING you...

and you feel like you're at your wit's end, and your body's end,
or you just wish this day would end...

Cheer up! That shows you must be doing something right!

Or so says Dr. Stephen Paulson (Professor of Systematic Theology for Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.), at a recent lecture on Genesis at a family camp for Mt. Carmel Ministries -
(This is taken from the audio track. )

“What God is doing in [your vocations in life] is not “making you happy”.
[Luther] understands that most of us think of our vocations as the form of our happiness, so that vocations in life are there to provide us a goal which, when reached, will actually produce happiness in us.  I can’t tell you how much misery this has created for people!

We’re actually attacking at the key point what is generally assumed to be the case in life, that you are placed in this world and you seek out your niche or vocation in this world in order to become happy! The greatest carnage this has caused is in marriage....

[People think] that marriage as an institution is an engine that is supposed to produce happiness in you as an individual and what happens very quickly to people is that they turn around and say, 'Well this engine isn't working very well here! My happiness is not as high as it was before!' 

[W]e have to come back to what these vocations are actually for
and how they are actually being used...

They are being used to provide an exercise of faith for you.
They are there to actually put you to death.
Your vocations are there for you to die, 
and to die as effectively as possible.

In your family God is actually making a way to create more life and sustain it. That's what your family is there for.  And what it's doing for you as an individual is it's putting you to death.

Vocation is not a "search for happiness," 
rather, it is like the very large sow at the State Fair 
with many teats all being suckled at once, 
with this goal at the end - 
your being sucked dry by the end of the day.

And at the end of the day you will find your joy and your comfort not in that this has made you happy, but that you trust that this is God's good will and that His promise remains."

Now I don't know about you, but that's one of the most real and comforting things I've heard in a long time.


  1. Thank you and amen. (And if I thought my three babies were a lot... Quite the illustration!)

  2. Okay from another perspective -have you ever been engorged! That also leaves you more inclined for infection etc. which seems more miserable of a state than being "sucked dry". God is gracious and good to let us get " sucked dry" so we are constantly in the need of ... well for a mother nursing it would be to drink a lot of things that are good for you - not necessarily white chocolate mocha and pepsi but water, milk- yes I said the milk word but the Bible has lots of good things to say for it, tea, okay even almond or rice milk etc. and in the realm that counts the Living Water of the Word which is what truly sustains us and becomes even more valuable. Listening to our husbands and actually hearing them which means doing what they say is important . This brings a lot of rest and peace to our vocation as they may have other ideas of what I should be investing my time into and how it is invested. I actually may not be so tired at the end of the day either. Life is good when given away. When all is said and done the investment in giving to neighbor- our children which are normally our closest neighbor teach us so much and others are affected. We don't necessarily know the outcome as remember, we leave room for the Grace of God and that He is being glorified not me and the outward appearance of everything at the moment may not be to my satisfaction but it is to Him. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. The Lord is so good even to let you be blessed and rejoice when one of the little (or big) sinners repents.... you can rejoice with the angels at such a miracle! Well;;; I will pray for you because you do have many bodies to care for and mouths to feed and a lot of rejoicing more than likely!... how wonderful. Jo Martinez

    1. True Jo, whenever we try to escape the cross of loving and long suffering with those nearest whom God has given us, we end up in a much worse state, under the tyranny of SELF! It is far better to be sucked dry through the presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, our reasonable service, than to be conformed to this world and it's created idols.

      "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Matt 16:25

  3. Amen, Leah. And Amen, Jo! You've said it wonderfully. Thank you.

  4. Preach it sister!!!
    I wrote about this last week too! http://www.weakandloved.com/2013/10/its-gonna-be-great-day-on-preparing-to.html

    There is a measure of comfort in knowing that suffering does not mean we are doing it wrong. AND, expecting to suffer, to have the old man killed all day long, really helps you appreciate those gracious gifts that God does still send even with the cross: naptime, october sky, coffee, etc!

    1. LeahOctober 30, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      "old man killed all day long" and "october sky"

      Both good points! :D

  5. This message is such a confirming word to explain the last 39 years of my life.Ha ha! (Our 39th anniversary will be this New Years Day.) I know Doug Wilson has written this to mothers also, that being exhausted does not mean you are doing something wrong! You're probably doing it right, and it's just exhausting!

    1. Thank you Mom! Very thankful for the last 39 years