"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
"The reality that few of us are willing to admit is that families need mothers and wives devoted full time to them..... My girls do have a choice....
A choice to not
feel bad about choosing to pour their lives into raising people. A
choice to say “no” to what almost everyone around them tells them they
should do. A choice to be home-builders, upon which a healthy society is
made. A choice to stand with their husbands and create a shelter for
him from the battering of the world. A choice to be everything to a few
people and, clothed in strength and dignity, to have some left over to
care for the needs of others around her."
In fact, one of the commenters on the post, Cindy, had a great word to add too, I thought -
"I think a lot of young women (and older ones, too) think of their
success in terms of visibility–what the public can see us doing, what we
can get financial and personal standing from–rather than being able to
accept that our work’s success can only be judged by those few people
who know us. Motherhood and wifehood–womanhood, in fact–is a private
thing, but we’ve all been raised to think of ourselves as public
If we’re not doing for the collective, we’re not thought to be doing
anything at all. But a life outside the home is not the only thing worth
striving for. In fact, a family’s life without a warm home as a
center–with someone there to KEEP the center warm–is pretty barren."
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
[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.
... "Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.
Yes, she is just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, “hey, it’s just the sun.”
This post from the Femina blog encouraged me once again in my vocation as a mother and homemaker. It is a good reminder of our priorities in normal, ordinary, daily life. Below is an excerpt, but I think the whole post is worth reading.
"When push comes to shove and it is either the house or the kids, God chooses the kids, and He tells me to. When it is the laundry all done or the kids all loved, it had better be the kids."
"Of course God is honored when I am combining joy with closet organizing. Laughter with clean floors. Gratitude with getting all the dishes done. But you know what? If something has got to go around our house, it better not be my attitude. Because that is the one thing that God actually told me to keep track of."