Friday, August 19, 2011

The Spiritual Worth of the Stay at Home Mom

    “You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the fifteenth time today.  Matching up socks, sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away.”  Listening to the new song by Steven Curtis Chapman, I wondered if he had a hidden camera in my house.  I’m sure I’m not alone.
    Being a stay at home mom definitely has it’s challenges.  I miss my career.  I long for adult socialization.  I wish I still had the spending money to go shopping for pretty clothes and get manicures at the nail salon.
    I honestly wouldn’t trade these things for the opportunity  I have to be at home with my children, but I do miss having a “real” job.  Besides what I miss about going off to work, I personally struggle with doubts about my worth and what I’m contributing to our household financially.  Every time I swipe a credit card or sign a check I can’t help but feel a tinge of guilt about spending what I didn’t earn.
    I’m not writing this to tell other moms that they should quit their jobs and stay at home.  I believe everyone should do what God has called them to do.  The Bible says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”  (1 Peter 4:10)  It was just time for me to get into the word and find out just what it said about my new “job”.
    My biggest struggle is that I feel as if  I’m not contributing enough.  I’m not making any money to add to our household budget and that’s a tough pill for me to swallow.  Having worked since I was fifteen years old, I’ve been used to my own personal pocketbook for a long time. I also spent many months during my single days struggling to make ends meet.  I can surely crunch the numbers, now, to rearrange our budget, but I can’t throw any more change in the pot, and I feel bad about that sometimes.
    Contrary to my own anxieties, the Bible tells me not to worry about money.  “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5)  “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  (1 Timothy 6:7-10)  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
    Sometimes I feel sad or ashamed that I don’t get to be “pretty” anymore.  I don’t wear nice clothes.  Why bother?  I will just spill bleach on them, splatter grease, or get spit up on.  I’ve traded in my long, styled hair for a shorter, simpler cut.  There isn’t much time for makeup and jewelry gets yanked off within minutes of wearing it.  This is especially tough for me coming from the beauty industry, but the Bible tells me that “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  (1 Peter 3:3&4)
    I also worry what everyone else thinks about my “job”.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “do you work or do you  just stay home?”  That really stings.  It’s not in my nature to be sarcastic or argumentative, but contrary to what today’s society may think, I do not sit on the couch eating bonbons and watching talk shows on television.  We stay very busy.  Rather than angrily justify myself to my phantom readers by listing our day to day routine, again I must remember to turn to the Word. 
    I remember reading in the Bible how Titus was supposed to teach the older women of the church so “…they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:4)  This scripture was under the heading “Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel”.  Did you ever stop to think that something as simple as being a good wife and mom is actually spreading the good news about Jesus?  
    In that song, “Do Everything” Chapman later goes on to sing
“Little stuff big stuff in between stuff
God sees it all the same
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you do
Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you
To do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace with every move that you make
And every little thing that you do”
    Everything we do should be to bring glory to God.  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Even if its something as simple as taking care of your home.  “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith…” (1 Timothy 5:8)  That last verse was something I just recently learned.  Not only am I serving when I take care of my family, but its actually a disservice if  I don’t! 
    The best thing about being a stay at home mom is being with my children.  I’m so blessed that I no longer have the heartache that comes along with hours spent separated from my babies.  It’s a blessing for me and for the kids.  (As much as they may take it for granted sometimes!) I truly believe that what a parent is doing at home is one of the greatest opportunities to serve God.  The Bible tells us to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  The very foundation of what your child is going to believe for the rest of their life is in your hands.  Nearly half of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior do so before the age of 13, and 2 out of 3 will do so before 18.  Jesus said “…Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”(Mark 10:14)  We are serving God in the most glorious way when we are bringing precious little ones to know him!
    If you are like me and you start to feel this shame or worry creeping back in, remember these scriptures, and look for more.  Search God’s word to find the answers.  And remember to do “everything you do to the glory of the one who made you.”

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