Several years ago, a young mother called me. She was overwhelmed, tired and fearful that horrible things would happen to her family. Her husband traveled for his job, and she was alone with her small children much of the time. The constant worries caused her to stay awake keeping watch over her house at night, and her fatigue brought about more anxiety. The phone call to me that day was a cry for help in her desperate situation. I did not know what the correct answer was, but I knew my LORD could help. I prayed for her and invited her to come to my house. Slowly, over the next few months and many discussions, this lady began to make changes to her schedule of activities. She joined our neighborhood ladies' Bible study and volunteered to help in the library at the elementary school. Gradually the fear and anxiety that had previously consumed her began to fade as she replaced time alone in her house with positive activities in her community.
With our children back to school, we may find some gaps in our daily routine, a little more quiet may be a welcome change from a busy summer. No longer are we chasing after our kids, taking them to the pool, preparing snacks, shutting unclosed doors, and washing the endless pile of water cups left on the kitchen counter. Yes, there is more time for laundry, and those socks may actually make it to the chest of drawers instead of remaining unmatched in the laundry basket. Cleaning out closets will prevent an impending avalanche when the door is opened. When these are completed what is next? Maybe these daily tasks are too much, and the feeling that you can not adequately accomplish the list leaves you feeling overwhelmed and weary. Too much time alone can narrow our field of vision such that our priorities become the pursuit of an unachievable perfection which will leave us weary, exhausted, overwhelmed, depressed or anxious.
Christ told a parable, found in Luke 11, of a house put in order, clean yet empty. During the discussion He makes the statements that "a house divided against itself will fall" (v. 17) and those who do not gather with Christ will scatter (v.23). How can a clean house lead itself to be divided? When schedules change and a void is created in your daily routine, we can use the time to clean up, but if we are not carful to fill the emptiness with good activities that draw us toward the LORD, the void my become filled with ungodly thoughts or activities that may consume us. When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Luke 11:25 NIV The "it" Jesus specified as an unclean spirit. This can be anything that does not draw you toward Him. The "it" can be fear, depression, obsessions and unhealthy compulsions. The "it" can also be pod casts, websites, or television shows that demonstrate materialism or do-it-yourself improvements that demonstrate our failure to meet or exceed some unnecessary expectation. These "it" activities make us strive for external perfection that are not spiritually healthy. Our children do not require snacks in the shape of flowers or boats with extra sprinkles while dressed to perfection each moment of the day. Let them play in the mud, be regular kids. Our homes are meant to be safe havens of joy and love; not necessarily decorated for a website or magazine. There is no stipulation that a good mom is dressed as a glamorous model with immaculate hair, nails and makeup every waking minute in order to be a good wife and mother. Real life is not a 50's TV show!
Proverbs 31 demonstrates the mom you are called to be. Here is a part of the chapter: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:25-27 NIV Too much focus on "me" will only lead me to focus more on me. When I stop looking in the mirror, or comparing my life to a DIY show agenda, I might realize the needs of others around me and see a need that the LORD can use my gifts and talents to pour into someone else. Starting on my knees seeking Elohim's face will put things into perspective, and soon help me realize where my time can be best served for His glory. Occupying my time as He desires will draw me near to His heart and thus fill the empty space in a way that benefits me and others around me. Yes, we must take care of our homes and family, but we are called to balance and prioritize, so that we are focused on Christ and be about our Father's business. Seek a balance in your life that allows the necessary tasks to be completed, but provides an opportunity to fill the rooms through Bible study time with other mothers, community service, and enjoyment with peers. Save a few chores to do with your children, so they learn to contribute to the household chores which also allows you to spend time together.
Lastly, if you find yourself in an empty pit alone, call for help. There are other parents who have been where you are. Non-judgemental help is closer than you think. Do not be afraid that by admitting your weakness, others will think less of you. Asking and accepting help may be God's way of allowing another person to use their gifts and talents. We need each other, a community, to share life. The evil one likes nothing more than to keep us isolated so he can fill our heads with doom and gloom which keeps us from fulfilling God's purpose in our lives. Do not let him have control of your thoughts and actions, but turn to a loving Abba, Holy Father God for your rescue and unite with others. For this reason, Chalk Borders invites you to join our community and share it with others.
As Paul Harvey would always say, "Here's the rest of the story": the lady down the street has become a very special friend over the past 17 years. I am overjoyed that Yahweh has transformed her into a beautiful, strong, prayerful friend to me and others. Today she teaches Bible studies, prays with women like herself who have found themselves in dark places. She is a preschool instructor which gives her many opportunities to minister to young mothers who may find themselves where she once was. No longer does she live in fear, but walks in the truth that our Savior stands with her and fills her house and heart with treasure of surpassing magnitude. Some say the Elohim does not perform miracles, but He did one right before my eyes. I was blind to the emotional pain and suffering of a neighbor, but He led me to answer the phone that day, then allowed me to see how He transformed the life of another. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:28-30 NIV This lady and her life are a miracle like those He performs everyday in the lives of those who seek Him!
Magnificent LORD, show me how to set my house in order. Proverbs 24 says, By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures (v.3-4 NIV). Let it be so in my house, in my heart and in my life. May I not spend my days consumed with my wants, needs, fears, anxiety and desires, but let me busy my days seeking after You and serving those around me who can be blessed by the talents and gifts You have placed within me. May You be glorified through my actions and deeds. May I seek after You above all things. Amen.