As a wife and mother, for many years, I struggled with how I could “do God’s work” and looking after the home well.
Surely, God has commanded to “Go, and make disciples…” which includes preaching the gospel, healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons and teaching them to follow His commandments. But I never figured out how to do these things WHILE trying to keep my baby fed, clean and sleeping well! After many years of tears, confusion and the feeling that I could no longer “do God’s work” I have finally reached my place of conviction and contentment.
If I was to go out on the streets to preach the gospel…
If I was to be busy studying the Bible so that I could teach…
If I was to spend time preparing for a sermon…
If I was to spend hours doing “quiet time with God”…
If I was to be so involved in leading and organising church programs…
If I was to travel all over the world to speak at “important” conferences…
Who would look after my children? Who would be the one to train them up? Who would teach them basic life skills? Who would read them the Bible and teach them about God? What would they eat? How will they learn to dress themselves, brush their teeth and do their hair every morning? Who would be there for them when they need help? Most of all, who would be in charge of managing the house?
If I was to do what my husband is meant to do for the family… who would do what a wife was meant to do? Why would a wife need a husband and vice versa if they were both set out to complete the same tasks?
If I invested my time and energy into others, I would have very little left for my own children. If you are a parent, who have assumed your responsibilities to train up your child/ren, you will know it is a full-time job, whether there be one child or ten children.
There is no one else who will love my children more than me. No one else who will sacrifice as much of themselves for my children than me. I chose to have children. Therefore, it is my responsibility to raise them well. There is no one else who would give up their lives more than I already have done, and will continue to do, for my children. Whether it be out of duty or out of a need, but during the hard days it will be simply out of my obedience to God.
I know from a recent experience that it is very difficult to focus outside of my home right now with having three young children. I shared the gospel with a young mother after meeting her at a mothers group. After her conversion she was evicted out of her flat. So she and her four-year-old son came to live with us for 10 weeks. I definitely reached my limits in having to disciple her, teaching her basic life skills and also teaching her to train up her boy, while trying to continue to manage my household. Needless to say, I neglected my own children for the 10 weeks. This is quite an extreme case, though, to have “live-in” disciples.
My question remains… was it worth neglecting my own children to disciple other people’s neglected children?
Now, as for my husband. Does he help me with the housework? Yes, of course. He takes care of the rubbish, lawns, gardens, fixing leaky sinks, ripping wallpaper, making sure there’s always firewood in the baskets next to the fireplace, making sure we always have enough money in the bank, cleaning out gutters and many other smelly jobs. Does he help me with kids? Yes, of course. He takes all three of them (all under 5 years old!) when I need a break. He looks after them when I need to cook, publish his books, or work on his websites. He gives me a massage ALMOST every time I request for one. He gives me a card and say, “Here, buy whatever you need.”
My man can do the housework and look after the children. But it is not his specialty. I am better at cooking than him by far. I am better at keeping the house clean and tidy. I am better at keeping the kids fed and clean. I am better at breastfeeding. I am better with the soiled nappy. I am better at making sure everyone always has clean clothes to wear when they need them.
And I could care less if the lawn is 10 inches tall. I wouldn’t have a clue how to fix a leaky pipe, or a hot water cylinder when it stops giving us hot water. I am not interested in knowing how to chop firewood. It is not really my passion to know the difference between a drill and a screwdriver. I can live with puddles in our backyard than to think to spend $3000 fixing the drainage.
My husband and I work together as a team. He does what he’s best at and I do likewise. We are more efficient that way. We are equal but we are not the same.
My priority is not those outside of the home. If I manage the home well I enable my husband to go out and seek the lost. My well-behaved children will not be noisy or disruptive when my husband ministers to others in the home. I am able to provide hospitality and train my children up to do the same. And when my husband needs me to minister as well then I make sure I am ready and equipped to do the task, be it sharing the gospel, baptising or casting out demons.
I am speaking for myself and to those who are mothers with young children. There will come a day when the children will grow up. And if I have done my job well I will be able to rest and have more time available to train those outside of my family.
To say that looking after my own children and doing housework is somehow “less” is an insult to both the children and I. They are worth my time as much as those who are sitting in the pews, or on the streets.
I believe if every wife/mother learned to manage her own household well, to respect her husband, to train up her own children well, teaching them to walk in the ways of the Lord, then there would be less work for the evangelists.
The harvest would be few, and the labourers plentiful.