When Serving Our Family Feels Like A Burden
When I was a young wife and mama, I took my role very seriously. It was important to me that I held on to many of the old-traditional values that my Nana and Mama had instilled in me. I truly enjoyed keeping our home clean and having a home-cooked meal on the table every night when The Homesteader would get home from work.
As the years went by, our lives changed drastically. My husband and I were both working full-time jobs, and I found that trying to juggle a career and caring for my growing family was just impossible. There wasn’t enough time in the day or energy in my soul for me to do all the things I felt I should be doing in order to fulfill the role I had been placed into.
At the time, I didn’t see that there were alternatives and I just kept trying to plug away in order to sustain the lifestyle my husband and I thought we should have. It didn’t take long for me to begin resenting that very lifestyle. I dreaded driving into work every morning, knowing that I would be sitting at a desk for over 10 hours doing a job that I didn’t enjoy.
And I dreaded the drive home even more. I knew once I arrived there would be meals to prepare, children to bathe, laundry to wash, dry and fold. Not to mention that there was always some mysterious mess to clean up from some random person named “I don’t know”, who just happened to move into our home once I went back to work full-time.
I felt as though I was being taken advantage of, burdened and resentful. I blamed my husband, my children and I blamed God. I was so mad at all of them for the way my life had turned out. I didn’t want to spend my days working at a job I hated. I didn’t want to spend my evenings feeling like I was a maid in my own home and I didn’t want to go to social functions and socialize with people who put on a fake face and pretended that they loved their life. Because no one could truly love a life that was nothing but a rinse and repeat of the previous days.
Even when the Lord granted me the blessing of being home full-time, I was still resentful and I allowed bitterness to grow in my heart.
Lately, some of those feelings have been trying to find a place in my heart again. There is so much to do here on the homestead and there are days when I feel like I’m the only one who is willing to do any of it. I often forget that this isn’t a lifestyle any of us are really accustom to and there has to be some period of adjustment allowed.
My relationship has grown so much with the Lord over the years and I recently came to Him in prayer and asked Him to take these feelings from me. I don’t want to feel as though my family is a burden, but instead, I want to see the messes they leave behind as blessings. I don’t want to feel burdened and I wanted the Lord to help me stop the bitterness from growing in my heart.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”
– Ephesians 4:31-32
I also asked the Lord to help me to help my children learn what their role in our family is. That they also have responsibilities that they have to take care of. The Lord has shown me that when I’m feeling overwhelmed and burdened, that I’m most likely taking on responsibilities that weren’t really mine in the first place.
I’ve been striving to live up to the expectation the Lord has of me as a wife and mother. The Lord has given us a clear example of the kind of wife and mother we should be, and these shoes are quite big to fill.
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
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.
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.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” — Pr 31:10-31
Proverbs 31:15 tells us that this extraordinary woman didn’t do it on her own. She had others to help her get all her work done and she delegated responsibilities to others. This is why she was able to serve her family with a joyful heart and why she didn’t feel burdened and her heart wasn’t full of bitterness.
Assigning chores and tasks to our children is what the Lord expects us to do. In fact, it’s not just a mere suggestion on my part, but a command we are given from the Lord.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
Isn’t God good? The Lord isn’t just talking about bringing our children to Christ here. He wants us to teach our children the important life skills they need to grow into responsible adults that are able to contribute to their own families.
We are raising someone’s future father and mother. Someone’s future wife and husband, and it’s our responsibility to teach them what they are going to need to know for those relationships to be healthy and filled with God’s love. If we are taking on all the responsibility and never teaching our children these important skills, our hearts will be filled with bitterness and resentment and we will be missing out on an amazing chance to grow our children into true examples of Christ’s love.
Lord, we ask you to take any resentment or bitterness that we may be holding in our hearts. Help us to see which responsibilities are our’s and which we are able to let go of. Lord show us how to teach our children the important life skills they need to serve You. We can’t do it all Lord and we can’t do it alone. We want to serve You with a joyful heart and we can only do that with Your help.
And all God’s people said, Amen!
This week’s challenge:
I’d like you to jot down all the responsibilities you have right now. Putting gas in the car, grocery shopping, weeding the garden, preserving your harvest, leading Wednesday night Bible Study, etc. Every little responsibility you have, I want you to write it all down. Then look over that list and see if there are any responsibilities that aren’t really responsibilities at all. Sometimes, we view something as a responsibility when in fact, we’ve just taken on too much. Do you really need to be head of the PTO and lead your church’s Bible Study group? Ask God to help show you the areas that are just cluttering up your life instead of allowing you to serve Him.
Next, take the responsibilities you are left with and decide which of those responsibilities your children can help you with. Can your 14-year-old wash the dinner dishes, while your 9-year-old dries them and your 6-year-old puts them away? Can your 16-year-old mow the grass while your 10-year-old weeds the garden? Ask the Lord to help you in this area. Ask Him to show you which responsibilities your children can help you with.
Lastly, take your concerns and your lists of responsibilities to your spouse. Ask them for their input, their direction and their guidance. You may find that many of the responsibilities you are feeling burdened with, they are willing to shoulder some of the responsibility and by the two of you being on the same team, you can work together to assign different chores and responsibilities to your children.
Have a blessed week everyone!
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