Monday, February 7, 2011


My life's theme right now is "surrender." The season I find myself in has little room for much outside of the very real, very present, very pressing priorities of my home and family.

Raising six children takes up a lot of time. Being a good wife requires concentrated attention. Keeping a house clean doesn't happen unless you work at it. Homeschooling is no "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" endeavor.

So I'm feeling a little stretched. That's where surrender comes in. I've opened my heart before God, prayed, talked with my husband, searched Scripture, waited for answers. I promised myself that when they came, I'd listen. Not in that "looking in the mirror and then forgetting your own face" kind of way ... but in the real hearing variety of listening. Tuning in. Taking it to heart. Doing it.

Then the truth started rolling in, and the "Yes, I Can!" part of me kind of wished I had never asked in the first place.

Truth: There is only so much Mary Grace ... and there are so many good thing vying for a piece of what I have available. My husband, my children, my friends, my church, the stories that clatter through my head, the reviews, the extended family, the laundry, the projects I want to complete.

Truth: The world may want me to believe that I can have it all, but I'm wise enough to know that I can't. Or am I?

So, quietly, humbled, I listened. I started shedding the weight that I was no longer meant to bear. I scaled back. Resigned from this and that. Cancelled get togethers. Informed folks that my phone time has been pared to virtually zero. Let my husband pick up the library books.

I felt free.

It lasted about three days before a well-meaning acquaintance cornered me in the grocery store and invited me--relentlessly--to her Bible study.

"I'm not committing to anything right now," I smiled, trying to back away.

"But this isn't a commitment. It's fellowship. Besides, it's imperative to be in the Word," she continued.

"I am," I assured her, "with my husband. Daily."

"But you need the mentoring of other women. It's Biblical."

"I'm fine right now," I answered.

"The only way you can contribute to other believers is by being in community."

Clearly, she didn't realize that my family's Bible studies involve more than the required two or more. She implored me to reconsider, yet again, before I lost her near the orange juice.

I returned home to an emailed invitation from a fellow mother at my church, asking me to come to a fundraiser highlighting the evils of human trafficking. It was, the email promised, a chance for us moms to "do something of value for the Kingdom." I was instantly offended ... and saddened. I realized that several of the things I had just let go were probably, in the eyes of many, of more "value for the Kingdom" than what I had held on to. What good is changing diapers? Where is the glory in teaching math? Who will remember that I pack my husband's lunch each day?

Who, indeed.

In this season, I am doing Kingdom work with every lesson I plan, every nose I wipe, every dish I wash.  Keeping my eyes centered on my home allows me the freedom of not rushing, not overextending, and not burning out. The days will come again when I have more time to dedicate to outside pursuits. But not now. Right now I'm just too busy. Too busy adding value to my own family.


Becky said...

Beautifully shared my sister in Christ! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and I am so proud of your stand. Good for you! Even we seasoned Mothers/Wives need those reminders, as did I today.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying this. I have fewer than you (3), but often feel pulled on because I "just stay at home all day."

I needed this reminder today!

April E. said...

I know what you mean. I'm there right now, too. I once was so "home-centered" that I rarely reached out. Then I started to invest more time elsewhere, but went too far. Now I'm trying to balance it better. Invest in my family, but also reach out to others. You shared it so much better than I would have, though. I've been too stretched to put meaningful thought into any non-review posts lately, it seems. Sigh. Though I did write two for later this week that were more thoughtful.

April E.

Sandi said...

Loved this!
And that baby girl....SO sweet.

Kate said...

I had to battle pride to get to this point. Wasn't I meant for more than this? Now I see as you do that this is the highest thing I can do. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! I recently scaled back (Waaaay back, as in almost to zero) at my very part-time job. I have been having some doubts as to whether cutting back was the right thing to do, and this is exactly what I needed to read today. :)

Beth said...

Thank you for this. As a mom to 4 + 1 foster son... I do a whole lot of mundane work... largely school work, laundry, meal prep, and cleaning related. Kingdom building, no matter how "small" the job. Such a great outlook!

The Reader said...

Thank you for this reminder, and good for you for sticking to adding value at home despite the efforts of others to pull you away.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Life is full of seasons, and right now, you have a huge Kingdom ministry on your hands. Focus. And listen for your Shepherd's voice. And you'll know what to do.

Bethany said...

Aaaaand this is exactly what I needed to hear to say "No" to a good thing. Thanks for the encouragement to reevaluate my priorities for this season and work to live them out.

Lori said...

Thank you for posting this Mary Grace. 1 Corinthians 7:17 says "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." It's such a short verse, but there's a lot of freedom in it. I used to feel like I had to do every "good" thing that came my way. Now? Not so much.