I used to be a super busy woman, Bible study teacher, involved in many ministries, our daughter was busy too, piano, harp, musical theater, ballet... You get the idea a super (overly busy family). My husband works, but none of us were connected. Our daughter became ill, which brought me into deep depression, then her health tanked just as I was recovering (God's Provision). She increasingly got worse through grade 3 and by the summer she was in hospital more than not. We were transferred to a Children's Hospital in another state. She and I lived in hospital almost the entire fall there, my husband visited as his job allowed. She basically was unable to attend school at all through 4th grade.
I tell you all this as I am under the care of an excellent Christian counselor. Admittedly, for the past year, I have simply endured my life or lack thereof. I know longer am able to participate in really any activities outside of our home. I'm not reliable I cancel things all the time, because if my daughter gets sick it is my responsibility.
I have failed to grasp the life God has given me, I wanted something more, something bigger more significant. I am an attorney by trade, however I don't work. I have been challenged in my thought that God must not think much of me to leave me here.
We only have one child. I have had to confess I think I am better than this life. I'm ashamed and yet, I still am grasping that by doing for my family I am connecting to them, contributing to the family, and it feels good. I do have purpose.
Clearly, I'm only able to articulate only a piece, but all that to explain, I stumbled on your blog & I'm trying to learn. I saw somewhere you said to put some of the schedules into a binder? Do you have a layout for how to get started on truly being an engaged Wife & Mom? I have downloaded The Good Wife's Guide eBook, though haven't started it yet. I printed out the housekeeping schedule, but when I tried to get the schedules on how to clean a bedroom & bathroom, I couldn't find them.
I'm am trying to learn how to not get overwhelmed by the cleaning. I do laundry, however, meals are my biggest weakness. Our daughter isn't able to eat, though we are working to be able to give her a few foods, but it is severely limited. My husband can & enjoys cooking, so I have deferred to him, but I really don't grocery shop either. I just don't know what to get & with only 2 people eating I find figuring out portions hard.
Please advise or direct me to any resources that would help me to get a better handle on this. I know the journey we are on is a long one, and I know God as me here for a reason. I also hope you aren't offended by my clearly misguided views. God is gently working with me. Thank you in advance for anything you may be able to offer to help me.
Dear Enduring Life,
Thank you for your letter, and your transparent heart. I'm glad to hear that you have a copy of my book because I suspect that it will be a big encouragement to you. The cleaning schedules that you are looking for (the ones you mentioned) are in the eBook and so I took them off of my website. I'll be putting up different types of schedules in the future, and Kim Brenneman often shares those types of posts too.
The big thing that I think you will glean from the book is that so many women struggle to keep it all together, while many of us suffer with "June Cleaver Syndrome." We think that everyone else does it so much better than we do. There are seasons in everyone's life, and this season of your life sounds like a struggle as you are taking care of a sick daughter, and the stress of it all.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1, KJV
I had to take care of my dad last fall. He died of lung cancer and his brain was full of tumors. I slept in the same room with him helpless as he desperately struggled to breathe. Needless to say my housework suffered while I was dealing with this season of my life, and my kids enjoyed pizza more than they should have.
Bottom line is this, all you have to handle is what God has given you at this very moment. And if that moment is filled with you standing by your daughter's side encouraging her along, then you are fulfilling your God-given role of a mom. Purpose isn't found on a sparkling countertop, or beneath the cushion of a well-vacuumed couch. And in your case--nor would it be defined in a law office away from the home--it's defined in those moments when we give of ourselves for the glory of God. That looks different for everyone.
Here's what a friend of mine told me the other day. Her daughter had just thrown up for the umpteenth time, and so she started a bath for her, just as the dog started to whine. Running to the kitchen she stepped in dog poop--seriously--but that's not all. She put the dog outside, and as she was hustling back to the bathroom she slipped in dog pee and landed flat on her back. Anyone walking into her house could have taken one look at the mess and judged her accordingly. But the sad thing is that WE are often the ones who are busy judging ourselves.
God sees into your heart to where the sacrifices are made, and while He does He's not looking to find perfection. I'll tell you why...
When Jesus died on the cross, He said, "It is finished." The law that condemned us was complete and fulfilled through His sacrificial death. We are made perfect through Him. And so we will fall and we’ll fail, because we struggle against the flesh, but there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who walk after the Spirit.
So, I ask you to first and foremost forgive yourself for your shortcomings. Don’t give up on your desire to please God and your family, but do it in peace without expectation.
You said, “I have failed to grasp the life God has given me, I wanted something more, something bigger more significant.”
I’d like to ask you to start grasping that right where you are today. Ask yourself this question. What has God given me to handle today? Then take that one step and see where He leads you. That where you'll find your purpose.
One of my favorite pieces of advice was given to me by my dad last year when I spoke frankly with him about my shortcomings. And let me assure you—they were SHORT!
Dad said this, “God doesn’t care what you did yesterday, He wants to know what you’ll do today.”
I’m praying with you as you grasp the life God is giving you now.
And finally you asked for a resource, in particular the area of cooking. I have a good one for you! Check out Comfy in the Kitchen. Janelle is an amazing cook who is truly gifted from God. Unlike you and I she thrives in the kitchen. Her motto is “Step-By-Step You’ll Get it Yet.” Her tutorials are so easy to follow and she makes delicious recipes! I love this chick, and I think you will too!
You are loved by an almighty God,
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