Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mary on loving our husbands and children

This term, God has answered one of the unspoken desires of my heart: to encourage younger women in my church to grow in Biblical womanhood.

A group of young mums at my church has started a book-club, and they're reading through Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal. In one of those moments of divine serendipity, it turned out that they were meeting on the only morning I could go along, with a frequency I could manage (fortnightly), and reading a book I had already planned to discuss this term on my blog. Isn't God amazing? His loving, joyous, detailed providence always makes me smile!

So every 2nd Thursday, thanks to their generosity in letting me take over - a decision they're probably already regretting ;) - I get to lead a discussion on Biblical womanhood. I don't know about them, but it's been very encouraging for me to spend time with these godly, humble, ministry-minded women. I go away humbled and encouraged myself.

Last Thursday, we were discussing chapters 2 & 3, on loving your husband and loving your children. Perhaps because their kids are all little and cute, and their husbands aren't (little, that is) they wanted to talk most about loving their husbands. I asked, using a question at the back of the book, "What sins - criticism, self-pity, irritation, pride - keep you from loving your husband with a tender love?"

One of the issues which came up consistently was the resentment, jealousy and anger we sometimes feel, as mothers with young children, when our husbands are free to kiss us goodbye and walk out the door for work, time off, or ministry, while we're always caring for children, or taking them with us (as constant interruptions) to all our conversations or ministry. (The women felt too guilty to take up their husbands' offers to care for the kids while they took a break, but that's an issue we'll have to deal with another time, girls. ;) )

So this quote is dedicated to our beautiful group of young mums. It's by Mary, a woman who's been married for many years, and about how she loves her husband:
One way that I regularly strive in to do my husband good is by not complaining about my work in the home, but instead embrace it with joy. We have a large family, and the duties that fall on my shoulders throughout the day are many.

Early on in our marriage, when I was just learning homemaking and trying to do a good job, I would feel overwhelmed by my tasks. With young children underfoot, I would be tempted to think that my husband should do more to lighten my load, even though he was gone all day working hard to provide for us himself.

I learned then that I need to submit my heart to the Lord daily to undertake my responsibilities to serve my husband and family with a willing and joyful spirit. I accepted the fact that it is not my husband's job to lighten my load, but my responsibility to take my "load" to the Lord and let Him lighten it by my finding that "the joy of the Lord is my strength."

I have to remind myself that I am my husband's helper and not the other way around. This is not to say that a husband should never help his wife, but when we embrace our "helpmeet role" with faith and vision we can better appreciate the way the Lord designed marriage to produce the most fruit.

By my being efficient in housework, consistently training our children, diligently home educating them, teaching them to honour their daddy, and being a cheerful homemaker and wife, I can bring tremendous joy to my husband when he returns home from a hard day at work. As Proverbs 31:11 says, "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain."
Ok, so none of the women in our group are likely to homeschool our children, or have 11 of them, like the woman who wrote this. But we can all learn from Mary's humble, loving, servant-hearted attitude, and like her, submit our hearts to God daily to help us fulfil our responsibilities with willingness and cheerfulness, and take our heavy loads to him so that we too may discover that "the joy of the Lord is our strength."

HT girltalk

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