Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Good Wife

    Being a wife and a mother has always been my greatest desire in life.  When I was young that was what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Since being blessed with my wonderful husband and children I have defined myself by my vocation.  I am a wife and mother.  That is my career, my calling, my identity.  I know many women feel that being a wife and mother is not meaningful enough.  They need their own identity, separate from their family.  They need to do more to feel worthwhile.   I have always been proud to identify myself as a wife and mother.  I have never felt that it isn’t enough to care for my husband and children.
    Sometimes, though, I do feel like I need something for me.   It is not that caring for my family is not enough to keep me busy.  Or that raising my children and supporting my husband is not enough of a ministry.  But, sometimes I just want a creative outlet, just for me.   I enjoy writing and scrap booking.  Both give me an opportunity to express myself, and to preserve my family’s memories at the same time.  Yet, I often feel guilty when I take the time to write or to scrapbook.  I feel like my time could be better spent on cleaning or playing with my kids.  Popular culture tells us we must take care of ourselves first so we will be able to take care of others but that doesn’t seem to be the same message I find in the Bible.  The good wife described in Proverbs chapter 31 does not go get a massage once a week to revitalize herself so she can then serve her family.  There is nothing about getting her nails done, or going shopping with her girlfriends or even taking a half an hour to write her blog because she spent the morning home schooling the kids, running errands, and doing laundry and now she is feeling a little burnt out and desperate for some time to do what she wants.  The good wife serves her family first because that is her calling.  Likewise, as I read the Gospels I notice that Jesus never put his own needs or desires before those of others.  When he was tired and needed rest he attempted to go off with his apostles to a place to pray yet the crowd (much like my ever demanding children) followed him and ask for even more of his time and attention.  Jesus did not yell at the crowds pointing out all he had already done for them and insisting that he deserved some time to do what he wanted for once!   No, he was moved with compassion for them and put his own desires aside in favor of serving the people. 
    I know, as a wife and mother, I am called to a very high purpose.  With five children and a husband, there are the needs of so many people to consider.  I want to do it all yet I also know my own limitations.  I do get burnt out at times.  I do feel overwhelmed at times.  I wonder, is it ever okay to think of myself?   Upon further examination and meditation on Proverbs 31, I think I get a little clue to the answer.  As I read about the good wife’s very busy schedule I see that she does an awful lot of sewing.   Verse 13 says, “She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.”  Verse 19 states, “She puts her hand to the distaff and her fingers ply the spindle.”  Verse 22 says, “She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing.” And verse 24 tells us, “She makes garments and sells them and stocks the merchants with belts.”  Clearly the good wife is a very creative and resourceful woman.  She uses her creativity as a way to serve her family. As I think more about the Gospels and Jesus’ perfect example I see that even Jesus did take time to get away and think of his own needs.  He always took care of others first but when there was time and opportunity he did go away to a place by himself and regroup so that he could continue to serve selflessly. 
    So, if I desire to use the gifts of creativity that God has blessed me with, I need to make sure that my family is taken care of first.  I need to make sure I am not neglecting my house and my duties there.  Then, when all my responsibilities are attended to, I can take the time to add a few pages to our family scrapbook albums or to write a blog.  My ministry can include the pursuits I desire for myself as long as I do not seek them selfishly without thought to what I am truly called to do, which is always to glorify and serve God in all I do.

1 comment:

  1. It may also be worth noting that the Proverbs 31 woman was not intended to be a model for all women, she was a model for a King's son to learn about how a Queen should be. Thus she was not a normal woman, she was a woman with servants. And so her she would not have been taxed the same way that you are. In Catholic theology she is also a type of Mary who is Queen of heaven. And while the Church expects us all to imitate Mary's purity, we are not expected to uphold the same standard of absolute perfect. So real mothers are not expected to be virgins, we are not expected to have servants, and we are not expected to function without ever getting a break.

    You are quite right that all must be done to the glory of God, but please do not burn yourself out!



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