Here’s one of my Mother’s Day gifts, given to me by my Jesse and Rebekah. I love the quote from Martin Luther:
“What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God.”
When I opened it, tears brimmed in my eyes. I wasn’t sure why, but I’ve had time to think about it and I think it touched me so much because:
- It’s true.
- It’s an affirmation of what God called me to do with my life the past four decades of being married to Benny, mothering our 7 children and seeking to make our home a place where love abounds – with lots of sinning and repenting along the way.
- It reminded me of my Mom’s love for her family and the legacy she left me, her granddaughters and great-granddaughters.
- It put into words the longing I have in my heart for the big and little ladies in my family to find worth, dignity and joy in living lives laid down for their families and future families.
Loving our homes and families looks differently from woman to woman. My devotion to mine included having lots of kids and being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom. My friend, Stacy’s, love for her children involves having a smaller family, working outside the home and having kids in public school. Yet, as I’ve gotten to know her, I’ve observed the same warmth and devotion to her family as I have for mine. We’re both Christian women who love God and our families, but have chosen different paths, anticipating the day when we will both hear “Well done.”
Biblical womanhood has many faces. When we look at the Proverbs 31 woman we don’t find a lady who rarely left home and always baked her own bread. Rather, we see a woman who is industrious, out in the community finding bargains, bringing income into her home, managing her home with the help of hired servants, and making warm and beautiful garments to protect her family during cold winters. She is competent, energetic and loving. And exhausted at times, I’m sure!
Whatever we do outside our homes, the question is this: Are those activities, interests and decisions home-oriented? Is the motive for the time we spend away from our home and family to bring new provision, ideas and energy back to our home and family? Or do we expend ourselves and then come home too tired or spent to work hard serving those God has placed in our lives to receive the best of us?
Over 30 years ago I was 24 and sitting with my feet in a kiddie pool in my friend’s back yard up north. My friend and I were talking about our firstborn sons, who were about a year old. I was expecting my second (sooner than we anticipated!) and we were having one of our regular conversations about training toddlers, keeping house and balancing motherhood and marriage. Hours passed all too quickly and I was headed home from Maryland to Virginia, thanking God for the joy of having a sweet friendship: someone with whom I could share struggles and ideas, temptations and funny stories. For me and my friends, there was a freshness about embracing the call to godly womanhood during a season when “I am Woman, Hear me Roar (in numbers too big to ignore)” was the call of feminism to women our age. That call remains to this day.
“I am strong. I am invincible. I am Woman!” It even had a catchy tune that is ringing through my head right now.
The truth is I am strong because of the power of Christ in me – but His strength is given to embrace the call to die to myself, not make a name for myself. To energetically fulfill my responsibilities in my home and not to run from them.
I am not invincible, but He is! I don’t have the wisdom or the strength to persevere through the challenges of godly womanhood, but He does! Because of his death and resurrection I am promised all I need for life and godliness. My weaknesses, sins and failures are no match for His strength, forgiveness and perfect obedience.
Seriously…is what I do in my home really “worth as much as if I did it up in heaven for my Lord God?”
Yes. But not because Martin Luther says so. Someone else far wiser than he says so.
More about that in future posts.