Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why Are So Many Walking Away from Responsibility ?

In the past two months I have heard a lot about mothers needing to get away from their families and to be honest it bothers me. Whenever I felt that way, it was the first sign that I was not walking close to God, it was a sign of my spiritual decline, so a word of experience from an older woman here.
And so, this post if for full time, stay at home Christian mothers, that feel a bit overwhelmed....
I wonder if Jesus mother, Mary ever felt she had to get away from her children and husband ? Seems a bit absurd to even think of, almost sacrilegious to entertain the thought of Mary having to get away from her family because she felt overwhelmed. But I am sure the duties of motherhood feel heavy on her shoulders just as they do mothers in modern times. So what makes the difference from then and now ? Maybe it was one simple thing, the relationship we have with God. That's an "ouch" kind of statement and we all have felt like the role of wife and mother is just too hard to handle and honestly, how we handle it comes down to where we get our strength and what kind of commitment we have to the idea that children are a blessing and not a curse 24/7. With children there are no re-do's. Each and every second we spend with them is never to be recreated with the exact sameness. Even if your children are behaving in such a way to make you feel like you want to pull your hair out, you have only yourself to look at. Why are they out of control ? Or, perhaps, why is it that your patience and kindness is not all it should be, why are you not turning to God instead of running off with friends or to the mall shopping ? Is there perhaps something more Dad can do to help when the busy times arrive in the day. Emery would faithfully take the children outside to play every single evening during the week when he got home from work, giving me time to prepare supper without a thousand little interruptions. It meant we ate at 6 rather than the minute he got home from work at 5, but how much he loved the time with the children and how much I appreciated this time to get things done in the kitchen. It was a small thing, but it helped tremendously. Take a day away from the home as a family once in a while, stroll hand and hand with your husband on a hike as your children run along the path. Watch your children with that eye of wonder at how amazing they are. Turn to God when you feel overwhelmed and pray with your husband about it, seek his help too on the days that seem to go on forever.
We stuck to an 8 o'clock bedtime for the children when they were under 10 years old. Which meant we started winding things down for them around 7. Bath time, family worship, story time, so they could be tucked in bed by 8 p.m. That gave Emery and I a couple hours of together time before we went to bed. The children went to bed at 9 even as young teens, which still gave us an hour alone. Of course our children had farm chores that meant getting up early and actually being tired at night, so it wasn't hard to get them to go to bed at night, ever.
Parenthood as well as marriage takes work, and it takes a game plan of sorts, plans to help one another. It also takes having God the strength that we draw from and prayer for patience for the greatest job there is on earth, being a parent.
No matter how many "Mommy's day off" you take, it will not be a cure for what is missing in your relationship with God. No matter how many times you go shopping by yourself and leave your children wondering what they have done to make Mommy want to "get away" from them, you will not regain a sense of purpose in mothering at the mall. No matter how many times you put on pajamas with 6 other mothers and have a "sleep over" as if you were 10 years old, it will not cure your discontentment in your marriage or in raising your children, or take away the deep seeded resentment you feel in regard to your husband and children.
To her absent husband, Susannah Wesley wrote:"I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you, yet in your long absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe, the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles."
Susanna Wesley had a less than ideal life, her husband did not always care for his family as he should, they had 19 children, several of which died, yet she raised men like John and Charles Wesley.
Another example of a mother that we cannot imagine "needing to get away" from her children would be Sarah Edwards, wife to preacher husband Jonathan Edwards.
"The legacy left by the Edwards family is as fascinating as the study of their lives. Over four hundred descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards have been traced. Of these, fourteen became college presidents, roughly one hundred became professors, another one hundred ministers, and about the same number became lawyers or judges. Nearly sixty became doctors, and others were authors or editors. The Edwards family pictures Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
But we read that "The Edwards had 11 children, 3 sons and 8 daughters. Sarah prayed consistently for their children. She disciplined her children with gentleness and firmness. The children demonstrated great respect for their parents, rising from their seats whenever their mother or father entered the room. Jonathan also took part in the rearing of their children, but the remarkable torrents of revival and his proclivity toward studying often occupied his time. He was always available for his family, but Sarah bore the greatest load in rearing the children."
There is no record of Sarah having to run off here and there, just to have some time to herself because of the stress of raising a family, instead we read about her deep faith, her commitment to her children and husband and her strength to do the job, coming straight from her close walk with God.
Don't try to escape the greatest job on earth when it feels overwhelming, but run to God and fall on your knees, to ask for strength, determination and to see the beauty of each and every aspect of the work ahead. For even wiping the mud off the floor for the millionth time with patience will show your children much more than you will ever imagine. Think of the strength of the mothers of generations past that were strong and determined, in the face of so many hardships, with husbands gone for weeks on end at sea or on jobs that took them far away, how these very women called on God to give them strength to bear hardships beyond what we could imagine, yet raise up men and women for God that have made our nation great.
in the photo, Emerys grandfather was the toddler on the left.


Patty said...

Julze has left a new comment on your post "Why Are So Many Walking Away from Responsibility ?...":

I am a home-schooling (and now single) mother to 3 and a truly value my "away" time just as Jesus would go into the mountains to have "away time" with His Heavenly Father. It's my time to reflect, restore and rejoice what the Lord has done in my life! My husband is not walking with the Lord and he has left us to find his own peace and joy. God has been my all-sustaining strength though all the years of my marriage and the wisdom-giver in raising my children.

Patty said...

Janette has left a new comment on your post "Why Are So Many Walking Away from Responsibility ?...":

I think the atmosphere in the country is different. I would have loved to have had your life- but my husband chose a different path.
My doctor is female with children. I am not sure that God intended her to be home. Not everyone is cut out to be home all of the time.
This is not a criticism- it is just reality.
I taught school for many years- teaching in the same school my children attended. Now, my husbnad and I are putting out marriage back together after many years of working apart. Without my salary- life would be very difficult in retirement. We even moved to Kansas, away from our family in Phoenix, because the cost of living is so much lower (but not as low as yours).
I am mixed about my daughter staying home full time. I know it is best for my grandson- but what happens if her Marine husband is killed in war - or by accident? The reality is that my father was raised by a boarding school because his mother was killed in a fire and my mother was raised by a single mother because my grandfather died of a stroke. My mother made sure all of the girls could provide for themselves- unfortuantely, she did not do as well with the boys....They both are in the situations of their spouses walking away- forever:<(

Posted by Janette to MorningRamble at Saturday, October 31, 2009

Patty said...

Carole has left a new comment on your post "Why Are So Many Walking Away from Responsibility ?...":

Maybe it's a matter of generation ? I know that I need to get away sometimes. I need to recharge my batteries and my daughters know that when I come back I'm all serene and happy, and they're generally quieter too.
This year I took a two-week holiday and they stayed with their father, and they had a grand time - my husband said that the atmosphere was much less stressful and they didn't ask too much about me ! It's true that when I called, they rather asked where Petra was (at whose house I was staying). And we all all went there this summer, I could show them around and share with them all the things I had seen and the places I had been.
I think it all depends on how you present things : if you leave your children making them think it's all their fault and they are bad, then it's not a good thing. If they know that Mummy will come back with a smile, a thought and say "I missed you, but I needed some quiet time" the message is different. I never (or I hope so) made my daughters feel that during the time I need to go away (be it for 5 minutes, a couple of hours, or these two weeks) I will take back my love from them.
It's a matter of knowing your limits and finding a way of functioning in a satisfactory manner for the whole family. And in the evening before bed time, I always spend time with each of them and they really feel loved !
I know it can be hard to understand for some, but I feel that it's a matter of balancing things, and if there is an emergency or a particular demand from the girls, I delay my "alone time", of course !
It's an interesting subject though, that could be applied to husband and wife too.

Posted by Carole to MorningRamble at Saturday, October 31, 2009

Patty said...

I put the comments back up but had to use my own profile to add them again.

Patty said...

Hi Carole, I can understand you wanting to take time for yourself, you work, along with raising your family and that is like having 4 jobs at one time. Mother, wife, homemaker and teacher. Thats a lot : )

Joanie said...

Patty ~ I'm so glad you put this post back up! I did a quick read yesterday and wanted to spend some time really reflecting on what you were sharing.

I must say that I agree with you! Our children are nearly grown now, but I am a stay-at-home mom (and home educated our children, volunteered in various activities our children participated in during their growing up years, and was involved in church ministry - as a family - from time-to-time) who has lived the truth of your words. When life began to get crazy, it was because I needed to spend more time with God and that relationship was being neglected. He was and is the answer every time...

There are times now when I'll go for a drive in the country or go to the beach alone (to reflect), but not when our children were young. During those years, I was home and tending to our family. I don't understand why alot of moms need time away either. Perhaps it's because 'community' isn't what it used to be, so they feel they are alone in raising their families or are putting more on their plates than earlier generations - but family is much different today than it used to be...

I live in a major city and it's been very difficult choosing to be at home while trying to make ends meet - but we decided that the priority in these years was our children and raising them in the Lord. Not that our lives were/are perfect - and there are likely a number of families choosing to live this way whose faith and walk with God is amazing... But, I don't understand the need either.

I do think the next generation has a new way of thinking ~ and I have a very difficult time relating to many people because my values and "ideas" are significantly different from others... Our family has really struggled with "the church", because it seems so many have a different understanding of God's Word than our family does. We continue to walk the path God has laid before us each day and trust Him - for we can only answer for ourselves.

Thank you for this post. Thank you for the encouragement it brought to me. Looking back, I would make many changes in our lives, but I pray that God will take all that our lives were and are and that we shall continue to make our relationship with Him our #1 priority.

Ladyfromthewoods said...

Thanks, Patty, for putting the post back up. It was a good reminder for me.

Just this past week, when I was feeling like I might need "a break" and my stamina was waning, I was reminded rather divinely of a part of Nehemiah 8:10
"...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." It was exactly what you pointed out. My joy of the LORD needed renewing, and my strength would follow. And it was not my stay-at-home, homeschooling life choice that was to blame for my lack of strength, my lack of joy. I have long had trouble with understanding it's o-kay to find joy, period.

Understanding that it was my need for joy of the Lord instead of joy of myself to renew my strength, well, that was just what I needed. And confirmation came both through the word, prayer, and a third source...

Thanks, Patty.

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