We are trained in this world to do everything to be accepted, successful, and even to be praised. I find it exceptionally true in motherhood. For some reason, culture has taught and assumed mothers are meant to do literally everything in their household. When I read this chapter this morning, the topic of motherhood didn't even come up in my thoughts until I read the words, "You may be getting in the way of what God is trying to do in them." But we will get to that later...
Opposed to being expected to do everything, "we are only meant to do some things." This is true in every aspect of life. I'm going to address this topic in motherhood. The verse for this is Galatians 6:2-5. I truly love this verse because it is coming from love and for one's spiritual growth. It is mostly about the bigger loads that we normally cannot do ourselves and will need help from others to do them. The examples I am going to share could be seen as minimal by outsiders, but it truly is a burden since we are expected to do it everyday with little to no budge. I am talking about motherhood after all, the most looked down upon job of a woman in these days and age. If not looked down upon, it is mostly assumed to be the easiest job.
My burdens as a mother are house chores that are needed to be done for the home to run successfully. As a stay at home mom, I know what must be done. My list includes laundry, meals, dishes, anything school related, and my business at home. I'm sure there are more, but these are what's important. These are called burdens because it takes more time to complete and to get to this point, I need *some* help. Give me a second here before all judgmental comments start arising and how it all sounds so easy since after all, I STAY at home.
My favorite chore in the home has to be laundry. Of course I would rather not do them and do a hobby or tend to my business instead, but it is very tolerable. I have begun to make this enjoyable and accompany it with a favorite tv show or movie. To get to this point, the dirty clothes has to be in hampers to easily transfer to the laundry room to wash. What if every laundry day (which is almost every other day if you have multiple kids) I had to pick up excessive clothes on the floor in the bathroom or bedroom to collect in the hamper to even start my chore? You know... shirts, pants, underwears, and socks. How quickly would I be tired of this? I would even begin to strongly dislike it to look forward to even do the necessary laundry. You know, so that everyone could have clean clothes to go to school and work? I have three children... and if I had to pick up tons of clothes off the floor, I would go insane. Actually I did go insane for a bit there which lead to teaching my children the importance to carry their own load.
Sure, when they were babies that isn't possible, but what about when they are three or four years old who are ABLE? In the book, it emphasized to help of someone's burden only for a short time. As babies, this was their burden because obviously they can't do it, but as they grow... they are more than able to pick up their clothes and place them in the hamper. Their burden has become a load. If I kept on carrying this load that they could learn themselves, I would indeed hinder their growth as a person and even in their spiritual growth. Oh my goodness, mama! It is just clothes. It's just dishes left on the counter and table. No, it isn't.
Can you imagine picking up your 16 year old's clothes off the floor? Or even STILL doing their laundry when they are obviously able? Or collecting dishes all over the house before beginning to wash them? What's going to happen when they're an adult and married? Is their spouse expected to pick up their dirty dishes and transfer them to the sink? What other small tasks or load are my kids going to expect others to do for them? As a mom, I love to do my chores or "burden". I love knowing I am an important part of this household to have things run smoothly. Everyone having clean clothes or plates to eat on is definitely a peace of mind and I'm sure it makes their day easier as well not to search for what they need. That's the part I love and I take pride to do so. To do *everything though... is not part of God's plan.. I thought about this some more.. it is true if everything is handed to them and everything is done for them, it will stunt their mental and spiritual growth. My children will think that they can have and do anything and everything they want without regards of others. It may stem from something simple such as clothes and dirty dishes, but this ignorance could lead to something more. It is even sad to think of me as their maid, yikes. That's a tough realization to even think of our own children thinking of us that way. Oh, mom will just do it. When friends come over... oh don't worry about that, my mom will pick up those plates or wrappers. I'm mortified to even think of that scenario. That's when I'm in trouble if I ever pick up everyone's load indefinitely. I would not be able to carry my own loads. How do I even feel at peace tending to my business at home when everything else in the house is a disaster? How do I even find time to figure out my kids doctor appointments and school activities if I'm so busy carrying out everyone's loads? Can you imagine always doing your kids homework? There are just so few hours in the day to even be able to do EVERYTHING. It is impossible and I can truly see how it is not part of God's plan. How do I make time for Him through all the busy hours, mess, and exhaustion? I would lose myself and lose my relationship with God which would ultimately hurt me, and eventually my children even further. Anything that would cause turmoil in my heart would eventually stunt my spiritual growth. I know that can't be part of God's plan.
I am a mother, but I am also the daughter of the Annointed one. Even God, who is my Father, does not do everything for me when He clearly can do anything and everything. He needs me to do my part, He needs me to use my own hands to open the door to invite Him in. He does this to let me grow spiritually. He does this to let me shift my mentality that I have to carry my own load rather than Him just doing everything for me. He can speak to me to open the Bible, but it will take my own hands to open it. He can nudge me to talk to Him in prayer, but it takes my own mind to even do so. How then my heart will mold to God's image? To Him, my loads are a piece of cake... but to me, I do have trouble following through. Prayer and bible study are my load that are important for my growth in my relationship with Jesus. Everyday, it gets better and easier which ultimately will become a part of life. I am not there yet, but I am still practicing.
My children are now eight, six, and four. Each of them has learned to put away their own dirty dishes to be placed where it's supposed to be. Each of them has learned to place their dirty clothes in the hamper. There are days that they forget, but ultimately they know their part. It may take reminders from me, but they do not expect me to do it. They have even learned how to make their own cereal bowls or toast their own Eggo Waffles for breakfast. Of course, that's exception to the four year old where sometimes my oldest would take her burden and help. It takes practice and it takes time, but it can be done and will be perfected in all our imperfect ways. Right now, my six year old is learning how to make his own PB&J sandwich and warming up a freezer pizza in the microwave. Of course, they do not do this often, only on some days where my obligations are full by working from home during this summer months. But isn't it nice to think that my kids could even take the burden off me someday and make a meal for all of us from time to time? Spiritual growth needs to be taught and practiced so that our able hands can carry abundantly our own loads. How awesome is that? And how awesome what things we can do in the Glory of God?
These things are so small now, but I have this image in my head of them in the future being confident of the things that they can do. The years of practice of carrying their own load has become so fruitful in their spiritual growth that they have that confidence to become a light. How many friends and strangers are they going to share God's truth? How many people will come into salvation because of their growth? They will not expect others to do this for God, but they will want to do it themselves for God.
*This post is my own personal reflections of the Bible study book Day 12 called "I Do Hard Things" by Havilah Cunnington. This is my first bible study book in my spiritual growth.