First, I want to share something from Courtney's blog, Women Living Well, that elaborates on being an engaged mom...something I touched on last week. (If you missed that post just click here.)
Sorry, I wanted to get this in last week but I just ran out of week! The following 5 ideas are definitely challenging..especially on the difficult days! For my guy readers...I'm sure there are some nuggets that might hit home for you as well!
1. The woman of the home is engaged. She is aware of what everyone is doing right in that moment. If a child needs help or correction – she is right there to give it. If her husband needs a hug, an encouraging word or a helping hand she is right there to care. She is playful and makes time to tickle, dance, play checkers or Wii with her family. This is a woman whose family praises her (Prov. 31:28).
2. The woman of the home is wise with her time management. She guards her family from getting so busy that they lose their connection with each other. She dissects her calendar and eliminates things that are unnecessary. She is prepared when it is time to go somewhere to alleviate the stress that comes from late minute rushing. She and her family enjoy the slow paced life she has created in her home.
3. The woman of the home has a pleasant demeanor. She does not stay up late watching television, reading, surfing the web or working. She goes to sleep at a reasonable hour so she can wake cheerfully for her family. She knows that some seasons of life are harder than others so she is patient with her season of life and is confident that she will reap what she has sown. She works diligently trusting God with the results of her labor.
4. The woman of the home is content. She knows that no home, husband, child, church or neighborhood is perfect. So she chooses to be content with what God has given her for today.
5. The woman of the home prays. She knows that she is weak but God is strong and that she cannot fulfil the role of wife, mother, homemaker and sometimes employee, on her own strength. She is completely dependent on God and practices this dependence by daily praying for all of these things.
I don't know about you, but I get tired just reading over the list. It's not because what she says doesn't make sense...because it does. I want to be organized, playful, encouraging, loving, balanced, rested, hardworking, content in the moment(!), and prayerful. My perfectionist self would love to just bounce right in and try and be the perfect mom, wife, and women. My realistic self knows my limits well....and that taking it all on for perfection is just a recipe to fail, get discouraged and give up all together!
So, my suggestion is to start with number 5...because "With God all things are possible"...and I know that without His Grace I can't change anything for long! Then, reading those other four points, I plan on working on an aspect(or two) that speaks to my heart. My challenges may not be your challenges, and vice versa, but it's still the same journey with the destination of being the best mom, wife and woman we can be.(or dad;)
Being more engaged(#1) and Living in the Moment, which I feel is very similar to being content(#4), is already a focus for me this month. Being more aware of God in the everyday moments, and the way He is orchestrating each day for me, is also a focus for me this month...so that ties in #5. Time management(#2) is always an issue...especially with trying to coordinate 10 different schedules and make sure that my family gets the down time that they need. And I need to make sure that the down time we have, especially in the moments we are all together, is enjoyable! It's a constant juggling act, but so worth the effort!
Now...."Having a pleasant demeanor"....that's a trickier one. For instance, "knowing that some seasons of life are harder than others" is much different than accepting that some seasons of life are harder than others. Sometimes I go backwards because I am looking for the peace I had before __________ (fill in the blank...I had a baby, we bought a house, we did renovations, a job change, a family illness, etc, etc). BUT....when circumstances change, what was normal is no longer...well, normal. We have to look for a "new normal". That's not easy...but I make it even harder than it needs to be many times because I'm trying to fit my life together in the same way it was before. It doesn't work...you can't make a 24 piece puzzle work if you have to use 25 pieces!
(I know this but does it stop me from trying most of the time...sadly, no!)
How about what #3 says about going to bed and waking up cheerful! (Did you groan out loud when you read that...waking up and cheerful in the same sentence?!?)
If you happen to be new to my blog, sleep is elusive in my house. I have several lousy sleepers and have not slept through the night in at least 11 years. Prior to those 11 years I had 5 children in 9 years so there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping then either! Most days, waking up seems like an accomplishment...but cheerful! Enough said! (Obviously this is an area I can improve in!)
And, last but not least, the end of #3 mentions "reap what you sow" and "trusting God". The first things that come into my mind when I read those parts are "oh, crap" and "do I really have to do that?" When I think of all my parenting failures and failures as a wife...that "reap what you sow" makes me shudder. I definitely have to trust that God will bless my efforts and make up the difference for all that I lack in any given moment...and some moments, it's a lot!
"She works diligently trusting God with the results of her labor." So I'm supposed to work hard and trust God with all the rest. For me, it's more like...I have to work diligently to trust God and let go of control! I know that when I do things God's way it turns out so much better. Then why do I find myself wrestling with God all the time over something I want Him to have anyway? I think it's just years of the bad habit of trying to control everything myself....and years of doing things the hard way and making more messes than the "quicker picker upper" could ever handle!
So much to consider! Baby steps are great! And, remember, all forward progress counts!