The “good work” of raising children, part 1

November 12, 2011 · 0 comments

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by Priya Samuel

“How was your day?” my husband asks me when he comes home from work.

“Good!” I say.

But sometimes what I mean to say is, “Bah! I haven’t done anything constructive! Nothing has been checked off my to-do list.”

Often times I’m oblivious to the high calling of mothering my children. If you have children in your home, I wonder if you, too, have been oblivious to this good work?

I’ve been encouraged by 1 Timothy 5:10 which lists a number of good works that a woman ought to be reputed for. It says that bringing up children is a “good work.” The phrase “good work” usually brings to my mind something that’s done outside of home to others who are in need– to friends or strangers– not my family. What a paradigm shift to consider raising children a “good work”!

In this passage the Greek word for ‘“good” could be translated as “ideal” or “excellent.” If you are a mother, the Scriptures say that bringing up your children is an ideal work. Wow… how we ought to renew our minds about the work we do as moms!

Super-Mom Fever
There was a phase in my life when I desired to be a “super-mom” after my oldest son was born. I wanted to do everything and be everything. I wanted to be an excellent worker outside my home, an excellent homemaker, an excellent wife and an excellent mother. I quickly realized that all my best efforts were diffused among all these roles and I was burning both ends of the candle. I struggled to find a balance between being a diligent worker outside of my home and being a loving mother and wife.

Considering how raising my children is a good work helps to liberate me from this desire to be and do everything and see the God-ordained blessedness of motherhood. The Lord gave me the wisdom I needed to redeem my time (Ephesians 5:15-17). I ended up choosing to forgo my career and better financial standards to stay home with my children.

But that doesn’t mean my “Super-Mom Fever” was cured! The symptoms just manifested themselves differently in the context of my home. I obsessed over having a clean house, an empty laundry bag, cooking gourmet meals, taking on too many things hospitality-wise, and joined multiple book readings with friends. I had just enough time to help my kids with homework and meet their basic needs of clothes, food and baths. I missed out on the joy of engaging my children in casual chat or play and training them in the truths of God’s word.

The days that I didn’t get to accomplish my household to-do list because I was caring for a sick child or fussy infant left me feeling frustrated and totally useless. I desperately needed to be reminded of this truth that raising my kids is an ideal work in the sight of the Lord.

What to do?
Do you struggle with discerning what is the “ideal” work God has given you? Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to see what He has ordained for you in this particular season. Then see how the grace of God deals with your frustrations and grounds your joy in God!

Had you considered that raising your children is a “good work”? Do you struggle with Super-Mom Fever, too? What are some passages from Scripture that have encouraged you in discovering what is the ideal work God has for you?

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I share about how considering motherhood a ‘good work’ has transformed the way I raise my kids.

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ABOUT THE WRITER
Priya is from Hyderabad and is trained in physiotherapy. Her husband Anand is a pastor at United Christian Church of Dubai. They have three boys with soul-searching brown eyes (Rohan, Aryan and Daven). Priya’s morning always starts with a cup of tea with evaporated milk and 5 tsp of sugar. She loves to search the Old Testament Scriptures to see how they point to Jesus.

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