by Gloria Furman
Even when a homemaker is continually serving the Lord by caring for her family, guests, and visitors, it’s tempting to feel like this work is in rooted in a pointless cycle.
Dusting baseboards, taking out the trash, balancing the grocery budget, mopping spills– the list of perpetual tasks goes on and on.
Folding the same towels over and over again becomes a loathsome duty when my work is not unto the Lord. I groan like the writer of Ecclesiastes that my days “are full of sorrow” and my work “is a vexation” (Eccl. 2:23). Sometimes I collapse onto my pillow at night and I rehearse tomorrow’s list, adding the left-overs and do-overs from today’s list. Worries and weariness threaten to overwhelm me and even in the night my heart doesn’t rest.
How often I forget that the presence of housework is evidence that the Lord has blessed my home with life!
When I’m dishing up a hefty serving of the bread of anxious toil it’s helpful to remember God’s mercy and faithfulness.
This kind of forgetfulness seems like an innocent and passive thing. But most times I forget God’s faithfulness it’s because I’m fixated on a promise that the world has offered to me.
Empty promises sound wise and hope-full:
- There’s Apathy: “Oh well. Whatever.” I declare emancipation from the obligation to take care of my home. I shrug off my responsibilities, revel in my guilt-free-ness and duty-free-ness, and scoff at the idea of making an effort.
- And there’s Control: “More! Better!” I sentence myself to additional, self-imposed expectations to tighten my rein of control on the chaos. I stack up these unreasonable expectations next to my pride, measuring myself up to see if I’m enough.
The world’s empty promises appear like a passive dew, watering the roots of bitterness as they wedge their way deeper into our hearts. Of course, there are other empty promises out there masquerading as the solution to facing the daily grind. None of the things we’re tempted with are new. Recall what Paul said over two thousand years ago,
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
About one hundred and fifty years ago, homemaker and songwriter Annie Hawks felt that she needed the Lord in order to persevere in her work as a homemaker.
“One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without him, either in joy or pain, these words, ‘I Need Thee Every Hour,’ were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me.”
Annie knew that God did not leave her to the mundane business of homemaking without any hope or help. She understood that the assuring presence of the Lord was hers every hour she needed him– which was, indeed, every hour:
I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
A weary homemaker might look to many fake saviors for peace and help. But the God who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see, and to whom belongs all honor and eternal dominion (1 Tim. 6:16), tells us to seek his face.
- “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Ps. 105:4).
- “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek’” (Ps. 27:8).
The joy of an artfully-decorated cake is short-lived. The dust eventually settles on an idyllic living room. The elements of our home that bring us delight are good things, but they are only created things. They are shadows, reflections, glory-refractors, if you will. Look closely– focus– with the eyes of your heart. Do you see the glimpses of God’s grace? Your work is a gift… that means that above all joys the highest joy to be enjoyed is the Giver.
And he is worthy of your worship this hour and every hour.
In the Lord’s presence there is joy with a magnitude and endurance that our finite minds can hardly fathom because it’s full and it’s forever.
When our work in the home is unto the Lord, through the Lord, and for the Lord, we find that he does not fail to satisfy us. And when our hearts struggle to feel this is true, we declare by faith, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Ps. 73:25).
- Indelible Grace has arranged a great track for Annie’s song that you can listen to here (Track #14).
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gloria (@gloriafurman) is mostly from Texas. In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three fun kiddos and Gloria enjoys serving the ladies in her community as a doula. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway 2013).