Longing for the Quiet Home
Up at 6:00 a.m., attempting to jump in the shower before the little ones open their eyes. You wonder if they actually hear the sound of your eyelids opening because so often they begin their fussing as soon as you peek at the new day. Too often your day begins before you are spiritually, mentally, or physically prepared. Once again you feel slightly out of control and a little cheated of the hope for morning peace… or even that short devotional time. Once again you’re moving at the speed of light, similar to running in front of a fast moving train! If you don’t get them breakfast fast enough, you have fits and tears until the food hits their tongues. The laundry sits in piles in the hallway, and you can’t seem to get near enough to deposit it into the washer due to diaper changes, storybook time and the play dough set-up squeezing out all the tasks that are so vital to keeping your world turning. Maybe you feel discouraged, depressed and defeated! Has it ever crossed your mind that if you didn’t have these little ones demanding so many of your designated daily minutes, that your house would feel warm, fresh and inviting? Your table would be ready to receive a friend for a slightly sweet cup of tea and the smell of fresh muffins sifting through the air, filling your home with an invitation for fellowship? Hmmm….
Have you ever heard or actually stopped to think about Proverbs 14:4? I love this verse. As is often true of God’s Word, it has the ability to set my mind straight, comfort me, encourage me and give me the determination to push on for the prize!
Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.
Funny to compare those in our home to oxen😂! But the principle comes through, as we think about the work that is necessary to care for those animals in the stalls, so that their purpose is fulfilled. Oxen are really created to be a blessing to mankind! People (even the little ones) were created by God, to glorify Him and to be a blessing, a witness to mankind. But, they, like the oxen in the manger, are a lot of work for those who are chosen to grow and promote their purpose. Even as we, as moms long for that orderly, quiet “manger” and the sweet fellowship around our dining room table, truly what is valuable is the precious task that God has ordained for our lives, to bring up our little (so to speak) “oxen” in the admonition of the Lord. We keep our eyes on what’s to come, not on this present day. Our laundry basket and our manger could be empty and would be peaceful without them, but what could that do for the Kingdom of God? What could be as much a privilege for us as having those little lives trained up to become the next generation’s Christian servants, bringing in the harvest for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom?
Mom, be encouraged! The hand that rocks the cradle, makes the meals, and cleans the "stalls", truly does rule the world. Your work produces change for the future in ways you will never fully understand! It is absolutely divine work, when we do it for this purpose. Say “yes” to God and allow Him to use you to impact the lives in your home! Only then will they make the difference for those who will grow up in homes and schools with no God. Work to bring your children to the place that their knowledge of the love of Christ will spill out as an offering to the future adults in this world, that they may know the living God through the gifts of faith and repentance, the life of transforming grace, and share it unashamed! Teach your children to Love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and love their neighbor as themselves (Matt. 22: 37-39) and be one day overwhelmed by the fruit that will be gathered as a result!
Let’s look at the practical ways we can do this:
- You missed your morning devotions? After breakfast, sit down with your little ones and share a morning devotional with them. I have sometimes been more effected by the children’s devotionals than some of my favorites, so dig in!
- Purchase small little baskets, so when it’s time to do the laundry, your little one is by your side helping with his own little basket of laundry. Our kids LOVE to help in this way!
- Allow him to empty the dishwasher (of course previously removing sharp knives or easily breakable items :0)). That’s when you have the opportunity to gently speak into his heart with your words of wisdom, rather than defaulting to the worldly wisdom of some foolish stranger on television.
- Keep limited access to toys and rotate baskets to keep them engaged. In so doing, you give your children the opportunity to be creative and successful in their play time and as they clean up after themselves.
- Limit their access to clothing. If mom picks out their daily outfit, there is no fuss… no mess. As they become more responsible, allow them the privilege of choosing their own outfit.
- Let them share in the responsibility of feeding the pets. Caring for a pet teaches them how to practically love.
If you involve them in the duties of the day, instead of them feeling like a distraction, they become a part of the family team. They have your attention, so they aren't compelled to misbehave to get your attention. They are part of the solution instead of the problem. Kids want to be an important part of the family! It will take a little more time and patience for you to get the duties of your day completed, but as they grow, there will be an amazing shift as the family capably works as a team! And in the long run, your little “oxen” are growing in wisdom and strength to one day till their own home and mission fields and gather the fruit for the Kingdom. Your effort, your investment, your joy, your treasures in heaven! That is so much better than a cup of tea!