One of the things we moms (of all ages!) need to be constantly alert to are our own thoughts about who we are as mothers. We can either define ourselves, our lives, our children, and our calling according to Scripture, or we will define it all according to any number of misguided ideas. And though it would be nice to blame all those misguided ideas on the world, the flesh, or the devil, I am pretty sure we can cook them up all by ourselves.
Rather than listening to ourselves, we need to speak (sometimes firmly) to ourselves. Here are a few examples of what I mean.
1. “This is just drudgery. I just do the same thing over and over and never make any progress.”
This is giving yourself a bad job description. This is not what God calls homemaking. God calls it “good works.” But we shouldn’t pretend that it isn’t work. Good works usually involve very hard work. Good works are not good ideas or good feelings or good intentions. Homemaking is a humble calling, but it is a glorious calling at the same time. Making your home an oasis for your family is a mystery indeed. Who can understand the depth of the significance of all that this means to your children and grandchildren?
2. “My children and the housework are such a heavy burden.”
A burden is a load you are carrying, and it requires strength. Think of it this way: the more fruit you have in your basket, the heavier it is. But what would you rather have in your basket? What would you rather be spending your strength on than your own family? Bringing up children is a privilege and a challenge. Yes, it requires heavy lifting. Yes, it’s a workout. But God will bless it in the long haul, so don’t tell yourself that it’s like moving a rock across the yard and then moving it back again.
3. “I wish I could be involved in some mercy ministry. That would be more meaningful.”
Ah, but you are. Mothers have so many opportunities to extend mercy that they all run together. What is a hot meal on the table but a huge mercy? What is a clean pair of socks but more mercy? What is changing a soiled diaper on a child who can’t even say, “Thanks, Mom” but mercy upon mercy? What is baking a pie to serve to your people but pure, undefiled mercy? I hope you get the idea. The mercy you extend to your family is very meaningful for them. You are blessing them. And once you determine to see it that way, you will find the blessing that is waiting for you in it as well.
4. “My house is a mess, my kids are a mess, I am a mess, and I’ll never catch up.”
Rewind the tape and see if you can’t say something more positive. If your house is a mess, then it’s probably due to all the activity that’s been going on in there. It is a hurdle, that house of yours, and you have mastered it before. Do it again (see #1). Exercise dominion over it. Subdue it. Conquer it! You and your kids are probably not as big a mess as you are feeling right now, but saying it to yourself will only make you (and them) start to believe it. Why not say something a little less critical about yourself and your kids? Make them feel loved and appreciated, not lumped in with the dirty house. Laugh at the situation and then roll up your sleeves. Start at one end and plow through. God is not nearly as concerned about the house as He is about your spiritual state.
5. “No one appreciates me. This is a thankless job. I am not really important to anyone.”
This is what we tell ourselves when we are wanting to simply wallow in it. This is when we simply have to tell ourselves to knock it off. Think about the people in your life that you should thank and then thank them. Then remind yourself that you are a very poor judge of other people’s appreciation or lack of appreciation. It would be nice if we all got notes and flowers and thank-you gifts each week, but that’s not what we are really looking for long term. We want God to say that we’ve done a good job. We want Him to say that we’ve been faithful with what He has given us. Thank Him for the responsibility He has bestowed on you, and ask Him to help you appreciate all He has given you.
In all these things, it is like taking our own heads and making ourselves look in a different direction. Don’t listen to yourself, listen to Jesus. He has you in His hands. He will strengthen you for all He has called you to do. Offer it all to Him with thanksgiving, and He will give you joy. This is what it means to set our minds on things above rather than things below. It requires action on our part. We must pick up our thoughts and set them down somewhere else.
21 thoughts on “Thinking Thoughts”
What a good word, especially for stay-at-home moms. I think we can tend to feel isolated and get lost in our thoughts, being accompanied solely by small (and smallish) people who are dependent upon us for so much. Measuring myself by grace through faith is much more lasting and fulfilling. Measuring myself by the latest supermom trend is a lot more hard and fast and will often leave me either on cloud nine, or feeling like a complete failure of a parent. Rarely, if ever, is there a happy medium. Perhaps that is a personal thing though. Not measuring up in the first place is the gateway to defining our selves and lives according to Scripture. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks be to God for His abundant mercy and never-ending grace.
Wonderful reminders and solutions to these common thoughts. Thanks for the exhortation.
“This is just drudgery. I just do the same thing over and over”
Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus never gets tired of cleansing us?! I heard an older (than me) woman explaining this once. I think of it and am helped by it often. It’s encouraging to know that Jesus is in the business of making things new just like we keep washing clothes and little faces and little behinds. Redemptive work is hard, but good work!
So helpful and encouraging! Thank you!
Hope you are having a wonderful summer, Mrs. Wilson!
Thanks for the encouragement, as always! You really have no idea how much you (and the other lovely ladies) have challenged my theology. You really are such a blessing and I am so thankful for the happiness that’s going on here. So refreshing!
This is SO what I needed to hear at the end of a crazy week. I’m bookmarking this to come back to whenever I start letting my thoughts go that way. Thank you!
Thank you 🙂
Thank you so much for these great reminders! Definitely needed by me today! And everyday for that matter….I love what I do, but can get the wrong focus way too often!
you know I am a single working full-time mom and I find this so helpful. Thank you for your wisdom and gentle way of encouraging all types of mothers. I can so relate to the wallowing and thanks for the gentle direction because I needed it and working so hard and wanting a grateful child, hopefully that will come later.
Nancy, I can hardly believe that my daughter (all the way from Alabama) was at your house last night! We are so thankful for NSA!
Thank you! Especially loved and needed numbers 4 and 5.
Wonderful! Thank you so much!
Numbers 2 and 4 are thoughts that I need to banish and replace. Thanks for the wonderful writing!
Thank you for taking the time to post this. One thing that I find encouraging is how so many women are commenting about how the timing of the post (and ones like it) is so providential for them. I think it’s easy to feel like the only one stuck in a rut, and then to wallow in that. When we realize that these sticky spots aren’t exclusive to ourselves it’s much easier to seek the practical help we need and then just MOVE ON. As my husband is fond of telling our kiddos (and me…ahem), “Count it all joy.” 🙂
Thank you, Nancy, this was so good! I do mercy ministries and I am constantly reminded these people did not have mothers who were merciful to them. This was such an exhortation to always remember to be merciful to my children and grandchildren first!
This was exactly what I needed to hear today, too. Funny that I didn’t read it when it was first written, and the Lord knew that today was exactly the day I needed to hear it! Thanks for continuing to speak the strong words of encouragement we need to hear. . . . Homeschooling with four children six and under is a good thing to force me back to the Lord to change my thoughts often!
Your words are a rebuke and a blessing to me today! Thank you so much.
I love this. You are so right that we need to get our thinking right on this, because the daily grind really does GRIND in our souls. Lately I’ve been practicing what you mention in #4 and saying “my house is not messy. It is well loved.” 🙂 thank you for keeping us accountable!
Thanks for the reminder! Excellently put. I’ll be sharing this.
Taking some time to understand the art of homemaking~we’ve lost so much skill and knowledge in the ‘Industrial Revolution’. God bless and keep Wives and Moms that want to be faithful!