There are a lot of stereotypes out there about the “perfect Christian wife” or the Proverbs 31 wife. Most women see her as a stay at home mom who manages to run a business at home, and clean and cook for her family along with making clothes from scratch. Sounds dreamy doesn’t it?
But in reality, the Proverbs 31 woman does not do it all. Because in reality, she cannot. And just like the Proverbs 31 woman, we cannot do it all either.
Whether you are a stay at home wife, work at home wife, or a wife who works full time outside the home, life is tough, and there’s never enough time. Up until last month I was a work at home wife, running this blog, my virtual assistant business, and writing books. But when my husband came to me, after going over the family finances, he decided it was time I went back to work for a season. (Yes, we believe in Biblical submission, no, it’s not what you think it is. Read about Biblical submission here.)
While I was so fortunate to go back to my old job at the daycare I worked at before I got cancer, I knew that leaving the home full time was going to have a big impact on our family. And it did.
Sometimes in life, while our ship is amidst the storms we have to remember to surrender the helm to the Lord, and cling to His promises, waiting for the rainbow to arrive.
From working full time as the cook, and managing three home business’ on the side, I’ve already become burned out. Even with all of my planning, lists and schedules, the problem I have been having is creating time where there isn’t any. Despite all of my attempts, most days will result in me coming home, making dinner and crashing in bed by seven. I know, strange right?
But with all that I have on my plate, one thing I’ve noticed become worse in the last month is the struggle I’ve had with comparison and contentment with other women in my life. From the PTA mom who has four kids, works full time, volunteers and has a spotless house, to the single mom of two who keeps it all together and organized and never seems to struggle.
I can’t keep up.
I can’t even pretend to keep up.
While I can try to keep a joyful appearance, and to quickly make it through my work day while being able to pay attention to all of the details, it is not sometime that I can pull off everyday, despite my wishes.
It was when I was talking to a friend recently that I finally understood why these women could do what they do everyday without breaking a sweat. And the simple answer:
Because they don’t have Jesus.
The long answer:
The women who do it all are always neglecting something. While it all looks beautiful and shiny from the outside, on the inside their is misery and decay. Whether they are neglecting their marriages, or the hearts of their children, something important is always being neglected. Because they don’t know Jesus, they don’t know where the important things lie. And while they are keeping up with the Jones’, and are being rewarded in this life; they will find that in the next, their mistakes will need to be paid for.
Which is where I’m struggling. Because I know that it is more important to serve the hearts of the Lord and my husband than it is to please people at my job. But at the same time, without a job, we would not be where we need to be financially. So for now, in this season of life I am stuck in the never ending struggle of balance. But that might not be true for you.
No matter what you’re going through in life, just having more on your plate than you can manage can seem like an impossible obstacle. Trying to balance the atmosphere in your home, the hearts of your families, time with the Lord, doing His works, and whatever else is going on is a lot to begin with. So adding more to it (as is expected of the 21st century wife) can be an extreme burden to bear.
But even with everything that may be going on (whether it’s scheduling kids’ activities, taking on a full time job, or something else) we have to remember that with the Lord, all things are possible.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30
So when you’re facing a storm in life that has been placed upon you unwillingly, I want you to remember a few things.
Be Steadfast in Your Faith
No matter what gets thrown at you in your life, be sure to remember and put God and His ministry (your family) at the center of your attention. Life will throw a lot of things at you, but in the end the only things that matter are His children.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. -James 1:2-4
Eliminate the Unnecessary
Whether it’s getting rid of your child’s extra-curricular activities, your volunteer positions, or getting rid of your full time job (if you’re able to, don’t just throw that away), get rid of the unimportant so that you can focus more of your attention towards the home. In the end, the positions or things that fill your time won’t matter, but the love in your home and your love of the Lord will.
But, if you’re in a situation like I am, unable to eliminate and unable to find an easy answer to help unclutter and de-stress your life, then here are a few things you still can do.
Put the Important Things First
You may not be able to eliminate the job, or the volunteer work from your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay on our front burner. Make it a point to speak to your husband about carving out family time every night, to help you re-focus and spend time with those who are most important.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
Spend 30 minutes each night to lay open your calendar and planner and see what’s coming up for the next day. Sometimes we miss appointments, or kids activities in the business and that can be a source of guilt and divide in your family. If you can’t cancel the events, be sure to know what’s coming the next day and when. Plan out each hour and give each hour a purpose. Even if that purpose is “relax”. After you know what you’re doing the next day, take another fifteen minutes to lay out your clothing, and prepare your bag. (If you work at a job like mine, be sure to pack a sweet treat and an extra pair of clothes when things go south.) This will give you more time in the morning, and a sense of accomplishment when you first wake up.
Trouble and struggles may fill many days on this earth, but that does not mean that we have to succumb to the sorrows of the world. Find delights in everyday things, and sooner than you know it you will have made your way out of the storm your in.
Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. -Psalm 119:143
If you find yourself struggling, I want to encourage you to join other women of faith and don’t bear your struggles alone. We have a Facebook group called The Homemaker’s Corner where wives come together to encourage one another and lift each other up as sisters in Christ. I invite you to join us and know that you are not alone in this storm.