For a few weeks our pastor at church has been doing a series he calls Home Improvement. This past Sunday, the 18th, he focused on wives and mothers - using the title "June Cleaver isn't real". He wanted to make his point that she is a fictional character in a television program. Yes, it seems nice that she is in a dress and pearls with the house spotless, dinner on the table, dessert in the oven and with a smile on her face, but that is just not realistic all the time.
His sermon has really gotten to me. I haven't been able to get it out of my head and have felt the need to write about it. I have never been a June Cleaver. I have always been one who would rather spend time with my husband, kids, family or friends then be doing things around the house. When I got pregnant with Austin, I started to really feel the needs of my family and home. I was making lists of things that needed to get done and really taking on more of the duties of the home - or at least trying. However, ever since Austin has gotten here, the amount that I can get done in a day has gotten smaller. I started to worry and compare myself to others. My husband never made me feel this way, in fact, he was very supportive and understanding of the new situation. It was all me and my doing as to why I was feeling this way. I really needed to hear this sermon. I am not sure that before I heard it that I knew I needed to hear it, but I did. Why? Because I am not June Cleaver, I am only myself. And I cannot and should not compare myself to other wives and mothers. Isn't that just setting myself up for failure? The reason I am not June Cleaver and neither is anyone else, is because no one is perfect. Therefore, we can't do everything perfectly. Instead, Pastor Bob said we should set and live by priorities - Biblically Based Priorities.
These priorities that Pastor Bob talked about were from Proverbs 31:10-31.
The first priority that he talked about, which happens to be the most important, is to have a vibrant relationship with God. Verse 30 says "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." In a world where fashion, beauty and looks are what many people measure themselves and others by, as a Christian woman, wife and mother, our priority should be to our relationship with God. Not what clothes we have, how beautiful we look and how we can attain more of these things. We should not be focused on charm and attractiveness. That is not to say we can't being charming or attractive, but just be aware that it should not be WHO we are. Pastor Bob gave some things we can do to help deepen our relationship with God:
~ Ask God for the strength we need for the day ahead and for His blessing for the course of the day.
~ In the simple things - ask Him for safety as we run errands and for wisdom in the things we do and the purchases we make.
~ Thank God for our families as you see the mounds of laundry that need to be done.
By doing all of these things, we can be setting examples for our children.
The second priority is to have a joyful ministry to family. First we are to focus on the relationship with Christ. Then the second priority is our family. However, in the family, the husband comes first, followed by the children. Even though sometimes this can be hard, our husbands should come before our children. Pastor Bob said that a wife adds dimensions to a man he would not have by himself. He also stated that if your relationship with Christ is what it should be then a God fearing wife and mother is family oriented. There are many verses through the passage that we covered that help show this. Verses 14 and 15 show that she keeps them fed. Verses 13, 19, 21 and 22 show that she keeps them clothed. Verse 11 shows that her husband has full confidence in her and that she can take care of the home and the children because she is God fearing.
The third priority is growth is Godly character - we should wholeheartedly be seeking this! This kind of goes back to the beauty and external parts of the first priority. For in a world that shouts a woman's character is all about her outside adornment and external things, it is important for us to be looking to the inside and focusing on what is going on there. 1 Peter 3:3-4 talks about what true beauty is. It says that it does not come from the external things, but from the internal. There is a list of what things to be looking for in our Godly character - the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). As we are trying to live by this priority, we should be praying for these characters to be flourishing within and to be nurtured. A Godly wife and mother should be more concerned about BEING than DOING - what she IS than how she PERFORMS.
The last priority is an overall balance in life. We should desperately trying to work at living a balanced life. If all we do is continually say yes to things and we do not have the confidence to say no, then we are only causing harm to other priorities that we are to live by. If you have things in line and are not trying to do everything alone, then you will have the ability to know what responsibilities and/or activities can or cannot fit in places. If it doesn't work with our schedule, we have to say no. It is very much impossible to do all of this alone, but oh so possible to do when the priorities are in line because your balance will tell us what to say yes to and what to decline. It is VERY ok to say no! There are some verses in this passage that tells us what a Godly wife and mother is involved in - Verse 20 - she opens her arms to the needy; Verse 24 - she is gracious and giving; Verse 25 - she laughs and does not fear the future; and Verse 26 - she invests and instructs others. Have confidence in what you do, but know that the health of your family and priorities can help you to know what is too much.
Pastor Bob ended his sermon with telling us to pray for the wives and mothers that we know in order to help them in their priorities. To live by God's principles and not by societies. It is very tiring to live by what the world deems is a "good" wife and mother and what that all entails. However, if we choose to live by what God deems is a good wife and mother, we are not doing it alone.