Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What you do is important

This is a message of encouragement to all the ladies out there who chose to dedicate their lives to serving their dear families at home. This is for you, joyful wives, blessed mothers, devoted daughters.

In the course of your life as a keeper at home, maybe – no, probably – you will come across people, who will sneer at what you are doing, claiming it is insignificant. That you aren't creating anything worthwhile. That you could be doing something more important with your life. The really sly ones will even speak to the inner voice of your faith, claiming you could serve God better than being 'just' a helpmeet and homemaker. You will be told a better way of showing your love for God would be to go out and reach out to as many people as possible.

But what you are doing is important. In our world of super speed and super size, we become so wrapped up in the 'grand', glorious things, forgetting that life is not made of grandeur and glory, but of simple moments, of humble joys and sweet memories of the home and family, of relationships we treasure above anything on this earth, relationships that are a reflection of Godly love. This is real life. And it cannot happen without you. Married or not, mother to many or childless, wife, daughter, sister, grandmother, aunt, cousin or friend – by living a sweet and peaceful home life, contentedly, with a smile on your face, you are creating a legacy that will last much, much longer beyond your lifetime.

Some will say – and unfortunately, I received notes of such content on my blog - leave the work of homemaking and serving a family to the less talented, less capable women. And let the smarter ones go and do something 'important'. How insulting, and above all, how foolish it is not to ask ourselves the following question: who will take care of the family and home of those 'more capable' ones while they are out and about, doing something 'really worthwhile'? If we love and honor God, how can we neglect a family He blessed and entrusted us with? No one can love and care like a wife for her husband, a mother for her children, a daughter for her parents. Looking after the ones closest to us should be our first and foremost priority, not to be neglected to pursue any other activity, even if in itself it seems rooted in goodness and kindness. If it would tear you away from the ones who need you the most, it can't be right.

There are many talented doctors, attorneys and scientists. But there is only one you. And you only have one family and one life. By putting your heart, mind and soul into creating a sweet, beautiful, peaceful home for the ones you love the most, you are doing something valuable beyond measure. Some will tell you that what you are doing is not a worthy or even valid choice. Some will compare the destructive chaos in their own crazy lives and your sweet, safe little haven, and out of jealousy will try to rob you of your peace. Don't listen to them. Just go on and keep doing what you have always been doing, creating memories and building a joyful, blessed, incredibly rich life at home.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Posts like this can be so encouraging, Anna, particularly on hard days, such as today was for me.

It is sometimes lonely to live a plain, sweet life...even though you know in your heart of hearts that it is the right thing to do.

with thanks, Brenda

Anna S said...

You are very welcome, Brenda! I *know* how lonely it can get, especially for women who don't have little children and can't - in the world's terms - 'justify' their focus on the home.

Dawn said...

This was great! I haven't gotten a negative comment in a long time from family or friends aboout me being a keeper at home and being childless. But I remember, in late 2004 or early 2005 my Aunt Betty (I love her but she is crazy...LOL.) went on and on about how my cousins were doing so well in college and this one is majoring in this and that one is majoring in that, and then goes off and tells me I need to go to college and that I need to get a job and quit mooching off my husband and on and on and on. I just sat their with a smile on my face and nodded till she was done...LOL.
She has no concept of the Bible so even if I tried to explain it to her it wouldn't do any good.
She hasn't said anything since.

Other than that, I haven't come across anyone...yet...who wants to drag me down because I am merely obeying the Word....but..I am sure it will happen sooner or later and when it does, I will be ready with Biblical answers. :)

God Bless You!

Coffee Catholic said...

So far I've been spared too much sneering. But then again I haven't been out much at all this past year because of my ankle hahahaha! GOD BLESS!

Oh...there goes the telephone for the 400th time. I'm going OUTSIDE hahaha

Mimi said...

stick to your convictions no matter what "other" people tell you...
God speaks to each of us and we are to follow his leadership in our lives.. not the opinions of those around us.. I am very impressed with your strength for one your age

Erin said...

This was a sweet piece of encouragement, Anna. My heart broke when, as I was talking to a new acquaintance (a stay-at-home mom of a 1-year-old), she said, "Once my son's old enough, I can get a real job." Little does she know what she's doing now is the most important job of all.

Anna S said...

Dawn, from my experience, childless ladies are the ones who have it worse... because, if you don't even have children, what on earth could you be doing all day at home?! *rolls eyes* (Tell this to my poor tired feet that haven't rested a moment today - and I was inside almost all day long :P)

Michelle... I guess the issues you had aren't resolved yet... *sigh* I wish you MUCH strength, I know you need it!!

And Erin, what you describe is indeed the prevalent attitude. I mean... a Mom of a 1-year-old probably has a big enough workload on her shoulders, but we have been so conditioned to think that real job = paycheck.

Coupon Addict said...

Anna,
I am encouraged by your maturity and wisdom. Thank you so much for such a lovely article. I am a stay at home wife and Mom and I love it. I have a nursing degree and you would not belive (okay you would) how many people question why I even got a degree to stay home and care for my family. It is difficult dealing with alleged Christians that feel uncomfortable with an educated woman that uses her education for her family, not someone elses. Never the less, this is my DREAM JOB. I love, love, love being at home. There is no other place I would rather be. I love my life. I am greatful every day I am at home with my family. God is so good to me. I am so encouraged by you Anna.
Thank You.

Kelly said...

Beautifully said Anna. Before I had my daughter it was awful trying to explain to people why I was a stay at home wife. I think most thought I was just lazy. Little do they know how much work is involved in keeping house.
Even now I get questions of when am I going back out into the workforce. Or I'm told that I'm wasting my education and intelligence at home. I disagree of course I have never used my talents and education better.
Kelly

Lily said...

Boy did I need to read this today! I think you've inspired a soon to come post on my own blog! The only problem is that now I'm up to my elbows in a complete home overhaul. I am getting ready for the new semester, which cannot start until the organizational binge (new curriculum) purge (older stuff) is complete and the reorganization/cleaning of shelves and spaces is finished. Blogging must wait. Perhaps the next bout of insomnia will yield the post.

My intended post, inspired by you, will focus on how these sweet, safe little havens we are creating (whilst wasting away our own college degreed brilliance) and the young minds we are forming, will provide the next generation of brilliant thinkers. Hopefully these young minds will be influenced by justice and morals. These two ideals are rarely presented together in schools, public, private, parochial or otherwise.

Anna Naomi said...

You truly have a beautiful, encouraging way with words! I haven't gotten much flak, though a few people have mentioned in shock the work I do around the house. Once I'm "old enough" to be out on my own, we'll see what people say...

Mrs. Brigham said...

Wonderful and encouraging post! I faced many less than nice comments during my early days of marriage, but much of that has ceased since Peapod came along. (My in-laws still do not understand, but they live across the continent and never see us ;o)) I have been fortunate to meet many working mothers and women who do not have children who are very kind, supportive, and compassionate towards homemakers. Even many who wish to do it themselves, but are unsure how to leave the workforce, etc. It seems that there are many women who do "get" the value of home & family, though critics are FAR more vocal than the kind people out there.

Your last paragraph really does sum up why people attack women who go against the grain of society and rock the boat. (Not just about staying home, either. Breastfeeding, cloth diapering, organic food, frugal living, and much more can cause such nasty debate & comments!)Rather than face their own demons & trials, they would rather put others down in an attempt to feel better. I really do think the best thing we can do for such "opponents" is pray for them, the situation they might be in, and the nasty feelings they are allowing to brew deep within and spill out.

Rebekah S. said...

Amen, Anna! Thank you SO much for being such an encouragement! I have a grandmother who, when she finds out, will be incredibly disappointed and angry when she finds out I will not be attending college, that I will be a homemaker, and Lord willing, future mother to many blessings. It is so wonderful to know there are other likeminded girls and young women out there who are obeying the Word, despite the culture. Thank you!

Ron and Ginny said...

Thank you for this post. I stay at home and am childless... You know, if someone is so smart and goes out and leaves her home and family to be tended by the not-so-smart, how smart is that? LOL!

Anna S said...

If I choose to share my vision as a future wife in the *real world* (which I don't do very often, to avoid nasty confrontations), I get many lamentations such as, 'but what a waste of your brains, talents, degree'... whatever! I know I can put my talents and abilities to very good use at home. I already do that.

Lily, can't wait to read your post! I hope you will drop me a note when you write it. But of course you must prioritize. :)

Anna, I suppose that like me, you might be see more than one or two raised eyebrows of people who wonder why on earth you aren't moving out, to pursue the wild life of an independent young woman :P

Amy, I do see a great deal of defensiveness in the negative remarks I receive. But, whatever happens, I hope to proceed with calm and dignity.

Rebekah, I wish you much success in achieving, God willing, your beautiful vision, in His time! And, as daughters at home, we can also be happy, creative and productive.

Sheri said...

Beautifully written Anna! Keep sharing the "beauty of home and family" my dear sister in the Lord.

Ways of Zion said...

Thank you Thank you Thank yoU! I'd been having a trying and exhausting day getting ready for company that phoned this morning and are arriving tnight for the weekend! The Children had been trying my patience and i was at the end of my rope....your kind and caring words help to lift me out of my rut and I've decided instead of a sparkling house, I'll sit down and read stories to the kids while sipping some mint tea! Thanks Again!

RMC said...

Wonderful post, Anna! If only I could direct my mother-in-law over here... hmmm...

For me, just as bad as the rude remarks is the fact that everyone expects me to do everything, because I "don't have a job." I ll of this despite the fact that my glive about 8 miles from my family, and they will call me to come to their house and move the horses from one pasture to another or want me to drive almost 20 miles to the feed store they prefer to get the dog food they prefer for them, even though they live almost 10 miles closer to it than I do! Obviously, I should do this for them because I "don't have a job" and they are "too busy" to do it themselves.

Surely I am not the only one with issues like this.

Anna S said...

Ways of Zion, I'm glad my humble words were of some comfort to you! We all have *those days*... mine was yesterday ;)

RMC, I know very well what you're talking about. Sometimes I get a call from a friend... 'can you go for a coffee?' 'Um... I'm kinda busy right now' 'Busy? But you're at home, so you don't have anything to do right??' *rolls eyes*

Ashley said...

Oh, Anna! Thank you so much for this post! Recently, dh's other sister went back to work, leaving me the only SAHW/M. Now both of her sons are in daycare; but she is very 'happy and fulfilled' with her new job, and now the time she has with her sons is 'quality' as opposed to before. Huh?

My MIL is probably thrilled that I stay home with her grandson, BUT all I ever hear are comments about how I'm 'trapped' & 'stuck' at home with a toddler - so I'm not sure why she thinks I've chosen such myrterdom! She has made it abundantly clear that she did not enjoy it when her children were young ...

Anyway, thank you so much for this post. I don't get so many negative comments as I do simply no positive ones!! And I detest the way the question is usually worded: 'So you *just* stay home?'

Lol, what an understatement!!!!

Blessings,
Ashley

Anna S said...

Ashley, it saddens me how in our culture so much emphazis is put on petty self-fulfillment, instead of the *true* fulfillment which can only come with pouring out pure and unconditional love to our dear ones, every day, and this is *so* difficult to do when we're away from home for many hours. I feel for you; I understand your struggles very well!

Wendy WaterBirde said...

There's this old Hasidic saying, "things that come from the heart go to the heart". This post was so heartfelt that it goes to the heart of things, i just loved it : )

Paix,

Wendy

Bonnie said...

Thank you for the encouragement! I agree, there is something very special in staying at home and doing what the Lord intended us to do. :-)

Jordin said...

Ashley said:

"Now both of her sons are in daycare; but she is very 'happy and fulfilled' with her new job, and now the time she has with her sons is 'quality' as opposed to before. Huh?"

My mother uses this as her excuse. She says, "But if I go to work, then the time that we DO have together will be of greater 'quality'. We'll appreciate each other more." My response is the same as Ashley's: "What?!?" That is the sorriest excuse I've ever heard! God, I think, commands us to stay at home AND to make our time "quality" time--whether we are working at home alone or have children in the home with us.

Thanks for the encouragement, Anna! :)

loretta said...

Thank you so much for this post. My friends have been quiet about my decision to leave grad school and move back in with my mother to help her take care of our home but I know that they think I am throwing away my chances of a competitive career and a high paying job. I know in my heart that I have made the right decision but it's nice to hear some encouragement. :)

JoAnn said...

What a very nice entry. And as a stay at home, homeschooling mom, I will gladly take the encouragement you just gave. Thank you very much. :)
JoAnn

Lindsy said...

Anna,

Here is a quote I think you'll love:

"To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute."--G. K. Chesterton in What's Wrong with the World

Candy said...

Thanks for this post Anna.
I am a full time homemaker and one of the few that I know in my family and circle of friends.
I think people tend to think its ok to be a "stay at home mom" when your kids are little. But, if your like me, and your child(ren) is older and in school, people wonder why in the world your still "at home". They probably think Im lazy or something.
YET....I hear THEM complaining all the time: "oh, I only have 2 more days of holiday left and then I have to get back to work. I dont want to go back to work". So, they dont even want to be there..yet, they judge me? I dont get it..
All I know is I feel good about my choice, and my husband does too. And I believe we are honoring God. Its not like being at home isnt work..it is alot of work! And I love it :)
Very inspiring as always! Keep it up, your awesome!!!! :)

Shannon said...

Anna, God Bless You! I had a rough day today, broke down and cried on the phone with my dear mother. I have been stressed with starting school and decided to drop a class and just take one course, and try to focus on my spiritual life, and relationships which tend to suffer when you go to school as I am sure you are well aware of. The world puts so much pressure on us women to do it all and have it, yet in that pursuit we leave very important things on the back burner. Faith, family and creating a legacy in that is sorely neglected when we all become caught up in careers, the green back, palaces, SUVs, etc. While I do believe that some women have special callings (My doctor is female and is wonderful) It is shameful to ridicule a woman who wants to serve her family and make sacrifices. Btw, I love your new blog header, please design mine LOL! Have a great day!

Anna S said...

Lindsy, I LOVED that quote, thank you for sending it! I shared it with one young woman who emailed me, expressing doubts about the importance of woman's work at home.

And Candy, I can imagine that mothers of children who are not so little anymore get about the same amount of negative comments as childless women... 'Well now that you shipped them off to school/college, what are you waiting for?!' - I'm so happy for you that your husband appreciates it, though. You are so fortunate!

And Shannon, I understand you so well! I lived at home during my college years, but there were many mornings when I didn't even have time to make my bed, or eat breakfast, or even pray!.. Also, as I see it, the question is not how good a woman could be at a certain field - because so far, most of the homemakers I know are very intelligent and talented, and could be a success, I'm sure, at any other work they would choose - but rather, how much of herself a woman can give to that other pursuit, without neglecting her duties to husband, children and home.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Anna, I appreciate this so much! :->

Melissa said...

I spoke to my grandmother recently about how our (only) car is in need of a new transmission, and she told me I need to "get a job and help out" my husband. When I replied that my job is to stay home and raise my daughter, she said my child is quickly growing up, so I won't be needed any more. My grandmother!! (who, by the way, always "had to work" when her children were young). I told her that God has called me to stay home and care for my family. The conversation upset me, of course. But my husband reassured me (bless him) afterward. I know the world is against us keepers-at-home, but I also remember that we are to be in the world, but not of it. Blessings to you for your eloquent writings on the subject.

Anna S said...

Melissa, how very *blessed* you are to have a husband who knows and appreciates the work you do at home, despite all the implications of our culture and feminist brainwashing. Today I received an email from a lady who isn't as fortunate, and will share her inquiry here soon.

Lizzy K said...

Anna, I read this on our homeschooling group (RHSN), and I love it! I was wondering if you would allow me to put this post of yours on my own blog? Giving credit to you, of course! SMILE.

Anna S said...

Of course, Lizzy; you are very welcome to do so!

Karen said...

Thank you! I'm feeling very blessed that much of my family approves of my being a homemaker, I think it is me who is the most critical on myself!

Mrs.B said...

I loved this post Anna!--Great job! It was so encouraging to read!

And I love the name change on your blog.--'Felicity' is one of my favorite words. (o:

Because of Christ,
~Mrs.B