The Household of Faith
By Barbara Russell
I was not a perfect mother, and I do not have all the answers, so when it is time to write another FAR article, my brain is screaming, “Why do I even do this?!” Are mothers even reading it? And if they are, does it even help them?
Watching my daughter-in-law raise her 1, 2, and 3-year-olds often brings back painful memories of when I was a young mother. Mothers are so busy training, disciplining, planning and preparing meals, doing laundry, cleaning house, gardening, schooling, and some are also working a part- or full- time job! If a mom does get an opportunity to read FAR, is it encouraging or overwhelming? Does she feel like giving up, because she already believes she is doing the best she knows how, and NOW this writer has the nerve to point out even more areas in which she can improve? She may think, “I’m exhausted! I never do anything for myself. I give, give, give and I still can’t get everything done! I must be so unorganized! How do some ladies have the time to paint their nails and get all ‘dolled up?’ I am ecstatic if I get to have a shower, brush my hair, and get dressed for the day!”
So I am thinking that my readers may be ladies who are single, are married with no children, have older children, or are empty nesters or grandmothers like me. How can we be a blessing to these very busy moms who are usually doing their best, but just need a little encouragement? I know! EVERYONE is busy! But this is certainly an area of service worth considering.
As a young mother, I was blessed to live close to family, but not every mother does. This is one reason why it is such a blessing to have a CHURCH family.
I will never forget sitting in a church service with my three, very busy young children, and wondering why I even bothered coming to church, when a dear lady of our church stretched out her arms, offering to take one. My first thought was, “No, I should be able to do this; they are MY children, and I should not rely on other people to help me!” But I allowed her take one, which enabled me to concentrate on the other two. I chose to receive her help as a blessing, and did not assume that she was thinking that I was this terrible mother who didn’t know how to control her children.
I do realize that whenever we offer to help a mother, we take the risk that she will not respond positively, but here are a few suggestions on how we can be a blessing to mothers, not just at church, but throughout the week. These are relatively non-evasive, and for which most mothers would be very grateful.
Choose a mother each week to be a blessing to, by using your own talents.
* Maybe you are a Baker who make a fresh loaf of bread, cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, or a nutritious cookie.
*A Chef and could make a casserole or a pot of soup.
*A Gardener and could share fresh veggies, or fruit such as raspberries, blueberries or strawberries
*A Shopper and can purchase beef sticks, cheese sticks, oranges, apples, or a pizza
From my experience, some of these items are a luxury to families with small children, because finances are short. And anytime a mother has one less meal to prepare, it is a huge blessing!
If you notice a mother hasn’t been to church in awhile because of sickness in the family, text/call her to see if there is anything you can do to be helpful. She may hesitate, so suggest, but don’t be pushy.
*I’m going to the store. Is there anything I can pick up for you?
*I can come over and play with the kids if you need to run some errands or get some rest. (If the mom is the one who has been sick, she may be embarrassed for you to see her messy house, so she may not like this suggestion at all. Instead, you could offer to come and get the kids to take them to a park or an indoor play land.
If you are a close friend or relative maybe you could…
* Offer to take her children 1 day every other week, so she can get caught up on things around the house.
*Watch the children, so she can go out with her husband or a friend – and have some much needed adult conversation!
And to moms with young children who may be reading this, I have a suggestion that may help you to be a blessing to each other. Trade off with other mothers in the church. One day a month, you watch her children, and another day that month, she watches your children. Doing this provides several benefits…
*Moms get to accomplish extra tasks at home that on a regular basis don’t get done.
*Moms get a renewed strength which enables them to press on.
* Moms get to see how well their children interact with other children, and it helps them to see areas in which need improvement.
*And best of all, it has the potential to build unity in a church. When mothers are helping each other, they begin to build a friendship and a bond with each other instead of having a critical spirit toward one another.
Moms, if I may be so bold to suggest, when you are struggling, and people offer to help, please don’t think they are criticizing you, or think that you are a bad mother, or that you just need to “get your act together.” It is usually our own insecurities and pride that make us feel that way. Instead, accept it as a service of love. We all need help in one area or another. If there is anything I learned as a young mother, it was to be teachable, and to not become overly sensitive, or as some say, “wear my feelings on my sleeve!
Galatians 6:10 says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith”
“Please Excuse Our Mess, We’re Busy Making Memories”
By Malissa Custer
It seems they are all around me: Memes constantly telling me to leave the dishes dirty and play with my kids. “Cleaning with children in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.” They are cute, funny and mostly true.
Every day, the amount of chaos created by these tiny humans- children- is overwhelming. I’ve tried the mindset, “Today, I will play with the kids and leave the house cleaning until tomorrow.” The problem is, the entire time I’m playing, I’m annoyed because my house is messy. I cannot completely relax, unless all my tasks are taken care of. When my house is messy, I feel anxious, annoyed and impatient. So, when I see these memes or blogs that talk about leaving it all be, and being a fun mom, I feel guilty. “Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens, and happy kids.”
I feel guilty, because there seems to be some implication that I am less fun because I need organization and cleanliness. I feel as though I’m shorting my kids somehow, by taking time every day to make things tidy. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. What makes me happy and content as a mother? A clean house. What makes me carefree? Having most of the to do list complete. When I feel overwhelmed by life and need a break, what is it that is overwhelming me? Well, for me, a big part of that is a messy house. It takes time and energy to keep things up, and sometimes I don’t have either. The other extreme is someone who can’t have fun if there is a mess being made; someone who is mad at their children for just being kids.
Obviously there has to be a balance in all of this somewhere: the perfect mix of order and chaos that teaches good habits to your kids, but doesn’t make life stiff and sterile. I am a better mom when the dishes are done. We have a great time with our sock sorting contests. Real life includes work, every day. Teaching your kids that organizing and cleaning are a part of life only stands to help them in the long run. Teaching them that life is not 100% fun will also help them as adults. Young adults who are proficient in every area of homemaking possess a valuable skill. So many important Biblical principles can be taught and practiced with everyday chores. I am a fun mom, when we are working together. We create memories after the dishes are done. Finding your own family’s balance in this area, and sticking with it, should create a peace and happiness in your home that you, as a mom, should crave.
“Clutter is the Enemy of Clarity”
“I think I have an urge to get up and clean the house. Wait… no. False alarm.”
“Home is My Happy Place”
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
“Don’t Forget in the Tasks of Motherhood, to Experience the Joy of Mothering.”