A Wasted Day?
by Tamara Eaton
Do you ever look back upon your day and think, "What did I
really accomplish?" Every week I hear from frustrated mothers who
feel they don't have enough hours in the day to do all that's needed. Most of
them have young children and when someone asks them, "What did you do
today?", they look back and have a hard time producing tangible evidence
of a full day's work!
"Hmmm...I cleaned up the house some but it's messy again. The
dishes were done, but we used them again. I spent time cooking dinner but we
ate it in fifteen minutes. We homeschooled---children, tell your father what
you learned today!"
(Young children give their mom a blank look, then sidle up next to her and
whisper, "What? Tell me again!")
We've all probably had days like this!
One of the busiest seasons of life is when all the children are young --on
the other hand, when they are young, you can afford to be more relaxed about
their homeschooling and cover the necessary work in just a few hours a
week--while spending more time working on attitudes, obedience, sibling
relationships, teamwork, talking and learning about the Lord, enjoying hugs
and stories, learning about nature and why things work the way they do,
counting spoons and subtracting and dividing cookies--and of course, answering
lots of questions!
Are you viewing taking care of all the children's needs, changing
diapers, answering questions, wiping tears, teaching obedience, mopping up
spilled milk, etc., as "interruptions"? They're not, they are
some of the MAIN occupations of a mom with young children!
So often during these years, our efforts seem to have no tangible results
at the end of the day, but just because we can't always SEE what's been
done, doesn't mean nothing has been accomplished. We are shaping young
lives, and allowing the Lord to shape ours in the process as we yield to Him
each day. We are ministering to the Lord as we minister to our family!
We do need to be on guard against time-wasters-- the telephone,
television, too many outside activities, letting things go with the children
and not taking time to train and correct them in a Christlike manner.
(Otherwise, countless minutes are wasted by having to repeat ourselves every
time we tell the children to do something!)
I no longer have very young children but I'd like to share something I
wrote years ago when I had a nursing baby, an active 2 year old and
homeschooled four older children. [Just so no one thinks I can't remember
what it was like in those days!]
I used to like everything perfectly planned and in order, but I have had
to learn to relax--six children and a "perfect" house just don't go
together. I'll admit I still have days I'd like to have my own apartment just
so I could have just one place kept perfectly neat! I have to be
flexible because with so many young children, things often get put on hold. We
do have a good basic routine, which helps, but I have to allow time for
interruptions. I also make lists and then don't get upset if I don't get
everything done. A new day begins tomorrow!
I have to remind myself that even though it may seem like I
didn't accomplish much some days, I'm actually doing the most important work
in the world--helping to mold and shape precious human lives with the
Lord's help. What an awesome responsibility. We can provide a secure,
loving environment for them in the midst of all the chaos in the world! We can
lead them to Jesus, teach them His ways and help prepare them for the unique
ministry that He has for each one of them.
Sometimes too, we must think of all the things that could have
happened that day, but didn't! The children didn't throw a temper tantrum
and talk back because we have been faithful to be consistent and train them in
the ways of the Lord. (Not that they aren't still "in training" in
some areas--we are, too!) They didn't experience rejection because we have
demonstrated our unconditional love for them. They didn't grow hungry because
we fed them peanut butter sandwiches and fruit! They were sheltered from many
negative circumstances--they were safe in our care. They heard about Jesus
from our lips and saw Him in our lives today, they joined in with singing
songs to Him.
If the floor didn't get mopped, and the clothes are filling all eight
baskets in the laundry room, what difference does it make? Eventually those
things will get done, but in the meantime, our children have a mother who
truly loves and cares for them, even during the less than glorious times!
Some days being a godly mother is all one can accomplish--and it is a
BIG accomplishment. After all, I don't plan to take my baskets of laundry
and the kitchen floor with me when Jesus returns--I do plan to take my family!
And there won't be any quizzes for my 9 year old to make sure she knows
her multiplication tables before she enters Heaven. We've got to keep
things in perspective. Academics are important, but there are other things
more important--and if we keep the right perspective, the Lord will bless
our homeschooling, our mothering, and our family!
[Please note--this was written years ago and I can now report that the nine
year old is now a teenager and knows her multiplication tables well!]
Attempting to be "good stewards" of their time, some mothers
crowd many activities into each day. Therefore, they end up pressuring
themselves in ways God never intended! We need time to train our children
and enjoy them--time to rest and meditate upon God's Word and allow Him to
speak. Time to act in response to circumstances of daily life instead
of reacting to the swirling events that surround us. Doing all things
without murmurings and disputings--that we might shine as lights, holding
forth the word of life--so we can say with Paul, that we will not have
laboured in vain. (Colossians 3)
If this has been a struggle for you recently, why not ask the Lord to
give you His perspective, and allow Him to reveal any areas that need
changing? He is so patient and longsuffering with us, and the conviction
of the Holy Spirit is always tempered with encouragement that we can repent, receive
forgiveness and a clean slate. He delights in our dependence upon Him and
freely bestows all the grace we need!
Don't allow a search for tangible accomplishments to distract you from
the work the Lord is doing through you in your children's hearts. This
ministry has eternal consequences and rewards, and truly you'll reap
"treasures in Heaven" if you're faithful!
" And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye,
always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good
work" --2 Corinthians 9:8
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto
men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24
" And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto
you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me." -- Matthew 25:40
"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." --Matthew
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit
publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the
copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the
publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high
school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their
homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information,
please join us on the Christian Homeschool
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."