Last week I got a tough call from a faraway friend who is a Christian wife and mom. She was distressed about being a mother to her three children and wondered aloud why she had them in the first place. What followed, as she spilled out her heart, grieved me. She admitted she was wrapped up in a vacation she was planning to go on a few months from now with her husband. "It's all I can think about," she told me. My heart ached for her. Not because of her apparent plight with unruly children, but because she had become an empty housewife. Proverbs 4:23 warns, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life." Idols of the heart will steal the joy of the task the Lord places before us. That day the tremendous joy of motherhood and raising a young family was escaping my friend. I wondered how many picturesque Christian housewives felt exactly like my friend, but lacked the honesty to admit it. How often is the delight, wonder, and amazement that should accompany shepherding our young children replaced with a bitter resentment? What a tragic thing to wish away the fleeting moment we get to have with our kids.
I will be the first to say I am not a stranger to being so tired at the end of the day that I can't wait to tuck in my kids. I know what it is like to sometimes feel exhausted and frazzled and just downright tired of meeting everyone else's demands (or changing their diapers, as the case may be). Ladies, the danger lurks in staying in that place. We must continually fight whatever is vying to steal our affections from living and serving Jesus first and foremost. If we do not, our children and our joy will be lost in the balance. How could my friend's two year old (who was getting in to something else she wasn't supposed to) compete with the day dreams in her heart of the vacation that would "fix" her marriage and make her dream husband emerge from the man she is married to? How can any child compete with the idols of our hearts?
We must continually fight whatever is vying to steal our affections from living and serving Jesus first and foremost.
Ladies, the truth is only Jesus can support the weight of your expectations. Your husband was not designed to fulfill you and all your princess fantasies. Your kids will continually fall short of your expectations and disappoint you if you're placing the pressure of being a little god on them. They will grow up resenting you and despising your pressures. At best, you will hate your daily life and look to fulfill yourself outside the home with whatever new thing suits you, whether it's shopping, that gym membership, that guy who complimented you in the store, whatever. The sad truth is, as you set up your kids, your husband, or your vacation as an idol you have set yourself up to be disappointed and disapproving from the get-go. There is no happy ending in that place.
If you find yourself as part of the empty housewife club today, fall on your knees and beg Jesus to awaken your heart again to the truths of His Word. Lay down the things that are hindering your worship and gaze at the cross. Hug your children and pray against the effects of your sin on their lives. Ask their forgiveness if need be. Then watch again, as your eyes are opened to the amazement and innocence of childhood. Don't waste these precious days with self-preoccupation. Point your kids to Jesus and keep your eyes on the cross.