This past week has been the usual busy, but in the midst of this particular busyness, I’ve had time to think about my life in ways I don’t normally have time to. When I do have extra time to think, I usually struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy as a mom. I don’t do enough; I don’t give enough; I’m not there enough; I don’t listen well enough.
I do love my work with the Home School Foundation. We’re helping families who want to homeschool their children but are facing financial difficulties to do so. My whole heart is in this mission. Yet, in the deepest part of me, I would love to be a stay-at-home mom like God allowed me for 23 years. Juggling work and homeschooling and home life is never natural or easy for me, and whether I’m working, teaching, or serving at home, I am reminded that I am finite, so very finite.
“Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” ~Psalm 37:3
This week my three, still-at-home kids attended a wonderful camp called Worldview Academy. This is Charity’s fourth year in a row to attend, and it’s John and Amy’s first time to go. They all loved the faculty’s teaching and genuine love for Christ, felt God was speaking to each of them, and made some new friends, too. Making the 5+ hour drive up to Nyack, NY to drop them off gave me time to pray and think while they mostly slept or read or listened to music on the way up. I didn’t mind having this quiet time because I knew they would probably have a lot to share on the way home. I was looking forward to their recounting the week’s experiences with me.
After dropping them off, I continued down to New Jersey where my husband Peter lives during the week because that’s where his job is. We’ll be celebrating our first anniversary a week from today (happy dance) and in the past year, while we’ve been apart a lot, God has also knit our hearts together in new ways as we’ve worked through what it looks like to love Christ and love each other in marriage.
Since Peter’s never been married before and has been living alone almost 30 years, he is quite accustomed to fending for himself. This week, however, he underwent surgery to correct some serious sinus issues which have affected his sleep for more than 12 years, giving me an opportunity to care for him through the whole process. Not knowing how he would respond to the procedure—if he experienced significant pain or discomfort, complications, etc.—I just prayed God would be with us both and would help me know how best to help him.
After 15 years of caring for my late husband Chris through medical emergencies and multiple injuries because of his MS—which honestly was quite scary as well as physically and emotionally draining at times—caring for Peter’s needs came easily. He is a very laid-back patient—not demanding, doesn’t complain, and is appreciative of the littlest things. What a gift from the Lord he is!
When he woke up in the middle of the second night after surgery with fever, the shakes and increased bleeding from his sinuses, however, I was a bit fearful for him. I wished we’d had a thermometer and that we were back at home in Virginia, instead of in a hotel room near the hospital where he had his surgery. Again, I struggled somewhat with feeling guilty and inadequate at not being able to do more for him in his time of need.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” ~Hebrews 11:6
Once we saw the doctor that next day and he gave us the reassurance that Peter was not in any imminent danger, I felt relieved, no longer anxious about leaving him alone while I picked up my kids from camp to head back home with them. On the drive up to New York to get my kids, I thought more about why I routinely feel guilty about how I’m doing as a mom and wife.
While it is true that we can always improve in loving and serving the precious ones God has placed in our lives, we will never reach perfection. Even in our giving, we can never give the way God can, who gives completely, perfectly and always in the way we most need it. I’m called to be faithful. (Psalm 37:3) If I’m trying to be that, and am doing so by faith, I am pleasing my God. (Hebrews 11:6)
When I struggle with feeling guilty for not doing more, being more, listening more, giving more—the list could go on and on—I am not rightly viewing how my heavenly Father relates to me in Christ. I’m more focused on what I think I need to do than on what He has already done, revealing to me once again, that I am still learning what real love looks like.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 8:1