Real Life (by Lisa Anderson)
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:25).
We always told our parents we wanted them to live with us when the time came that they needed help. Jim’s mom resisted that for a long time. She finally capitulated after enjoying a wonderful ocean vacation with us, only to realize she would have to go back to living alone. We added an in-law addition to our house, and she lived with us until she passed away. Now we are blessed to have my parents living in the apartment. Just as children cause us to “die to ourselves,” helping one’s elderly parents also causes a certain amount of death. To meet the needs of another, you have to lay down some of your own wants and desires.
Arghhhh! What an interruption to my life! This was a frequent thought I had when we moved my parents to Spokane and were getting them settled. That meant getting them established with new doctors, paying their bills, figuring out their prescriptions, and buying their groceries. Then one day I realized this: These things are not an interruption to life. These things are life! Meeting my parents’ needs is just as important as anything else I could be doing. It totally changed everything to have that perspective.
The same is true of mothering. It’s so easy to think of the daily tasks of motherhood as getting in the way of the real life I could be living. In the midst of changing diapers, doing laundry, making meals, shopping for groceries, driving kids to lessons, taking care of sick kids, and cleaning house, it’s easy to think: I can’t wait until this season of my life is over so I can get on with what’s really important. That is a lie of the enemy!
The life you are living right now is real life. It is valuable and important in the plans and purposes of God in the earth.
The enemy tries to get us to believe that any work “out there” is more important than what we are doing at home. Contrary to that lie, your work at home, dear mother, is essential for the success of the church and society. The well-being of both of these depends on the strength and health of the foundational building block of the family and home, of which you are in charge. This foundation has been destroyed. You are helping rebuild it. Everything you do in relation to that is crucial work.
Firemen are often the first-responders to reach people who are in a medical emergency or accident. Sean, a former fireman friend of ours, encountered many people in these situations over the course of his job. When people know they are near (or possibly near) death, the words that come out of their mouths are eye-opening and educational. Sean never heard someone ask about their investments or bank accounts. No one ever bemoaned the fact that they didn’t have a bigger house or more important career. Instead, what came out of their mouths were statements like these: “Get my family.” “I want to see my husband and children.” Some even said this: “I wish I had had more children.” “I wish I had spent more time with my children.” Facing death has a way of bringing life’s important issues to the forefront.
In the end, nothing “out there” will be that important. Looking back, you will not regret the years you spent with your children. You will realize you were living real life at its finest.
Keep on, dear mother. You are doing important work!
PS: After living with us for 3 ½ years, my mom went home to be with the Lord on May 17, 2016 at the age of 88.
Describe your feelings of missing out on “real life” as a mother.
What aspects of “dying to self” in motherhood are most difficult for you?
Explain how the condition of the family unit affects either positively or negatively the church and society. Share how that realization can give greater vision to you as a mother and homemaker.
In the end, what do you think will have been most important to you in life? Are there things you can change now to insure you have no regrets when you die?
Pray for new grace in those areas of “dying to self” that are most difficult.
Pray that all that entails “real life” will become more important to you than anything else.
Pray for a supernatural grace to be upon you to enjoy and fully embrace the long road of motherhood and view it as a valuable and worthwhile endeavor.