A few days ago while on the treadmill (I pray lots when I am on it), God asked me a question..."Heather, where do you receive your standard for your family?" I began to think about it for a time and was really surprised and disappointed with my answer.
Having a large family puts a lot of pressure and a mom! I have watched the Dugger's, we know many other families who have many children and I always come up with the same feeling..."What am I doing wrong?! Everyone else has it all together!" Then the comments I receive such as:
You are a super mom! How do you do it? You are AMAZING! Your kids are so well behaved! Do you ever lose it? It sure doesn't look like it! You look so normal! (Still wonder what that means!)
With all of that going on, it makes me really crazy sometimes! Because guess what? I am NOT a "super" mom, I am NOT amazing most days, my kids have meltdowns, bad attitudes, fight and talk back, I DO lose it and I guess maybe I look "normal" (still not totally sure about that one) but sometimes I don't feel like I am! With all of that being said, Christ is completing Himself in me day after day and through His grace, I am doing what He has called me to do,
I get sucked in to trying to be someone I am not sometimes and trying to imitate other's because I THINK that is what my standard should be! Self-imposed misery, guilt, desperation, and inadequacy is what that brings! Yes, we have a big family but why do I think we should all sing, play instruments, eat only organic foods, wear skirts, and make our own bread? Now, those things are great but if that is not what God has for our family right now, that's okay too!
My answer to the above question was, my standard was being set by what I perceive other's have done with their large families. I was not looking to God for what HIS standard it for us.
Our family LOVES sports and we LOVE to meet neighbors and cook meals for them, and my girls and I also love to serve in our women's ministry at our church. So my search for what "gifts" God has given our family is finally surfacing and I am asking GOD what we can do for Him! My husband has been unemployed for 19 months now and for many months, it was a battle. Questions are now starting to be answered. We feel we are going the direction we have longed for but did not know how to get there. Dad is at home with the boys most of time, while going out and doing "work" with the boys to provide income. The girls and I are sewing (well, I AM doing that!), baking and selling Tupperware to sell at our town's summer flea market. My oldest daughter plays the violin, my middle daughter is playing the guitar, the younger daughter plays the piano and the baby daughter, is just plain cute! We are starting to sing together and not sure yet how God will use that but it does not matter right now! We are doing it for God and that is what matters!!
In this society, other's lives look appealing and can make us feel inferior or maybe even make us strive for something that is not Godly for us! (Even though it may be Godly for someone else!) You can get really weary striving for something that is not meant to be! I am learning to look to God for His standard for our family. Writing down all of the special things that make my children who they are and encouraging those things in them so that God can do what He desires through them.
As for me? I have to look to my husband and God and His word for what His standard is for us. I don't have to live up to what other's think and try to please them. I only need to have eyes for my heavenly Father and ask for HIS direction. There is SO much peace in not striving anymore to be somebody we are not! I am a mother of 12 children but I struggle just as much as a mom with 1 or 2 children! I don't have it all together and I am constant prayer day in and day out to fight my fleshly battles! God is so faithful and I am so blessed but please don't put us mother's of large families on a pedestal! (Maybe that will help you realize we are just like you!) We are no different than anyone else trying to seek God and live for Him! We have lots to love and lots to endure but so do other people! God gives us much grace and teaches us as we go just as He did in bible times and as He does now in the 21st century!!
What is your standard of who you and your family are? Do you compare with other's or do you look to the One who created you and your family? Don't let the enemy steal the blessing God has for you by wasting your time striving for something He does not intend for you! Look to Him and will show you!