"Practically in shackles..."

(Tim) In response to the post, "The Pleasures of Patriarchy, part 1," over on ClearNote Women's Blog, my daughter Hannah Weeks wrote something that strengthened my faith. I hope it will yours, too.

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Why aren’t you taking advantage of your blessed condition of having been born in an age in which you have the freedom to get an education, make something of yourself, make a difference in the world, and enjoy the opportunities that are available to you today but were unavailable to your grandmother in her day?

I was just standing at my stove this evening, working on dinner, and thanking God that I'm not where I was a little over a year ago...

Fall semester last year is one of the hardest times I've gone through in my life. I was in my first trimester of my first pregnancy (with all that entails), in school at Indiana University, and still trying to get a handle on what exactly I needed to be doing as wife to my husband (we had been married for four months). I've never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life--not even when I was faced with a science fair project in high school! ; )

Standing in my kitchen today, I felt God's peace upon me and an overwhelming gratitude for where He has brought me. By any feminist's measure, I should be exponentially more overwhelmed and tired and discontent now than I was when I was in school and didn't have any children. After all, now I'm in my first trimester preparing for my second child (my first is 8 months old), I'm home ALL the time, and I have not even the modern luxury of a dishwasher to keep at bay the mind-numbing tasks of the home! They would say I'm practically in shackles here.

But, with all sincerity, joyful laughter literally bubbles up inside me when I read those last two sentences. That's because I see something very different! I read: preparing for my second child - oh the wonder! Precious little one, I can't wait to feel your first flutter within me! Home ALL the time - oh joy! There truly is no place like it! And no dishwasher? Well, I won't go so far as to say that I never want one again... BUT as a wise woman once said, "When is one's mind so gloriously free to wander, to explore, to ponder God's goodness?" In shackles? No, quite the contrary: I've never been so free in my life, and Definitely Not when I was in school, GASP, not even in the diversity of IU's campus!

So what AM I free to do, they wonder? Free to wash: floors, dishes, laundry, bathrooms (yup, even the toilet), and best of all, baby bums and grubby little hands, dirtied by tireless crawling. Free to bask in the warmth: of our home, lit up with joyful laughter brought on by the antics of a crawling baby; of my husband who I love with all my heart and whom I desire to help as God intended; of babies, both the growing little one in my womb (little Roo), and the growing bigger one (my koala), head nestled against me as we prepare for a nap. Free to rest: in the peace of knowing that God is GOOD.

All this washed over me as I stood in my kitchen and it brought tears to my eyes. Is my attitude, my frame of mind always like this? Not remotely. But isn't that the joy of it? Seeing God's hand at work? Growth (and pruning) is painful, yes. My time at IU, my first trimester, giving birth, the work of the home, the work of marriage. But then, there's a lull, and sometimes, in that lull, God gives us a glimpse of the bigger picture. And that's what I saw today: a peep at what He is working, in our home and in my soul. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

And now, speaking of dishes, I need to get to it!

Comments

Beautiful, Hanna, it brought tears to my eyes. And of course it reminded me of good old Chesterton:

"Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks."
- G. K. Chesterton

Over Christmas break I got into a heated debate with my family -- grandma and all -- about women's ordination. As it came to a close, I made my final point that, "The women in my church are the happiest women I've ever met in my life." Never have I received so much scorn and mockery from family, nor from anyone for a testimony of personal experience. "You don't know what their private lives are like!" Well, here's just one picture...

Hannah,

It is a beautiful post. And thanks to Leslie for the Chesterton reminder. It seems to me that domesticity can be so very creative - never boring.

I have been thinking lately about that in relation to cooking. I love trying new recipes, new combinations, waiting to see the bread rise and then watch crust turn nice and crispy golden brown in the oven . . .in fact, my new favorite recipe book doesn't have a single recipe in it. It teaches you how to put flavors together.

Kamilla

Exactly, Lane. Thanks Hannah. This is a hard thing to say, even for women at CGS.

People who are in our homes see much more than we realize.

Thanks ladies, you're all a huge witness. We men can profess but until they see our wives in action they don't really see.

-Clint

That's lovely and so true. We are so blessed and the hard work is good for us. Even being overwhelmed at times is good for us. Keep enjoying your husband,those little ones, and your home.

Oh JOY and such TRUTH!!! I hear so often I must take a "break" or "get away" and I think, "WHY?!" I JOY in my children and my home and am so so thankful to the Lord for my amazing, loving and hard-working husband. If these be shackles, then I pray most earnestly that the Lord would tighten them all the more because otherwise I might foolishly wander from the very, very good and pure life He has allowed for me. Yes, I say, sing in the kitchen with the babe on your hip and enjoy every moment!

Thank you for this post!

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