Grace for Myself:
Balancing the Responsibilities of Home and Family
By: Melissa Haas
But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
Corinthians 12:9 ESV
The limitation of my humanity in managing my home is a reality I face every day. As I drag myself out of bed each morning, walk past baskets of dirty laundry (currently there are five) and into a kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink from yesterday, I grab a cup of coffee, plop down in my chair, and breathe a prayer of gratitude--thankful for grace.
It’s taken a long time for me to cultivate that gracious response to myself. Like many women, for most of my early adult life I was haunted by the voices in my head that said things like “godly women manage their homes better than you do” and “a good woman puts her needs and desires last.” After all, the Proverbs 31 woman had boundless energy in spite of obvious sleep deprivation and the ability to manage all of her responsibilities successfully. If she could do it back in the days before dishwashers and washing machines, I should be able to manage my home better than she did.
I vividly remember thinking to myself that I must just be missing something. So I decided to attend a Bible study on the Proverbs 31 woman, hoping that I would get the tools I needed to finally be able to get my act together in running our home with efficiency and grace. At the time my children were four, eighteen months, and three months old, and just getting all of us to church on time was a feat of amazing proportions. (I usually did not succeed.)
Every week I would go, and every week I would come home with a renewed determination to do better in managing my responsibilities at home. Inevitably, though, between nursing the baby and keeping my eighteen-month old from playing in the toilet and playing dolls with my four-year-old daughter, the care of my home would be neglected once again. I began dreading the familiar feelings of inadequacy and shame I experienced every time I went to study the Bible. My heart was heavy from failure.
One morning, as I was talking to God about it all, confessing my failure to manage my home well, I got the distinct impression that He was bored with our conversation. “Are you listening to me, Father?” I asked.
“Yes, daughter, I’m listening. I’m just not very drawn to your heart right now. You are so focused on you and your failures, you are missing the very thing I created you for—relationships. Has it ever occurred to you that these household responsibilities you are so freaked out about have no eternal value? What makes me smile are your relationships with Me and the ones I have given you to love well.”
“But what about the Proverbs 31 woman? You are the One who gave her to us as an example.”
“I gave Myself as the example to follow, daughter. I thought I set the record straight with Mary and Martha, but just in case you have forgotten, let Me say it clearly. Your worth and our relationship are not based on how well you manage your home. It is based on who I say you are and how much time you spend with Me. Trust Me with your laundry and your dishes. I can only give you the grace that you need when you choose to rest in your weakness.”
And so I took another step on the journey of grace that day—grace for myself. The laundry and dishes are not always done, but I love the ways He energizes me each day as I trust Him with my weakness.
What weakness have you been complaining about?
What’s His perspective?
What’s His perspective?
Dare to trust Him with your humanity. You will find much grace for that.