For you have need of much endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what was promised.
This is my life verse and I cling to this to know I keep on the right track. Motherhood is an endurance race, not a sprint. As most mothers find out, usually sooner rather than later, making a “home” is not for sissies. It is a lot of hard work. There is the physical work of cleaning, cooking, laundry, and caring for the kids. There is the emotional work of settling disputes between siblings; listening to your husband’s problems at work and making arrangements for family get togethers. There is the organizational work of putting the house in order, keeping the family calendar, doing bills, buying things for the house and keeping doctors and dentist appointments. In the midst of doing all of that work, we sometimes neglect the most important work of all—the art of home making. That art is creating beauty in our lives—it is an art done by kindness, thoughtfulness, attention to the individual and self sacrifice. The “art” of motherhood is using a cheerful tone of voice to answer the child disappointed that a friend can’t come over and quickly suggesting a trip to the park or a game to distract and comfort them. The “art” of being a wife is sitting down, stopping your work, looking your husband in the eye and listening to him as he describes a problem at work—not offering suggestions or telling your own story, but asking questions that help him to clarify the situation and work out his own answer. The “art” of home making is singing silly songs, talking about things to be thankful for, slowing down to the pace of your toddler, helping your child make a card for someone, picking some flowers to put on the table—doing something which makes your house more cheerful, more happy, more peaceful.
We have need of much endurance. Where can we find that? I like to meditate on stories in the Bible. Mary, the mother of Jesus, who had to endure people thinking she had him out of wedlock and other people who thought her son was crazy for preaching about the kingdom coming, and her own pain of watching him suffer and die. Or I think about stories of other people who have endured—I’ve been reading about Corrie Ten Boom who was in a concentration camp for hiding Jews with my kids. Or I think about people I know who have suffered by not being able to have children, or losing their husband or having a husband who doesn’t come to church or have had parents die or job loss.
I usually come back to Philippians 4: 4-8—Rejoice, pray, think on the right. Thinking right is a choice—it is so easy to let our thoughts spiral out of control, so that the negative thing we were thinking of that was true becomes a negative thing which is NOT true.
Endurance implies discipline—just as we discipline our children for their good, we need as mothers to discipline our own minds and hearts so that we can endure for the long haul and receive all that was promised.