Today's passage: I Corinthians 7:17-40
"There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband."
I think somewhere along the way, I either forgot about this verse, or didn't understand it fully. Up until a few years ago, my husband worked the "afternoon" shift. This means he left for work late afternoon, and did not return until after midnight. As a teacher, I worked a usual school day, which means that for the first five years of our marriage, we rarely saw each other. In some ways, it was almost like I was still single. I didn't rush home to make dinner, since it was only me. I stayed late grading papers, because I would go home to an empty house. I often spent time with friends when the school day ended, because I was not able to enjoy his company. I didn't drop any of the church ministries I was involved in because after all, the Lord should always be first. Somewhere along the way, I neglected to make my husband my priority. I think it is because I never really transitioned from being single to being married. I guess I still felt single. I always knew that my husband should be my priority. I always understood that now that I was married it would be different, but since our routines didn't change much, it didn't feel very different. It was easy for me to behave the same. I said yes to a lot of things to which I should have no. I see that
After the kids started coming along, there were definite ministries I knew I could not be involved and had to quit. Still, after only one child, it was mostly just little guy and me. Daddy still worked every night, although now that I was home, I was able to spend time with him during the day. I felt more like a married woman than I did in our earliest years. Two more children, and you would think I would have slowed down with responsibilities outside my home, but I feel busier than ever. I'm not sure that this is always a good thing. I have a problem with one little word. NO. I can say no to my kids. I can say no to my husband. I just have a hard time saying no to anyone else. I have seen how I have made others more of a priority. I can see how I should have handed some of my church responsibilities to other people. This is not quitting. This is not getting less involved. I am showing love for God by loving my husband better. I have neglected our home. I am getting better, but nobody can keep up the schedule I'm keeping and expect a clean house. When I am not here to clean it, when I am exhausted running around to everything under the sun, how can I expect dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, floors to be mopped? I'm getting better. My husband never complains. He tells me on occasion, we have three kids, things are going to get messy. I always argue, not this messy. I say, other people who have this many kids manage. Other people who have young children do not seem to turn white when an unexpected knock comes on the door. I have been looking around lately. I am at everything. Other ladies are not. Other ladies actually do miss some things so they can go to the laundromat, or go to the grocery store, or just do the weekly household chores. I don't see every mother at every birthday party, every bridal and baby shower, with kids in tow. I think those things are important, especially as regarding my church family. But I'm beginning to think I have it all wrong. When did my church family become more important than my real one? I have had to do a lot of soul searching this morning, and I think that perhaps it is time to lay some things down. I have tried to balance. Being home during the day seems like it should give me ample time to get everything accomplished, but when the responsibility list outside my home grows greater, it leaves less time to pick up the broom and dustpan. It leaves little time to tend to my husband who works so hard. I'm not saying that I will stop attending events, that I will stop teaching my Sunday school class, that I will not take a meal to somebody who is ailing. I'm just looking at how I've been a wife and mother for these last several years, and if I were grading myself, I would have to give myself bad marks. I've gotten some things right. But I know that my family has been pushed farther and farther down the priority list. A clean home is not everything, I understand that too, but I am showing less love for my family when every week I have to scramble to find something to eat because I haven't had time to go grocery shopping or when I have to search high and low for matching socks because I haven't put the laundry away yet. Not everything gets done in the best of homes. But somehow I have equated my love for God with busyness. I have become Martha instead of Mary. Some weeks are naturally going to lend themselves to hectic schedules, but should every week? I have a lot to pray about. God will always be my highest priority, but serving God does not mean I have to neglect my home. That is certainly not serving my husband, or my children. I am remembering something one of my college professors, a pastor's wife, once said, "Don't get work and worship confused. They are not the same thing." Have I been working, thinking I have been worshipping? I am not to worship my husband, but the verse above says I am to please him. When is the last time I have done that? Maybe I should ask him.