Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Serving Your Family With Joy

Today was a very unusual day for be for one particular reason. I cleaned.

Now you might be thinking, “uhh, that is something unusual for you, Olivia?” and might be getting worried about me. Don’t worry, I do help a lot with chores around the house and the cleaning. So it’s not the cleaning that is unusual, it was my attitude towards it.

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am not a type A and organized person. I’m a crazy, free spirited hippie chick that is a packrat and rarely notices clutter. But today felt different.

My mom and my younger siblings were going to the church gym with some other moms with young kids and were going to have lunch there and let the kiddos burn off some energy. I stayed home to get some rest from helping out with the boys all morning on top of getting over being sick. I had noticed before they left that the house was a little messy. The countertop was dirty and cluttered and the floor needed to be swept and there were dishes and laundry to get done. So I decided I would surprise my mom when she got home by doing some cleaning.

I ended up cleaning the entire house.

I swept, did dishes, laundry, tidied up the entire main level, swiffered the hardwood floors, cleaned the countertops, and even cleaned up my own room. And I enjoyed it! I felt such a thrill from serving my family. My mom is organized and loves things clean and tidy. Sadly, no one else in my family is like that and we tend to be a constant source of stress for her. But today I was able to serve my mom and truly the rest of my family because as we all know, if mom is happy, everyone is happy.

I felt very domestic and I felt a sense of purpose and fulfillment in serving my family in this way. In a way, I felt as if I was truly doing what God wanted me to do. It was very “Proverbs 31 Womanish”. I felt this way last fall also when I fixed a nice supper for my older brother and younger sister when my parents weren’t home that evening. I hadn’t made supper for my family in a long time because I had been busy. That feeling of doing what God created me to do was wonderful.

But how often do I forget how it feels to be in service to my family? How often would I rather sit down on the computer and IM my friends instead of getting off and fixing supper? How often do I groan and complain about chores? The answer to all those questions is “far too often”.

Though we shouldn’t blame the culture for everything, it plays a huge part in how we as women see fulfillment. Feminism has taken a toll on our world and on the church as well. There is nowhere that you can hide from it. It’s constantly telling us that we will find our purpose and joy in a career, that our families are annoying, and that we should spend as little time at home as we possibly can. Teenagers are also expected to never be at home, not know their family at all and find them annoying, hate their parents, and be selfish and lazy.

I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to get sucked into it. Everyday we must fight it off because it’s not only our culture but it’s our sin nature speaking. One of the attributes of the adulterous woman of Proverbs 7 is that “her feet do not stay at home”. We are often not content with our role to stay at home and to rise up to the job that God has given to us. I think this is part of the curse that women were given at the fall that we would want to rule over men. It’s part of our sin nature and it’s something we have to keep breaking down.

So how do we do that? The first obvious thing is prayer. We need to ask God to give us a heart for our homes and families and a willingness to serve them with a glad heart. The other obvious thing is to work on not grumbling and focusing on the bad. It’s so easy to do things grudgingly and with an “if I have to” sort of attitude. Prioritizing is a huge thing too. Working on making our families a priority in our lives, especially those of us who are teens or unmarried, it takes a little bit more effort to really invest in our families because we aren’t the parents.

One last thing that I want to mention is for you “older” women reading this, teach us! In Paul’s letter to Timothy he talks about older women teaching younger women how to love their husbands and children. You example is a huge help, but also your investing into our lives in great too. I love having godly women who are a few steps ahead of me in life to look at and have to surround me with love, encouragement, and teaching. Currently I’ve been finding a ton of encouragement from single women in their 20s and their example of serving their families while unmarried and redeeming their single years for Christ. No matter what you age is there is someone younger than you and someone for you to take under you wing and train.

There is such joy that comes from taking on the job of serving your family. It’s a joy that time and time again we forget about and we habitually don’t look at it with a joyful heart. But when we do look at serving our families as a calling from God and do it in order to ultimately serve Him, we can find such satisfaction is doing so.


  1. I love this post Olivia. It has been extremely encouraging to me the last few days. I was struggling with feeling like my household duties were too much to deal with on top of my web designing projects, drawing, etc. I really love the perspective of this. Thank you so much for writing it! It came just when I needed it most. :)

    Love you!

  2. Oops...I didn't realize I was signed into my mom's account. lol. :P


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