Philippians 4:4-7 (New International Version)
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 (New International Version)
17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
These passages have confused me today. I woke up at 4a.m. to the sound of Philippians 4:6 in my head. knowing that I was anxious even before bed. I have been anxious for many months. I know the verse and also know that it is given in context of a command but how do you make yourself not anxious. I believe that anxiety stems from some sort of rebellion to the will of God. I am not sure what my rebellion is, what form it has taken. I am want to know what is right and what is wrong, the first rebellion known to man. I find it impossible to just live and be happy. However, that seems to be the apparent result to pleasing God in Ecclesiastes 2:26. I know that my striving has gotten me nowhere, yet I still strive. I have made the petition known to God that I do not want to strive, I want to live and be happy and yet I still have no peace. The word of God says that He sees the desires of my heart. He must then know that I desire to be a wife and mother, not just in word but in deed.
The constant battle of finding time is frustrating because finacially we are just now on our feet. I want to be a stay at home wife and mother, but monitarily I don't see the possibility. However, the mothers I know who stay at home are fighting with the anxiety of lack. My children are wonderful and are doing great at school. They go to a wonderful private Christian school, but it doesn't come cheap. I have been blessed with a job where I go to work only while they are at school. What a blessing that is today in a world where most working moms work until at least 5p.m. My children are in a good environment all day. But I can assure you it takes a full day to be a homemaker, not just two extra hours in the afternoon.
All around me I see unfinished work. Laundry, dishes, dusting, and what has to be an unsanitary refrigerater, all of which I am too tired to finish. My soon to be sixteen year old daughter just learned to boil tea last week. Too tired to argue, I find myself just doing the day to day tasks at hand without the children's' help. What will they be able to do when they leave home? My grandmother raised me, and though I wasn't made to do too much, I was taught to be somewhat domestic. My daughter is, thus far, nowhere near domestic. She thinks I am unfair when I make her iron her own clothes. Then come the battles. I sometimes wonder if we will ever get along. Will she always be so ungrateful? Will she always have such an attitude of entitlement?
I had always thought I was raising my children correctly until my daughter turned thirteen. Suddenly there was this teenager living with me who didn't even seem to like me. She doesn't like the way I talk, dress, cook, interact with her friends, or teachers. I try to suck it up and move on, letting her know who is boss, but I am human and my feelings are hurt constantly. I cry nearly every night, without her seeing of course, wishing it was just a stage that was over. The alternative terrifies me. What if she is always this way? What if I raised a self righteous, self centered drain on society? I didn't mean to. I worked hard my entire life. My first job was at thirteen. I made sure that I was with my children. The only childcare facility they were in was my own. I made sure they participated in sports and other extra-curricular activities. I have built them up exhorted and edified them. I have made sure they were in church, experienced the love of God and seen me in worship. I thought I had done an okay job. But this child, the mean one, I couldn't have created that, could I? I take every available opportunity that she presents to show her I love her. I commend every good deed and overlook as many bad ones as possible so as not to overwhelm her with negative comments. However, I am sure she feels how much I dislike spending time with her. I feel as if I am in a boxing ring deflecting blows anytime we spend together. The constant battling weighs so heavily on me. Yet she is pleasant and helpful to people she wants to spend time with. Somehow that makes me feel worse.
Be anxious for nothing says the Lord. My petition is how? And if happiness is earned by pleasing the Lord, then I must be taught how not to be anxious. If my toil has been my home and my children, I am not finding pleasure. My son just turned thirteen and though I see some signs of disrespect, he is easily brought in line and seems to love me completely. I do not know if I could handle both of them tearing my heart up, a thought that terrifies me even more. What if I did this? Did I do something wrong? And if I did can't God fix it anyway?
Lord, I pray today that You would give me the wisdom to be the parent You have called me to be. I pray that you would touch the hearts of my children that they would know Your love and Your ways. I pray to find the full happiness in this life, that it is just not striving and working but that there is happiness in the labor. I thank you Lord for my husband, You knew how much he would love me and build me up when I felt I was crumbling. I thank you Lord that I will experience Your goodness in the land of the living. Guide me today oh Lord, keep me in the shadow of Your wings, lead me in the path of righteousness for you names sake. In the name above all names, Jesus, I thank you that You have heard my prayer. Amen