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Monday, January 24, 2011

Those Monday Morning Blues

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  Is anyone surprised that  I have ALWAYS hated Mondays?  It's always been my heaviest cleaning day. With everyone at home all weekend long and the inevitable traffic through the house, it gets pretty messy. Especially with little ones running around to pick up after.

When my older girls were little I had a rule about not doing anything on a weekend except to enjoy the family time. We'd go to the beach, visit relatives etc. and by Monday morning you can just imagine what the house looked like! As they got older, it was all the different activities that had us running around on a Saturday and sometimes a Sunday too when my second born had gymnastics meets.

Life is a little different now, with my eldest away at university, the second on the verge of doing the same and my last two, 14 and 4 respectively keeping things interesting at home. As you can imagine, its quite a balancing act with such a large age difference between the three of  them, but I'm lucky because my used-to-be baby still loves to play dolls etc with her little sister and my second-born acts like a second mother!  Praise God!

Last week I mentioned feeling overwhelmed by housework piling up. Well, Mondays always make me a little blue still. The housework and laundry have piled up over the weekend and, even though I cherish my alone time to get chores done and have a little peace and quiet, I do miss having  my family around.

My husband gave me a wonderful little book for Christmas called Grace Cafe - Serving up Recipes for Faithful Mothering (Donna-Marie Cooper O-Boyle).   It's basically a little treasure trove of encouragement and words of wisdom for mothers. I'd been so busy since Christmas I'd barely cracked it open, but decided to read the introduction recently and found that the author had made mention of her observance, through her own minstry to mothers, that Christian women everywhere are looking for support and ways to improve their faith and prayer lives. She noted that this was obvious in the number of blogs popping up on the internet and said that women are feeling a "vital and even urgent" need to connect with one another.

I felt like God was giving me a little wink there as I read these words and almost laughed out loud since, here again, he had used someone, my husband, to present me with a little affirmation of where I needed to be. I had, indeed, felt that "urgent" need to connect with other women who share my values and live the same way I choose to live. Before I came upon the "women living well" blog I never realised how many people exist who choose to be homemakers and have Christian values, who seek to please God and see their motherhood/wifehood as a vocation. It was truly exciting for me to discover them.

I do digress, however, the point I really wanted to make about this book is that before I'd read the introduction, I had discovered a chapter called "A Mother's Call to Holiness". I saw this at a time when I had been feeling a bit burnt out, questioning my choices in life, wondering if I was in a dormant place (I've been a homemaker for 18 years). I felt stuck in a routine of doing laundry, cleaning house, chauffeuring children, spending hours in the kitchen. I felt unappreciated and wondered if I was really making a difference.

This chapter addressed those very feelings, acknowledging that a mother gets caught up in the monotony of routine, trying to catch up with all her chores and the hectic, full days that leave her exhausted. Not wanting to step on any copyright toes, I wont go into detail, but within this chapter the author points out that God's grace and "a mother's loving acts of selfless service", when she does everything with love and offers it to the Father on behalf of her family is the key to the family's salvation.

Upon reading this I was reminded of an old priest to whom I used to confess who once told me that wherever I work in my home is my altar, that the service I give to my family is given to God, that all I do must be with love for Him. When I complained about not having time to pray, he said to me that my work is a prayer when done with the correct attitude of love and sacrifice. It's a beautiful message and one I struggled to remember when doing the seemingly-endless picking up after everyone! Having had this reminder, its one I'll stick up on my fridge for encouragement in the future.

I recently checked in with  Courtney's Proverbs 31 Series that she did last year. Unfortunately, I had not yet known about her blog so I didn't participate, but I did make my notes as I read through it. It was a wonderful series and I wish that I had been a part of it, but I have learned from it nonetheless.

In Prov 31:19 we learn that the Proverbs 31 woman had to do mundane tasks just as we do. As Courtney phrased it "mundane, meaningless and repetitive", sounds like me cleaning up after my four year old ;-).

Here is Courtney's take on it, which basically sums up what I have offered above. "Mundane tasks are the hidden treasure to creating a home that is a haven".

Do you get the Monday blues too? Let's remember that we're not just doing any job, we're doing the job of raising beautiful souls and teaching the next generation. Let's remember that, even when it's exhausting, frustrating and repetitive, we're doing the Lord's work, so let's be like the Proverbs 31 woman and do everything with love and in sacrifice. Even if you think nobody's appreciative.. The One who truly matters is seeing all!

Coincidentally, after I'd typed up this post, I was reading  mail I hadn't touched all weekend and and saw that Raising Homemakers' topic for Friday was almost the same... titled  "What Housework is Really About". Talk about great minds thinking alike! Check it out for yourself at http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/01/what-housework-is-really-about/. It was a really great post!

God bless and shine bright!

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