Our families are often our number one life callings, especially in seasons when our kids are at home. Loving them well is a priority.
(excerpt from Abide: Self-Care for the Busy Mom)
The most well-known and direct verses on caring for the home come from Titus 2:3-5, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
This isn’t a checklist we accomplish through our own power. Loving and serving well is an overflow of what Christ does in us and through us.
We’ve talked about self-discipline already and ways to streamline our lives so we are freer to focus on what really matters—loving our husbands and children. The goal of each change we make is to improve in another area, to free up time or decrease stress, for example. All those little changes can make a big difference.
The goal of all the admonitions in this verse comes at the end—“so the word of God may not be reviled.” Our families and home should attract people to the gospel we say we believe! It starts with our husbands and children. When I taught a women’s Sunday school class a few years ago, ladies attended who were spiritually single (married to men who were unbelievers). They believed it was important to love their husbands well to draw them to the Lord. The love we show our kids encourages them to want to know more about the God who teaches us what love is, how love acts. We aren’t perfect reflections. If we were, they would look to us as their savior instead of Christ. But we can be good representatives.
Loving your family well isn’t only for their benefit, but also for your own. Psalm 128:3 says, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” Caring for yourself so you’re healthy and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit in you allows you to produce fruit. That doesn’t only mean a full table of food and an empty laundry basket (although those are ways we work together as a family to show love for each other). It means you use your gifts in ways that honor God and bless your family. You understand your purpose and live it out.
I know loving our families isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can even feel like our obligations to them are keeping us from something more or something better. My older sister has Down syndrome and from a very young age, I understood she would come live with me some day. When my now-husband Lee and I met, I explained to him that if he was serious about a relationship with me, our future would also include my sister living with us at some point. Of course, at that point we couldn’t have anticipated having a son with level three autism who will also live with us forever. They could be seen as obligations that are keeping us from other things (like an eventual empty nest), or they can been seen as my main calling.
Like you made a personal purpose statement, you may want to make a family one. I wrote ours years ago and it still serves as a guide when we make decisions. We also have a family verse we focus on.
My family’s purpose statement: As the Peoples Family, we commit to serve and worship God. We will encourage and equip our children to impact their generation for Christ by sharing His love. Our home will be a place of safety, honesty, respect, and love for family members and friends.
Psalm 145:4, “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
There are challenges and blessings to every stage of family life. In whatever season you are in now, know that you have the Perfect Parent to look to and learn from. He brought you and your husband together and gave you the children you have all for His purposes!
Abiding step to take today:
Thank God for your family members. Pray for them and pray over them this week (let them hear what you’re asking God to do in their lives). No matter what stage of parenting you’re in, find joy there. In the book of Habakkuk he says, “I take joy …” and I love that language. Sometimes it doesn’t land in your lap. You have to take it. If that’s where you are, there’s still joy for you. Joy you can share with your husband and kids today.