It’s 2 a.m. You find yourself getting out of bed yet again to calm a sick child. She seems to need you every hour tonight. And after a long day of fevers, explaining to her how to blow her nose every 5 minutes, and trying to keep her hydrated, you were really looking forward to these precious nighttime hours to rest. But, it seems that isn’t the plan tonight. You look over at your sleeping husband and wish he would volunteer to sub in for a turn with your sick child, but you feel like you shouldn’t wake him because he has a very early alarm clock set to prepare for a long day of exhausting work. So you leave him be.
And it’s in these moments, when you wish you had a replacement – someone on call when you just needed a few hours break from the needs – that you realize being the family glue is rough. It is exhausting. It is emotionally depleting. It is too much weight for one woman to carry. You seem to be the one holding it all together – between your husband, the kids, the house, the schedule, the food. Your proper titles are wife and mother. But your true role includes doctor, life coach, referee, teacher, chef, supply buyer, chauffeur, volunteer, maid, handyman, spiritual encourager, and within all of these- the family glue. You are the reason things happen (relatively) smoothly day in and day out.
How do you find the strength to do it? And to do it without resentment, frustration, or fear?
Let Grace Be The Glue
Most days, it seems impossible to maintain your stickiness. It seems beyond your limits to help everyone do everything they ask of you. And quite frankly, it seems very unfair that you should have to try. You are only human after all – you have the same amount of hours in the day as everyone else. You have the same limiting physical attributes (if not more from an illness). And you have the same needs as the ones you are trying to meet for each of your family members.
But then there’s grace. Then there’s the influence and injection of the life of Christ living within you. And that changes everything! At least it can… if you allow it to.
It’s time to let grace be the glue. Let grace meet the needs of your loved ones, as well as yourself. Let the life of Jesus, living in you, be the strength to do this work that seems impossible. Let grace set the limits to your time, your emotions, and your efforts. But what exactly does that look like?
Setting Limits Sets You Up for Success
You need to realize that setting limits is ok. Setting up boundaries around how you give of yourself (in every way) will set you up for success in what you are trying to accomplish (i.e. caring for your family, home, and various ministries). When Jesus Christ took on flesh and dwelt among us (God in human form, with humanity’s physical limitations), He needed rest. He needed nourishment. He needed His Father! And it is ok for you to have needs also. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less than superwoman. It makes you a real woman. And sister, I’m here to tell you that you and I are in desperate need… of Jesus.
So now that you know it’s ok to set up limits for yourself, how do you know what they should be? It begins with remembering the truth of who you are in Jesus Christ. You and I must hold tight to the promises of grace, and let that guide how far we stretch our sticky-selves.
Hold Tight to the Promises of Grace
What are some of God’s promises to those who have the life of Jesus Christ in them? Look at Ephesians 1 for a minute. Just a few of the promises that Paul lists for us, as believers in Christ, are: chosen before the foundation of the world, holy and blameless, adopted as sons (& daughters), redeemed, forgiven, lavished upon with grace, given the inheritance of Christ, and so on. (Paul lists more and expounds upon these throughout the rest of the book of Ephesians.) You’ll notice they don’t have much to say about things we do in Christ, but rather who we are. Those are (several of) the promises of grace. Those are what we are to set our minds on as we live day in and day out as the family glue. Those crucial terms are our identity! And we do, say, and believe everything based on how we understand our identity! Do you see how important these promises are as we set about establishing limits on ourselves? We must first understand and accept who we are in Jesus Christ, and then with our minds set upon grace – upon who He says we are – He can guide us into all wisdom in how we maintain our homes.
A Lifelong Learning Curve
I’d like to tell you that eventually you’ll get the hang of it, and it won’t be challenging at all to be the glue that holds your home together. But that’s probably not the case. This lesson has a lifelong learning curve. And how do I know this? Well, in part because it is common sense (talk to any mother/wife in the next stage of life, and she’ll agree). And in part because I am confident that our knowledge of God and His grace will always be expanding. We will be learning more and more about Him for eternity. Because He is infinite… and we are not. But as deflating as this thought can be, the flip side of that is that we will be constantly understanding deeper, greater, more fulfilling truths of grace – and how they work in our role in the home. That thought ought to be encouraging!
So keep walking forward, always keep your focus on grace, and your stickiness will be just as strong as ever – and you will experience His joy while you’re at it!