John 17: 4
“I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
For several months, Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life was a best seller. I wonder if the reason was because everybody needs to believe that their life has a purpose; if not, then why stay here? Maybe if the book had been written at the time, I would have come to my conclusion sooner, but it took me a few years to realize what my life was all about. I fantasized about all the things that God must have needed me to do. I was so sure that a woman with my amazing talents and personality was indispensable to Him. The problem, as I saw it, was the fact that I had all these little children running around me and taking up my time. The universe was no doubt on “hold” until they were old enough to fend for themselves and didn’t need to constantly share my space. Sometimes I would feel that the world was passing me by, and this would cause me to be very discontented and impatient at having to go unnoticed. I thought about my short-lived high school teaching career that I loved, or my dream of doing TV commercials, or maybe even wanting to become involved with a singing group. There were so many things I could do!
One day my thinking changed. This is how I recorded my epiphany (my “Ah-ha” moment):
Today I was sitting in the living room and thinking about my life. I realized that I wasn’t satisfied doing what I was doing (which seems like fulltime babysitting). I came across a verse of scripture in John 17:4 where Jesus says that He accomplished the work God gave Him to do. I started asking myself, What work has God given me to do? What does He want me to accomplish? For what purpose, in God’s sight do I exist?
Three of the boys were playing with their trucks on the floor. As I looked at them, I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me “If Jesus were here right now, where would He be?” The answer came immediately: “He would be on the floor, playing with your children.”
All of a sudden, I knew the answer to my question. My purpose is to be the mother of five happy, well-adjusted, self-disciplined Christian men.
When that realization came to me, I felt the most incredible sense of relief. It was as though I had wrestled with the angel and gotten the blessing that I was seeking. My struggle is over, and I am ready to take on the task.
It is amazing how this discovery changed my life. I’m not saying it made the daily tasks any less challenging, but now I had a goal in sight. I also realized that God had called and equipped me, and only me, for this particular assignment. Several life-changing attitudes were birthed in me as a result.
First, I found that it was much easier to establish priorities. I knew enough about goal-setting to know that if something doesn’t contribute to the desired end, it needs to be eliminated. Knowing that made it much easier to say NO to invitations and activities that took too much of my time and were unproductive for steering my boys in the right direction. I realized that I didn’t have to be at every social function that included me ; I didn’t have to entertain a certain way; I could decline certain invitations without feeling that I was throwing away my last chance; Our boys didn’t have to be involved with every single activity that was available to them. With all this wonderful freedom I experienced, I soon realized that there were some marvelous bonus discoveries. One, I didn’t have to compare myself to other mothers. I believed that God had designed and equipped our family for His unique purposes, and they might not be just like everybody else’s. Two, I felt released from self-condemnation. I came to the conclusion that not everybody was going to agree with me, think like me, or (most astounding discovery), even LIKE me, and that was okay. There is a quote that says, “You may not be Somebody to the world, but you might be the world to Somebody.” I had five little “Somebodies” to whom I was the world.
Second, I became aware that my biggest fears were diminished. If God had created me to mother these young men, I could trust Him to protect and preserve my life until that task was complete. I had no more fears about dying young or being incapacitated. I would be able to complete the work that He started in me. (cf. ). In other words, God wouldn’t let me half- finish my assignment. I also believed that He would give me the wisdom I needed to carry out the task, because I knew nothing about rearing children. After all, I’d never even changed a diaper!
Third, I must have learned to trust God’s promise to give us wisdom when we need it, as it says in James 1:5. Since both their dad and I were only children, we had never had experience with anyone but ourselves. We certainly didn’t know anything about sibling rivalry (but we learned fast!). To the casual observer, one might conclude that we were “flying by the seat of our pants” (whatever in the heck that mean), but since we didn’t know what to do from experience, we trusted that the impressions we received were God’s leading. I came across a plaque which said, “Give me wisdom Mary had when she raised her little Lad.” I reasoned that Mary didn’t know how to rear the Son of God, but had to rely on her impressions from God. If I were going to rear five little boys to become sons of God, then I had to do likewise.
Fourth, I discovered that the more time I spent with the boys, the more I wanted to be with them. By the time they were in Jr-high, they had become my best friends. At some point I put my decision on paper:
I have decided that the most important thing I can do just now is devote time to our family. This means I have to abandon extra activities that sap me of my energy and time. Some might think that this is a mistake, that my focus will become too narrow, and my brain turn to mush. That’s the chance I’ll have to take. When our sons are one the other side of childhood, I’ll know if this is the right choice.
Wow! Was it ever the right choice! When I look now at our incredible Renaissance Men