Sunday, June 07, 2009

Too Much For One Woman

There is an old Mexican proverb that says "The house does not rest upon the ground, but upon a woman." When I first heard this proverb, I thought about it for days. I could picture in my head a woman, alone, with her house on her back, straining with the weight of it. In my mind the woman always looked an awful lot like me.

I began thinking of the many ways that this is still true for women, all over the world. In my house I pay the bills, do the shopping, cook, clean, do the laundry, run baths, put away clothes, teach the children, manage the schedules, work outside the home at least 2 days a week, and so much more. My husband works, too. But he has 8 hour shifts. My job starts when I wake up, and ends when I close my eyes at night. And even then, I'm still on-call.

I'm afraid to get sick. Because anything anyone else does around here can be done by someone else in the family, except for my job. I have too many things that I do that no one else can. So, or course, I seem to catch everything the kids bring home.

The more I thought of the grain of truth that lies within that old Mexican proverb, the more overwhelmed I felt. But then I realized that it's not the whole truth. There is something beneath me that carries the weight and makes it bearable. There is first the strong marriage and partnership that I have with my husband. Then there is the foundation of the faith we have in God. He never leaves us, or me, to carry this on my own. In fact, He takes my burdens and makes them light. Following Christ allows the heavy work of motherhood to become something else entirely: joy in serving my family.

I'm not going to lie. It's not like I had this realization and suddenly everything got easy. I'm not Mary Poppins, though sometimes I wish she'd come be our nanny. Being the mom is probably always going to be hard work and some days I'm going to feel more overwhelmed than others. But there's something to be said for not being alone. I have a husband who loves and supports me, friends who understand and sympathize with me, and I have a God who holds me up. Ultimately, there is a peace in knowing that I don't have to carry the weight or the responsibility all by myself.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Phillipians 4:13

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