Homemaking with Joy
I was weak.
I stood there in the shower with every part of me begging to go lay back down in bed. I had been there for days. A few weeks pregnant, I was deep in the throes of all-day-sickness. I vomited frequently, averaging ten times a day. Some days, that number would go beyond fourteen before I would lose count. Pregnancy did not agree with me.
I had been married for six months and already my husband was bathing me. My understanding and expectation were that this action of being bathed was something I would not even have to worry about until I was old. Yet, six months into marriage and still in my twenties, my husband was bathing me. It was humbling and I was so sick that I hardly cared. I had not left the bed in days. I could not even stand up without feeling queasy. Any quick movement would result in a great show of heaving.
He washed my hair as I did my best to not heave. He helped me dress and returned me to my bed where I would eventually throw up again.
Even if Jesus had healed me in that exact moment, I am not sure that I would have been quick to return to my chores. I do not think that I would have welcomed any guests, probably in fear that the nausea would return. I think that even my husband would have cautioned me to “take it easy for a few days” before taking on prior responsibilities or welcoming company.
Maybe these reasons are why this story baffles me.
Reading: Luke 4:39-39
She is not mentioned beyond this story or these two verses. Peter’s mother-in-law had been very ill and suffering from a high fever. At their urging, Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law. The baffling part: She immediately gets up and begins to serve her guests.
She seems to resume her normal duties immediately after she is healed. I wonder if her family told her to take it easy for a few days. I wonder if she felt any caution at all about taking on too much too soon. She may have lived in a different time and culture, but I feel like that caution would not be far from anyone’s minds or lips. I doubt they expected her to wait on them and serve them.
I also think that she immediately got to work to serve her guests out of joy and gratitude. She served her family. She served the Man who had healed her. Maybe in her mind, she thought, “This is the least I could do.” Maybe she was a woman who took incredible joy and delight in being able to take care of her family in the simplest ways.
Are we thankful for our God-given ministry to our family?
Becoming a mother changed how I view the ministry of motherhood. Ministry does not stop just because I might be throwing up. My opportunity to show Jesus to my family does not pause because of sickness. Whether we are experiencing sickness or health, do we minister to our families out of joy? Do we delight in taking care of them? Do we delight in being an example of Jesus to them?
How we can delight in taking care of our family’s needs?
We can choose to be grateful. Thank God for the blessing of being needed. Thank God for the blessing of the person (or people you serve). There are a million reasons to praise when it comes to our families. We can praise God because of our changing and grateful attitudes. We can praise God for the way that our families show their gratitude towards us. Gratitude is contagious. Gratitude turns unpleasant situations (such as sickness) and turns them into moments we can be thankful for. How will your family be impacted by your attitude of gratitude?
We can take care of our families just like we would take care of our Lord. What if it was Jesus who was lying in that bed sick? Would we treat him badly out of selfishness or would we put ourselves aside and make Him the priority? What if it was Jesus’ dishes and dirty clothes lying around? Would we treat Him the same as we are treating our children, husband, or roommates? Will serving Jesus increase your care as you serve your family? Will you begin to see the joy in serving others?
We can remember that temporary chores have an eternal impact. Our joy and delight in serving our families will show them the face of God. Instead of our bad attitudes distracting from the work He is trying to accomplish through our ministry, our joy and delight will highlight it. We are to be an example of Jesus to our children. We are to be an example of Jesus to our spouse. We are to be an example of Jesus to our neighbors. Will our willingness to serve the needs of our family show them Jesus or will our selfishness distract from Him?
My husband was such a blessing to me when I was pregnant and while I was so sick. His love in the midst of my sickness had a lasting impact. My love for him grew during my pregnancy. My respect for him deepened. While it did not feel like it at the time, it was a holy moment where he showed me the love of Jesus in a practical way.
When Peter’s mother-in-law reacted to her healing with service and joy, it had a lasting impact. Her story was written and forever documented in the Word of God.