Monday, February 2, 2015

Stretched into Strength--Finding Grace in the Monotony of Stay-At-Home-Mothering

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And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

~ Galatians 6:9 NKJV


The most difficult time of the day for me. 

I'm a stay-at-home mom--

To an eight-month-old and a two-year-old. 

4 pm -- the time when my creativity is waning, when we've read the same book over and over again, when the blocks are not enticing anymore.

The time when the baby is especially fussy and when my two-year-old is getting edgy. 

4pm in the heart of winter--

When we can't go outside because of the cold, when my eyes keep drifting to the clock on my desk and pleading silently for the minute hands to move 

just a little faster. 

Stay-at-home-mothering has drawn me to the Lord in ways that I never experienced--
Challenged me in ways I've never been challenged--

The Lord is building tensile strength--

I remember Elisabeth Elliot writing about it -- tensile strength -- capable of being drawn out or stretched--

Little did I realize then, what it would take, how painful the stretching -- centimeter by agonizing centimeter--

And how  often my heart would cry -- Enough!

This is too much for me, Lord -- too painful, 

And I don't think that I can bear it anymore. 

But then the Lord reaching down and speaking, Trust Me. 

Trust Me, 

Trust Me. 

And the stretching would continue.

We pray to the Lord, we pour out our devotion -- we ascend to the mountaintop and we are inspired--

To raise godly children--

To walk continually in the presence of the Lord,

To pray without ceasing.

The mountaintop is a beautiful place.

But then the Lord brings us down into the valley--

The valley where we cannot see the mountaintop so well -- it looks so far away--

And He stretches us--

Through monotony, through the mundane activities of daily life, through the trials and testings that He brings into our lives in order to draw us closer to himself.

He brings us into the valley.

Oswald Chambers puts it this way--

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.

We just can't  stay on the mountain of inspiration and resolve and soaring high--

The valley beckons -- the painful valley where hard lessons had to be learned--

Lessons that the Lord will use to build tensile strength in our souls--

Strength that can withstand pressure, strength to press on. 

The Lord is our strength . . . 

Even at 4 pm.

At 4 pm, I can't escape. I can't take a "coffee break," I can't go shopping alone to relieve some of my stress. 

I can't spend uninterrupted time with the Lord to stabilize my weary heart, body, and mind with His Word. 

I have to cry out to the Lord in the moment, recall a verse to mind that I have committed to memory, take each minute at a time, and trust in Him for strength and grace through my weakness. 

I have to cling to Him as I go and do the next thing that I am able.

I have to pour myself out and minister to these little souls when I feel like I am the one who needs ministering to--

Me, me, me--

I'm tired; I'm hungry, 

I just want a break.

But I can't have it--

And this is where tensile strength is built. 

I could crumble -- sometimes I do -- sometimes I dissolve in tears--

But then I cry out to the Lord and He picks me up as I hold on to His strength--

He can do it through me--

Not I, but Christ--

Stay-at home mothering has built in me tensile strength that nothing else has been able to do. 

Nights that I am awake in the wee hours, comforting, feeding, loving--

Mornings when I just want a few minutes to myself, but a child needs me -- feed them breakfast, change a diaper, pray with them, get them dressed... 

An event where I just want to talk to other adults, but a little one claims my hand and my lap and my heart--

Days that go by when I'm not able to wash my hair or take a shower or read a book--

They are so little -- and their needs are so great. 

In a moment, they will be grown--

Do I want to waste these precious days worrying about my own needs, or will I pour myself out?

Will I allow the Lord to pull me through, to build tensile strength -- strength in Him, or will I melt under the pressure, the pressure of monotony and minutes ticking, ticking, ticking--

Or will I take each moment as a gift, pray through my moments, surrender them to Jesus, 

Trust Him to help me when the baby is fussy, fussy, fussy, and the two-year-old is clamoring for love and attention?

It is worth it -- it is worth it -- it is worth it -- pouring ourselves out for these little ones who are eternal souls, bringing them to Jesus, nurturing, loving, caring for--

We are doing it for Him...

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. (Matthew 10:42)

Never forget, we are doing it for Him...

And He is building tensile strength -- when we take His grace for each moment -- when we reach to Him in our need in our weakness, when we surrender.

He is there.

And we can trust Him.

Even when we feel weak, even when we think that we just can't bear the stretching any more--

He is building tensile strength.

Especially at 4pm.


You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Yes They Are All Ours, Missional Call, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every SeasonA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Messy Marriage, My Teacher's Name is Mama, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Count My Blessings, Beauty Observed, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe HomeAcre HopMommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySaturday Soiree Blog Party


  1. That time right b4 supper is so tough... and good also. :) So much of what we do as stay at home moms is thankless... and we do need to renew our strength by going to the source of our strength. What a blessing it is to do this job God has given us, though. Thank you for the reminders and the encouragement. :)

    1. Oh, you're welcome! Thank you for stopping by! The Lord bless you.

  2. Beautiful and real encouragement! Especially for mothers of littles (just remember the littles are little for just a little of time too)... Thanks for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I know it will bless many!

    1. JES, you're welcome! Yes; you're so right--they are little for so short a time--we have this one opportunity to train them up--may He give us His grace and daily sustaining joy and pleasure in doing it! The Lord bless you, JES; have a wonderful week :-).

  3. What a beautiful post! I love the figure of tensile strenght. I have been descending from the mountain for the last few years. It's been such a long trek that sometimes I don't know if I remember what the view was like from the mountain top. But even through all the heartbreak and pain, God has been good.

    1. Yes; oh, I know what you mean! And He is good, even if we see Him through tears. Thank you for your words. The Lord bless you. :-)

  4. Hello, Just thought I would speak a word of encouragement to you, You are so right in trusting Him!
    This season will go so quickly; I might suggest keeping something very special for yourself and the little ones that can only be used or brought out of a cupboard at this time 4:00...
    You need to tell them a bit earlier, we get our______ in just a little while.
    Also, maybe find a book on CD that you listen to a portion this time while you are cooking in the kitchen! May you be blessed and filled to overflowing my dear sister!
    Blessings, Roxy

    1. Thank you, Roxy, for your encouragement and ideas! We have been listening to a Scripture memory tape before supper, and that has been refreshing and breaks up the time a bit before supper/the bedtime routine. And you are right. it is so helpful and gives us something to look forward to in the winter months.

      Thank you for your words and your kindness; the Lord bless you, also!

  5. Hello Rebekah, I can relate with this. Be encouraged! God blesses those mundane acts of love and patience. Thank you for linking your article. I saw it on several link ups. Funny and I came to read it. Cheers and God Bless.

    1. Thank you Ifeoma, for your encouragement and for stopping by! The Lord bless you. :-)

    2. What a beautiful and encouraging post. I am going to get my daughter to read it, she has two young children. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    3. Thank you, Terri; I hope that it is a blessing to your daughter! :-)

  6. Well this brings back the days....raised 3 boys. Brings back when one of them flushed the Fisher Price Little People down the toilet, or hung on a doorknob and it fell off, or let a chipmunk into the house or as a 2 1/2 year old scrubbed the toilet with a hairbrush to 'help mommy clean' and on it went.

    NOW i am a grandma and I still smiled reading your post...remembering how last month one of my DIL's little girls sprinkled an entire large Sam's Club sized container of Gold Bond powder all over the upstairs....I guess because she'd seen her aunt sprinkle that rug-freshener stuff on her carpets prior to vacuuming one day.

    In other words you are not alone :)

    Back in the day there was not a lot of TV channels. What my kids watched was either an episode of Mr Rogers or Sesame Street in the late afternoon, and after that a painting show came on. This artist was teaching how to paint and had the most soothing voice ever....and the voice and the ever-so-strokes of his brush would lull the boys sprawled out on their beanbags to sleep for an hour. That painting show was my sanity for a few years...go find one :)

    1. Deb, your comment made me smile!!! Especially because my little two-year old emptied out nearly 3/4 of a container of baby shampoo today!!

      Thank you for visiting and for your encouraging words . . . God bless you :-)

  7. This was so lovely and transparent. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Such a difficult thing, this parenting, motherhood - stay-at-home motherhood. Though you've said it here....we are being stretched and pulled in ways that were previously unfathomable, yet are so giving (and life sustaining), not just for us or our children, but for others and for our spiritual connection too. :)

    1. Yes, so true . . . "Give and it will be given to you . . ." As we surrender in the giving, He pours more of His grace into our hearts . . . God bless you!

  9. Than you for linking to Grace & Truth! I will be featuring you this Friday! Please come back and join the party again!

    1. Oh, thank you, Kaylene--I am looking forward to linking up again! The Lord bless you. :-)