I had lost my purpose, and my home had lost its luster, but the Lord led me back with a new way of looking at what being a homemaker means!
You take the truth of the gospel and you translate it into beautiful and compelling and incarnate life which preaches the goodness of God to everyone surrounding you.Eve in Exile by Rebekah Merkle
For the past several years, I have chosen a word for the year after much prayer and listening to the Lord’s leading. Last year’s word – ABIDE – was incredibly powerful in my life in a very peace-in-the-midst-of-the-storm way, and going into 2023, I was hoping and praying for another powerful word.
At first, I was leaning toward FOLLOW. Seems like a natural progression from ABIDE to FOLLOW, and I was ready to ease into that word for 2023 and follow the Lord wherever He pointed me.
Little did I know, He would point me away from FOLLOW and right into the middle of where I live…HOME.
It started with a niggling that FOLLOW wasn’t quite the right word. And from there, the Lord dropped bomb after bomb to make sure I knew exactly what He wanted for me this year.
A book that had been suggested to me by Jami Balmet of Finding Joy in Your Home, arrived in the mail. I had borrowed the book – Eve in Exile by Rebekah Merkle – from the library and less than one chapter in, I knew I wanted to not just read this book, I wanted to OWN this book.
For several years now, I have been living in neutral. Not really going anywhere. Not really getting anything done. Pushed in one direction or another, but only for a short time. Never inspired. Never working toward anything. Never feeling a sense of accomplishment.
I constantly felt “meh.”
As I devoured Eve in Exile, I realized WHY.
There are…women who technically get stuff done, but they aren’t really working hard either…Stuff got done, yes. But not exactly challenging, difficult, fulfilling work.
The first thing we need to do is stop trying to figure out how to make our jobs take les time so that we can have more time to lounge around. We should actually be asking how we can use all of that time we saved in order to build something.
About 4 years ago, my life dramatically changed. I moved out of the perpetual baby years – a “season” I had been in for 20 years – and found myself flailing.
I had spent 20 years in a very physically demanding 24-hour-a-day job that was hard work, but left me feeling a deep sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Raising Arrows® was born out of that hard work because I had things to say about what I was doing and how I felt about what I was doing.
I had a life to share because I was OVERFLOWING.
But, then my baby was no longer a baby. She was potty-trained, her surgeries were all complete, and we were in maintenance mode. And my life suddenly became much easier.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Things went from physically demanding life of raising babies and toddlers to mentally and emotionally demanding life of pre-teens, teens, and young adults, but I didn’t feel a sense of purpose and I spent most of my day quickly finishing one task before another popped up on my radar.
I spent more time on my phone, on Netflix, on anything other than homemaking. I began sliding down the slippery “Me Time” slope.
And it left me completely EMPTY.
Home was just a place I lived. I put very little thought and effort into any aspect of it. I floated from one thing to the next, always wondering why nothing felt quite right.
I began to wonder if trying to recreate another time period in history was the way to go. You know – get rid of certain conveniences in order to force myself to work harder. At face value, it seems like a good idea, but I couldn’t shake the notion that God didn’t accidentally put me in this time and place so I could try to pretend like I lived in another time and place.
And what if our view of what life was really like for those women in other time periods is completely skewed?
As Rebekah Merkle astutely points out, the 1950’s “ideal housewife” gave birth to the 1960’s feminist revolution because women were “unhappy from being underchallenged.” Many of these women chose to leave home and find a challenge in the workforce because frankly, the 1950’s housewife was BORED. She had all sorts of modern conveniences that led to the blessing of more leisure time, but those same blessings led to her job as a housewife becoming merely “ornamental” and downright boring.
Truth be told, I too have been BORED these past 4 years.
I loved having more freedom of movement than I had had in 2 decades, but with that freedom of movement, I accidentally left my homemaking behind. I was no longer building anything. I had even quit calling myself a homemaker.
Homeschool mom, blogger, podcaster – but homemaker? Not really.
I just wasn’t that good at it anymore. And as a consequence, I had very little to say here on the blog and otherwise.
I wasn’t living a life that overflowed. I was actually barely getting by.
But, remember – I spent last year ABIDING in the Lord. And there was no way He was going to let me stay stuck.
Strong messages about homemaking – a different kind of homemaking – met me at every turn. He was showing me that I am made for MUCH more than making my bed every day, slapping a meal on the table, driving kids to and from their jobs, throwing in the occasional load of laundry, and doing a little homeschooling on the side.
I am BUILDING a HOME.
I’m not an employee. I’m the BOSS! And one of the greatest challenges of this job is that my job isn’t going to look exactly the same as anyone else’s because we are not cookie-cutter Christians!
So, friends, I am focusing on my HOME – the people in it, and all that goes with it all year long!
I like this! Can’t wait to see what this means for you!
Maryanne Bufford says
Thank you for this last post of abiding and then following and leading you to home.
It was refreshing and it blessed me and it spoke to a place of where I’m at right now I’m grateful, that others are in the journey with God and going about their day even when they’re not sure other direction. Just letting him point the way and keeping our eyes fixed on him and trusting him at every turn. I try to read whenever you post stuff sometimes I don’t stop to really ponder it but this one touched my heart thank you.
Thank you for reading and pondering, Maryanne!
Dana K says
I’m excited to see what you learn and do this year, Amy! I’ve been feeling like this, maybe since my baby was turning 2 (because this was the only time I made it that long without being pregnant again), and after a decade of brain fog, 24/7 on-call mommying, and pretty much no time for myself, that load is lighter, and I have felt floundering, reaching out for something fulfilling – while avoiding my neglected home (partly because I feel doomed to failure in this area. You know I leaned toward those STEM classes instead of Home Ec.!). Is it knitting? A part-time job? Something else? Please pray that this year, the Lord will help me also recenter on this special calling as a homemaker (and that I’d remember your note that that’s not going to look the same for me as it does for others)!
Absolutely praying for you and God’s calling on your life! He gave you such unique gifts and talents, return them to him multiplied!
I have 5 kids. Ages 16, 12, 10, 7, 3. I’ve been feeling really down because my kids are growing up, and it seemed to happen overnight! Plus, I’m struggling with all the different needs. I’ve realized that my youngest kids are kind of getting the short end of the stick, because I’m not doing the cute little things I used to for my older kids when they were younger. I need to regroup and do more than just getting by in the busyness of homeschooling, church, housework, etc. I didn’t realize I would feel this way, it’s interesting! Anyway, thanks for your post, it resonated with me!
I definitely understand exactly what you are saying! I had a moment a few years ago when I realized I had “grown up” with my older kids in homeschooling and wasn’t doing all the fun things I did with them with my younger crew, so I refocused and started doing preschool with my littles, and it was wonderful! Now the season has changed again, and it’s my homemaking that is suffering. Time to refocus!
Oh my what a blessing this post is! I feel the anointing on your words! So much of what you shared here resonated with me – trying to find purpose, rush through the jobs, feeling the weirdness of transition, the abandoning of modern convenience to make the job harder, and the lack of fulfillment despite having more ‘me time’, and plenty more!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am so inspired. I am excited for what the Lord reveals to you and the abundant grace ahead! I am also encouraged by the testimony of how He has already spoken to you and revived your heart. Wow. What a blessing to read this today! I feel encouraged and energized. I am going to start praying for a word too, and look forward to growing in my home, too. God bless you!
Kathryn, I’m so glad you found such encouragement here! I am super excited for what God has in store in 2023!
Thank you Amy! I am excited too for what is ahead, for both of us and our homes and our families! God bless you!
Thank you for your honest confession that truly resonates. Praying that the Lord will bless you as you follow His Spirit Home. I am looking forward to hear how your home is blessed by Renewed Family Discipleship.
Thank you, Heather!
This resonates with me also. I’m sitting here feeling the conviction. That Eve in Exile book is great! I think I need to revisit it as well. Thank you for speaking truth.
I am sure I will revisit the book over and over again to keep me motivated!
Wow! I sit here with tears, tears of joy and hope! This article really resonated with me and I find a good kind of stirring happening within and some of my pondering put in words. I look forward to hearing more as you are led to share! Thank you so much!! God’s anointing upon you as you rise up and follow His call!
Praise the Lord, Christina! There is such peace when you are smack dab in the middle of God’s will!
I’m excited to follow along! My word was HOME last year for very similar reasons. 🙂
Awesome! That one little word certainly packs a punch.
I’m so excited to hear about your new adventures, Amy. I have found that there is often a period of floundering before a season of intense spiritual growth. I also appreciate your willingness to share the ups and downs of the journey – especially as you are just ahead of me in the journey! (Our eldest will turn 17 soon.)
Thank you for being here, Diana!
Rachel O says
I am so looking forward to what you have to share this year! I have 4 children. My oldest is 12, my youngest is 3. I have been on the homemaking struggle bus for a little bit now! I thought flylady would be my answer… that seemed to just fill my day with cleaning tasks (which are not bad), but I need more. I have drawn so much inspiration from your content in the past several years. What you share has helped me so, so much and it is appreciated!
I plan to write and produce content from the overflow, so hopefully there is PLENTY of overflow from my homemaking!
This spoke and ministered to my heart! You put words to many of my thoughts and feelings for the last 2-3 years. I get things done but just couldn’t shake the “meh”.
I have a 26, 23, 19, 13, and 10 year old. A different season now for me. The older 2 are married and they have recently had babies!!
I will ponder upon your words and definitely feel a call to action so to speak.
We have to rethink our role as homemaker and stop trying to go back to the way things were. That’s one of the hardest things for me! Can’t wait to hear how God guides you this year!
Becky O says
This is sooo good!
I have four children, ages 10, 8, 6.5, and 4. I no longer have babies and toddlers attached to me, or baby gear cluttering and weighing me down. I have realized lately that I have the time and opportunity to homemake like I have wanted too! But, health issues are keeping me from getting there. This COVID long haul syndrome is no joke! Last year was hard! Ten weeks of everyday waking with your heart rate up, followed by extreme nausea, violent vomiting and no appetite. I was extremely weak, lost 45 lbs ( which I needed to lose but not in that way), and fatigued to no end. But, after a year, I’m almost back to normal. I still have bad days. Sometimes several bad days in a row. But if I had to pick a word for my life last year, it would be GRACE. I learned to give myself GRACE, to do what I can when I can, to not let the dishes ruin my day cuz they are piled up cuz I was unwell. GRACE…
So now, I am going to follow in your footsteps and focus on HOME this year.
Oh, you poor thing! But, as you know, it is in our roughest, toughest times that we tend to see God’s grace the clearest, so praise the Lord for that!