Sunday, November 15, 2009

Keeping up with the Smith's

The following is something that I read and really appreciated. I e-mailed it to some of you, but I wanted to share it further and to put it where I can easily find it. The article was written by Becky Shah an Emmaus alumni. I also liked Kathy's response that follows. I trust you will appreciate it. I really don't know any real Mrs. Smiths. I think she is just a figment of our horizontal imaginations. We should really be looking up to God and not comparing ourselves to each other.

I am sure you all have heard of the Joneses with all their material possessions and materialistic pursuits, but have you met their cousins, the Smiths? Mrs. Smith is a woman like no other.She has 10 lovely darlings, though still wears a size 2 and hasn't hardly a wrinkle or stretch mark on her tummy. Each one is perfectly obedient at all times, perfectly groomed: nails are never overgrown and pants are never too short. She spends several hours each day catering the special needs and interest of each individual child. Of course, she is homeschooling and each child is exceptional, knowing classical Latin, Biblical Greek, and Hebrew by the age of 8, and on track to graduate with their bachelor with a full scholarship by 18. Each child has already started a business venture of their own and is making a sizable income, plays an instrument with skills surpassing their years, excels in organized sports, and yet they all still have several hours a day to just play. When Mrs. Smith is not investing in her children, she is caring for the household: laundry, vacuuming, dusting, washing windows, cleaning cabinets, polishing door knobs...all chores are are completed daily so the house is always at its best. Of course, she also provides 3 home cooked meals for her family mostly from produce she has grown in her own organic garden and fresh bread from grain she as milled herself. She has even managed a business on the side to help with the family income.The family is highly involved in their local church attending meetings 3 days a week, as well as helping with the church sponsored ministry every Sat.She has not forgotten to practice her faith outside of the church either, befriending the neighbors, having coffee and a Bible study with the elderly lady across the street twice a week, babysitting for the single mother regularly, and making sure that the grandparents get as much grandchild and child time as they want.Mrs. Smith makes sure that her husband does not feel neglected. Of course, when he comes home from work, she has the children quietly engaged in a project, dinner hot and ready to serve, and she herself, is perfectly groomed, hair fixed, spit-up free clothes, dressed to go out just to stay at home with her family. She saves all her evenings just to be with husband, listen about his day, and watch the game with him.Last, but not least she has not neglected her own spiritual growth, getting up at 4:00 in the morning to begin her day with a 2 hour devotion and prayer time before starting. Mrs. Smith is a woman to be admired. She is Godly, loving, productive, exceptional. She is the woman that I often find myself striving to be. She is also a woman living in a world with 50 hour days and unlimited energy. LOL!!! Please understand, ALL the things she does are wonderful (though some more wonderful than others). There is not fault to be found in these things. The fault I find is in me, striving for a perfection out side of Biblical standards: creating a Christian wife standard that would have made the pharisees proud with its unattainable goals and ability to destroy the one in pursuit of trying to succeed. I don't know how I get caught up in these things. How do I jumble up the great things to do with the good things to do? I know I need to seek the Lord more for His blessing on each days activities, and I know that the things I may need to cut out may not be the same for another. Because I am not Mrs. Smith, because there is NO way I can live up to her standard, I need to be sure to choose the BEST for each day, that which will bring the most glory to God whether in the church, or in focusing on the family and raising the children, or fully involved in ministry outside the home. I know His plan for me is not the same as His plan for you, so I need to make sure to stay in touch with Him and following His lead. Trying to follow Mrs. Smith would leave me exhausted, depressed, frustrated, and destroyed. I am so glad to remember that Jesus' burden is light and He will give me the strength and ability to do what He desires of me.
Kathy (Shields) Kerwin 10/28/09
I don't think it's possible that ANY woman could attain all that was listed there without passing out of sheer exhaustion. I also think that most Moms struggle with finding the balance between family, church, ministry, etc ... For myself, I tend to overbook. I don't do it on purpose but suddenly I look at our calendar and there's not a single day free of some kind of event/activity/practice/gathering, etc! Then I become completely overwhelmed and stressed trying to balance all the balls at once. I'm also one who tends to be hard on myself thinking that I'm not doing enough for my kids - especially when it comes to school work! I feel like so many weeks we are so busy that we're lucky if we get language and math done and all my other 'good' intentions fall by the wayside. What other balls do I drop on a regular basis? Oh yeah, I hardly ever make time to exercise, I often don't make time for my quiet time with the Lord and many days the house is messy b/c we've been so busy. And there's more ... oh there's always more! So what does one do? Honestly I think it's more about the need to sllllooooooowwww down. This week I canceled on 3 things simply b/c we have had a busy and stressful week and we needed to slow down a little. The world would have us think that our kids need to be in every program, activity and sport - but what our kids really need is a family who spends time with each other and is dedicated to the Lord. I'm trying to learn that lesson myself. I need to stop comparing myself to other homeschool Moms who are doing A LOT more with their kids, with other Moms who are thinner and healthier b/c they spend hours a week at the gym, etc ... I heard this awesome quote this past weekend at a women's retreat ... "Live your life before an audience of ONE" {one meaning the Lord, no one else.}



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