Homemaker

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Church free up! And finally I am able to fellowship with people I haven’t seen in over a year. There were lots of teeny ones that I hadn’t seen since the pandemic and I even got to hold the sweetest little one. A friend of mine took a picture of me feeding her and sent it to me. When I looked at the picture, I smiled in my heart because of all the recent work God had started in the area of family and homemaking.

A few weeks ago my mentor and I were talking. At the beginning of the session I was asked to state the pillars of my life. As I listed things, family came to mind but I shoved it back and told myself not to say it. As we continued to discuss other things I was asked to define success. I stated all the things I wanted to accomplish and ended with, “but of course, not at the detriment of my family.” At this statement my mentor reflected on the dissonance.

Not knowing what transpired in my head, he highlighted how interesting it was that I stated not wanting to accomplish things at the detriment of my family but when I stated the pillars of my life he observed and even mentally noted that I hadn’t said family.

He was right, I didn’t and I couldn’t. But why? I pondered on it all evening. What was this incongruence on the insides of my own heart. As usual I went to talk to God about it. I told him I wanted to have a family but something hard on the insides of my heart had demanded that I steel myself off from the prospect of it. I was made to feel I couldn’t and so I decided I wouldn’t.

You Can’t
I love serving at church, being around my friends and being out of my house. Most of my life that was me. I was active, involved in everything. I thrived in the spaces God placed me and was constantly out. This was what I was told to do as a single Christian – serve. The truth was outside of that mandate, my extravert-self wanted that lifestyle.
Because I was constantly out I was made to feel that I cared more for those things than home. I had been told that my outside accomplishments and friend involvements were way more important than my home commitments and that I probably wouldn’t be able to do homemaking well. Plus, I didn’t cook as much as others, and I didn’t feel free to experiment. A caricature of myself was being created with each pronouncement. The storyline was you can’t do outside and inside; one or the other. This combined with disappointments with family I had began to develop a narrative – “I can’t do homemaking”.

It Is WORK
In addition to all of this was the reality that doing family -like everything in life – took work. It could be satisfying but also grueling. The challenge I had was that I had become used to prioritizing work and serving. With a super busy week, I would be fine with a bowl of cereal at the end of the day for dinner. In my mind family meant having a full meal ready for breakfast lunch and dinner. That seemed impossible with my present life.

I had also seen so many successful black women struggle with both. If they were driven, then they were single or divorced (not every one of course). Every time I heard of a successful black woman getting divorced I shuddered. One research site stated that black women in the States have a higher divorce rate than any other demographic and a person with a first degree gets divorced at a higher rate than those without a degree. While I was a Caribbean girl these numbers and my observations impacted me. I am a black, Caribbean woman with two degrees.

I laid out all of this in journal and wept. I had closed out a God given desire in my life because of the narratives, examples and words spoken over me. That entire weekend I was either crying or praying.


God began to heal, reminding me of truths and dispelling fears. He reminded me that I was not what was said about me. He reminded me that as the author of family He was the person to look to and not my fears. He was the one that gave me all I needed for salvation, He would do the same in all areas of my life. My responsibility was to trust and obey Him.

Betty Crocker
Little changes happened after that. I began cooking more, sheepishly calling my “wife” friends to teach me over the phone. I realized I loved learning new recipes and seeing the final product. I researched décor for my space and made adjustments as I could. I began taking weekends off and signing off completely by Friday afternoon unless I had something pressing. I sought out mentorship and books to learn more and renew my mind. I released the toxicity that I had allowed in my heart that came from fear and lies and it felt more like the authentic me.

When I held the little one that Sunday I smiled at the journey. I stared at the picture with joy that God had begun a work in my heart ? One day, God willing I could be a wife, mother, Director and writer and He would guide the balance needed. He continues the work and I continue to stay steadfast.

  • a Heart Committed

Distracted

We women seem to killing it in this century. Leadership, business, education and empowerment, it’s all happening. We have made decisions to end toxic relationships, make smart decisions on who we will and will not entertain and do the work to allow the healing.

In this place we feel good, we feel proud, we feel like we have found our rhythm, and then it happens… From the side of our eye we see something. We try to keep running but our interests are peaked and we keep turning ever so slightly while trying to maintain pace.

It’s kinda shiny so the pace slightly slows in order to properly appraise what it is but very quickly we see that it doesn’t qualify. However, now you are aware and now the race feels long, the pace feels tiresome and there is this ever slight tug to keep looking back.

This is where I was. Distracted by what wasn’t even my desired goals. It wasn’t even a form of it. It was a de-form of it.

I was super annoyed with myself. How could I be so fulfilled and sensible and yet was slowing down for a guy who was textbook red flag.

I am not talking about he doesn’t meet my ‘100 musts before I say yes to a date,’ kind of disqualification. No I mean he was the, “I am still searching”, “one day I will”, “look at all these girl options”, “barely spiritual” kind of disqualification.

Yet, I gave him attention. Oh yes. I did. I giggled and laughed, felt the electricity of connection and the warmth of flattery.

It was out of body. It was as if I walked into a portal from Star Trek and couldn’t get out of its force field. Whenever he was gone I would shake myself and assess the damage in disgust. I either shared too much, was too accommodating or just tried too hard. Who was this alien creature and where was the successful, put together, powerhouse woman that I was?

I reached out to my accountability certain that some version of the Kool-Aid had been consumed and I needed someone to slap me out of it. I waited with bated breath for the rebuke and challenge to live according to my God given abilities, to rise above the drudgery of the flesh and walk in holiness and consecration and what she said was, “Stace, its normal to find people attractive. You are human.”

Human, I know I am human…

I am sure she was just saying this to abate my worries and not really tuned in to her godly wisdom, so I went to another accountability person certain they would have more insight and a scripture to use. He said the same, I was normal.

I thought on it for a while. I realized because I felt so accomplished, so strong so focused that being distracted felt like I was out of the race. Me distracted gave me the feeling I was now not ready for the team and should be relegated to the sidelines for rebuke. I wasn’t strong enough.

I laughed to myself, even self-aware, disciplined, God focused women can get diverted. I breathed a little. I was still in the race. I could know better and still see and desire. The issue wasn’t in the distraction but in how hard I was on myself for my lapse.

I still wanted to learn from it. That would be the better thing. So I processed for myself what was it that got me distracted? How I was so susceptible to this?

Hunger

Now I am new to consistently working out and by no means am I an expert on fitness but I get the feeling that when you are racing there must be some fuel in your body for the race ahead. When I barely ate my laps around the field were mostly quick walks and half hearted jogging. But when I ate a balanced meal even some carbs I was able to give more, run longer and have more energy.

I realized I had been consuming too much unhealthy “foods” .I began slipping back into my Hallmark, Love Connection, and all things relationship on social media. It was done absentmindedly I felt strong and I was reading my Bible so ‘eating’ a little junk shouldn’t be that bad.

Wrong. As annoying as it can be, consistency is what keeps the results we have accomplished. Unlike my previous workout routine of excercise for two months (which usually meant January to February) and getting fit then reverting to carbs, laying down all day and eating vegetables intermittently, I had to continuously watch my diet, and stay on my regime.

Prioririzing

I spent time thinking on him, making efforts to be around him and arranging my day to pass by him. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted but my actions didn’t line up. I wasn’t being mindful of my thoughts. I wasn’t keeping a healthy distance and I wasn’t guarding my affections.

You see part of mainitining a healthy lifestyle is to avoid the pitfalls. Although Burger King sells salads, if I go in there I am not buying a salad. I am buying a burger. I must prioritize my health and go where that lifestyle choice will be tended and flourish.

My mind can’t be dwelling on pastas, and pizzas. I had to think on healthy options, creative ways to stay that way and the benefits of what I get from it.

Still In the Game

Distraction will always be there. I am can help myself by watching my intake, by prioritizing my goals, forgiving myself and remember distractions don’t disqualify me.

So I relaxed. My game plan was back in order. I re-calibrated, refocused and got back in the game.

Let Me Be A Woman

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” Elisabeth Elliot

Womanhood – what is it? With over 70 reported options to choose from when defining gender on Facebook what you came out the womb with isn’t enough in defining the amazingness of feminine splendour. With features that change and flounder what is on the outside leaves little to defining what a woman truly is.

The exhaustive list ( or maybe that’s just me ) that influences body image and self worth, can’t be the answer either. After we have “discovered, examined, catalogued and complained about, observed and obsessed over every blemish, wrinkle, fat deposit, and flaw,” we still can’t seem to agree on what a woman is.

What a woman has – is that enough? Is being a woman being able to go through thirty pairs of clothing to figure out what to wear? Is being a woman wishing one had the option of thirty different outfits to choose from and still not being able to decide what to wear. Or, is it just wishing people stopped caring about having thirty pairs of clothing to choose from and be content with the weekly rotate?

Does being emotional make one a woman? Is it the strong pull we have to feel, discern and internalize? Is womanhood defined by having strong emotions that surge when hurt or angered, or is quietly seething with anger that percolates for months?

What is it?

Paul in his letter to Titus said this about women,

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. – Titus chapter 2 verses 3-5

Paul defies the previous definitions of womanhood. More than biology and the external physique womanhood is a beautiful design that covers heart, body and soul. A woman more than just emotions and body image. In these verses Titus beelines past the conundrum of feminine mystique and rolls everything up into the character.

When I look at all of this I know I fall painfully short.While I am busy, I struggle with being busy at home. Gentleness and humility is many times replaced with sarcasm and annoyance. Kindness and reverence get sidelined for record keeping and stone wall defiance. A few earnest prayers, countless times closing my mouth when a zingy line came surging forth and trying to bend over backwards to help everyone only resulted with exhaustion!

If I could barely make the three verse mark of Titus 2 I couldn’t fathom taking on the mammoth task of Proverbs 31 that everyone avidly quotes. I had not attained personal development much less buying and selling commodities on a major market like this super woman.

I have earnestly sought God about what it takes to be a woman and many times all I felt was frustrated, hurt and annoyed. I wasn’t a put together, flawless female, I wasn’t Martha Stewart, I wasn’t even Martha. As I catalogued my life I didn’t meet any standard much less the biblical one.

Truth

The thing to realize is that a woman is one who understands that she falls short of not only the world’s standards but God’s too. A woman realizes she has flaws and knows that God is not perturbed by them.

A woman understands that she is under grace and rests in the power of her Maker to transform her by His redeeming power.

A godly woman recognizes that her sinful nature makes her a prime candidate for the merciful Saviour who lovingly takes all that she is and replaces it with all that He is.

Image Bearer

A true woman holds and reflects the beauty of God as His image bearer. When she meditates on her Maker’s beauty and allows him to complete His restorative work in her life, every defining characteristic works in perfect harmony as she exudes Him in her appearance and character.

When answering the question of what it means to be a woman it many times makes us see what we are not. Truthfully, being a woman may feel like it takes a lot of effort. There are days when I want to take a vacation from all the silly things that confuse me about being a woman (I have sweat pants and a cap for those days).

But what’s best, what truly makes you and I a woman, is the ability to own all that God has made us and confidently rest in all that we lack as He makes us the best woman we can be.

“We are women, and my plea is me to let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.” ― Elisabeth Elliot