Trabajando en el hogar en medio del caos

As I sat down and prepared to write this reflection, one sentence jumped out at me: "Set aside some free time to study and complete the statement." I'm 29 years old and while many of my friends are finishing graduate school or having their first child, my oldest son is on the cusp of his sixth birthday. In five years, my husband and I have had 4 children. I live a beautiful life at home with my children, but free time is hard to come by.

My work area

We started our first year of homeschooling this year and have committed to making it work financially so I can stay home. My husband is a social worker (which means, of course, that he works hard and is poorly paid), so we live in a small house and manage ourselves carefully.

Our house is loud and crowded and full of energy, but it is a place of incredible blessing. I spend my days changing diapers, dealing with sibling arguments, washing endless piles of laundry, stroking the heads of babies in their cribs, considering curricular changes and teaching methods, playing board games, cooking, and making (sometimes ) countless other things.

My unintentional life

I love the life that God has chosen for me. She thought she was going to be a teacher at a public school in the suburbs of the city. Of course, she would eventually have a couple of children, and she would somehow fit into the life we ​​had carved out for ourselves. Then I graduated from college with a degree in education...and we were only three months away from the expected (birth) date of our first child.

He was a difficult baby, that first child of mine. Lonely, sleep-deprived, and a little out of my head, I was blessed to experience motherhood for the first time at its harshest. All my friends had graduated from college and moved to other cities, and I was left to fend for myself in a world occupied primarily by women many years older than me. However, in the midst of all that experience the Lord was working in my heart and surrounding me with godly examples of how to live a home life for His glory.

We had a second child and then a third, and I realized that the Lord was leading me to a life that was more rewarding and fulfilling than any I had imagined for myself. I had made plans, but they weren't the best. The Lord knew my heart. Being a mother to these boys has opened my heart to Him in a way that only He knew was possible. Every day is a challenge for me. It is an incredibly difficult task to be with them all day, every day. They are selfish, impulsive and boisterous. They test my patience constantly. But isn't it fire that refines?

Our prayers together

Last year was incredibly difficult. We lost two grandparents. We were sick with a stomach ailment for two weeks. I gave birth to our fourth child, and had my gallbladder removed two weeks later. At the same time, a respiratory infection that had afflicted my husband for four straight days spread to our two-week-old son, threatening us with a return to the children's hospital. I broke my ankle. My 2-year-old son cracked his skull, prompting a DCF investigation that accused me of neglecting my children. My father is in the hospital three hours from where we live with several complicated antibiotic-resistant infections that have been threatening his life for the last month. In the midst of all this, I am still a mother. There is no free time from family when your family is your work.

The Lord has surrounded us with an incredible body of believers who live to serve Him. They have cared for us and prayed for us. Our children have seen the body of Christ in its greatest expression. Many times they have received God's provision, his goodness, and the hope we have in him, even when things are and remain difficult.

I have been very challenged this year to trust God. But living the hope of the gospel with and before these four little ones has been incredible. I have seen your prayers go from vague and repetitive to specific and sincere because we have had real and difficult things to pray about together.

Editor's Note : This reflection was presented and selected as part of the Every Square Inch dinner , held at The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference 2014 , sponsored by InterVarsity Press/Crescendo Books .

This article was originally published on June 23, 2014 for The Gospel Coalition . Translated by Eddy Garcia.

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