Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Mother's Priorities

"I am sadly concerned that thousands of mothers are so over-burdened that the actual demands of life from day to day consume all their time and strength. But of two evils, choose the lesser: which would you call the lesser--an unpolished stove or an untaught boy? Dirty windows, or a child whose confidence you have failed to gain? Cobwebs in the corner, or a son over whose soul a crust has formed, so strong that you despair of melting it with your hot tears and fervent prayers?

I have seen a woman who was absolutely ignorant of her children's habits of thought, who never felt that she could spare a half-hour to read or talk with them--I have seen this woman spend ten minutes in ironing a sheet, or forty minutes icing a cake for tea, because company was expected.

When the mother, a good orthodox Christian, shall appear before the Great White Throne to be judged for the "deeds done in the body," and to give her report of the master's treasures placed in her care, there will be questions and answers like these:

"Where are the boys and girls I gave thee?"

"Lord, I was busy keeping my house clean and in order, and my children wandered away."

"Where wert thou while thy sons and thy daughters were learning lessons of dishonesty, malice and impurity?"

"Lord, I was polishing furniture and making beautiful rugs."

"What hast thou to show for thy life's work?"

"The tidiest house, Lord, and the best starching and ironing in all our neighborhood!"

Oh these children, these children! The restless eager boys and girls whom we love more than our lives! Shall we devote our time and strength to that which perishes while the rich garden of our child's soul lies neglected, with foul weeds choking out all worthy and beautiful growths? Fleeting indeed, O mother, are the days of childhood, and speckless windows, snowy linen, the consciousness that everything about the house is faultlessly bright and clean will be poor comfort in that day wherein we shall discover that our poor boy's feet have chosen the path that shall take him out of the way to all eternity."

--Author Unknown

(Elisabeth Elliot shared the following essay written many years ago by an unknown mother in one of her newsletters ( Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter, P.O. Box 7711, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107-7711 -$7 yr.) She says while not too many women iron sheets these days, it is still possible to let many other things take precedence over the primary task.)

Thank you Brenda @ The Family Revised for sharing this!

Note: This post contains affiliate links---thanks for your support!


  1. It reminds me of Mary and Martha, while Martha was all busy, the Lord said Mary had the good thing, sitting at the feet of the Master.

  2. Well, I still iron my sheets;) But I sincerely hope never to be guilty of neglecting my children in favor of having smooth sheets!

    Your post made me think of one of my favorite poems:
    I Would Gather Children

    Some would gather money
    Along the path of life;
    Some would gather roses,
    And rest from worldly strife.

    But I would gather children
    From among the thorns of sin;
    I would seek a golden curl,
    And a freckled, toothless grin.

    For money cannot enter
    In that land of endless day;
    And roses that are gathered
    Soon will wilt along the way.

    But, oh, the laughing children,
    As I cross the sunset sea,
    And the gates swing wide to heaven
    I can take them in with me.

    -Author Unknown

  3. Thank you so much for the reminder..so much wants to steal our hearts away from our homes!


  4. All I can meekly utter in response is, with head bent is, "Yes, Lord"

  5. I was tempted to be like this (majoring in minors), but thankfully, when our children were home (they are now grown) my husband PUT HIS FOOT DOWN! He INSISTED on paper plates, etc., when we had a toddler and an infant at home at the same time, and convenience foods, even though I didn't want that. You CAN find healthful convenience foods. It's not that he never let me make something from scratch, but he didn't want me wearing myself out in order to prove something or save a buck. He said, "I want you to be able to have time for the children and time for me. I don't want a worn out wife!" I submitted. We didn't die. We and the children were healthy. I think that sometimes husbands need to step in and put a stop to some of this. My husband, for instance, would never have put up with me making my own laundry detergent, etc. He would have seen that as "trying to prove something." I just bought the cheapest detergent I could find. Many of the authors of these blogs are now admittedly at the point of collapse. (Remember, back in the 1800's and before, women died young due to overwork!) Incidentally, I did/do not work outside the home. We got by, and my husband didn't make tons of money. I'm glad now that I submitted to him. He loves me and is easy to submit to. He refused to allow me to spend my young years in drudgery. I notice many blogs authored by the type of woman you speak of, and wonder if their husbands are on board with a lot of this stuff. The families seem wife-driven, although a lot of lip service is given to wifely submission. We have been married 40 years this June.

  6. This is all so true...I know mothers (I guess they must be called that) who work full time and then on their days of, still take their kids to day care, so they can have the day to themselves! So many women are not bonded to their children at all...they work all day, feed them something from McDonalds on the way home, come hold and try to keep up with a home etc. send the kids off to bed and do it all over again. I keep thinking, why have children if someone else is raising them...why?! No wonder kids of today are so lost!

  7. Mrs. Fuentes,

    I appreciate so much all your encouraging posts. The one concerning daughters has left me with a question to ask you considering a serious matter. I was wondering if I might be allowed to ask you about it through a private email. My email is cherryfruit@hotmail.com . I would be so grateful.

    Thank you and God Bless, Cherry

  8. I just wanted to say I love your blog. It is so encouraging and inspiring.

    Love the music too!

  9. This is such a common struggle for Christian wives - it's absolutely like Martha!

    Also, Elisabeth Elliot is amazing! Love her to bits.

    Great blog! I've bookmarked it :)

  10. Amen! Thank you for the gentle reminder and for your heart to serve the Lord! Your blog is such a blessing to me! :-)

  11. I love this blog, and love reading the comments from other readers just as much! While I do not have any children yet (I am young and married though), I do work full time and come home to my husband (who is at the moment laid-off from his job, but going back to work asap) in the evenings. I would rather see my house tidy with a bit of lived-in mess and my loved ones given plenty of attention than have a sparkling home and an irritated, neglected family. Some people manage to do both somehow, but I just am not those people. Family always comes first :)

  12. That was excellent!!
    So thought provoking....thank you for sharing this :)


  13. Oh, this is encouragement I needed to hear! I love a clean house but need to keep it in perspective. My heart and focus should be with my children during the day and not seeking a magazine-worthy house.

  14. Once we've defined the problem we need to be the hands and feet that help solve the problem. My house and yard often have "stray" children. I try to not pass judgement on where their mothers are...instead, I try to make sure they feel Christ's love through me in the few short hours I can reach them.

  15. So true! I love this post. How easily we can be distracted from our first ministry as parents, our precious children.

  16. Thank-you for this! I often find it such a hard balance!


  17. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. Here's my latest on the subject of Homemaking:

  18. Have you read "The Shaping of a Christian Family" by Elisabeth Elliot - this is an excellent book of a Godly family - Elisabeth Elliot's biography of the family she was raised in. Well worth reading if you are a new family.


  19. I love this post and the comments, it does make you think about priorities. I have found a bit of balance by having my children clean, frost cakes, and whatever else I do right along side me. Even a two year old can help out. One of mine when he was two LOVED to do the dishes so each time I did them I called him in to help. Now it may have made more work overall with him 'helping' but now that he is nine I have very little trouble with him doing his chores. I love the paper plate comment though, there are a few shortcuts I should think about taking, although we do make our own laundry soap, but then again we do it together and have fun at it. Having the children help out teaches them work ethics, is a way to spend time with them, and frees me up to be able to spend quality time with them doing other fun things and guiding them.

    And seriously people iron sheets? What for?

  20. Hi Mrs. Fuentes!!
    My husband was reading your husband's blog and alerted me to the fact that you have been unwell. I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you!!

    Mrs. U

  21. I found your blog thru the blog roll at Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys in the yard. Your blog is BEAUTIFUL - I love the artwork - a truly lovely place. I can't wait to read more.

  22. Amen, thank you for sharing this.

    In Christ,
    Joanne in MO

  23. Wow... Thank you, Mrs. June... Praise God for His work through your blog.


Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment! Each and every single one of you are welcomed here with open arms. I love to hear from you so feel free to share what is on your heart.

I look forward to hearing from you!