...there are conversations which change our thinking, and, therefore, our lives. Of course, nearly every conversation shapes us in some way, but there are certain ones that really stand out as pivotal.
One of those in my life may not seem incredibly life changing to you... but, somehow, it was.
It happened several years ago, when I was fourteen. We were sitting at the dining room table, talking about random things, as we are prone to do. We had some friends over, and their mom said something to the effect of ,"I reached all of my goals by the time I was 19." She then explained that her goals had been to get married and have children, both of which were accomplished at that age.
However... she is now divorced, her first child was out of wedlock, and her two oldest children have children of their own... but no spouses.
Now, that might not seem remarkable, or life changing, or even really all that interesting, though I hope you will agree with me that what happened in her life is tragic.
But it made me think:
First, wow, she had the same goals that I have... but her life is not how I want mine to turn out. What can I do differently to avoid that outcome?
Second, I need bigger goals than simply "getting married" and "having children". Those goals leave you without any goals pretty quickly! Imagine being all out of goals at 19!!
So... what have I done since then? How did this affect my thinking?
Well, first, I decided that, instead of just having "be a wife and mother" as my life goal, I'd add something: Become an Excellent wife and mother. (And person in general)
Right then, at age fourteen, I wrote down a vision for the kind of wife and mother I want to be.
"I want to be a wonderful wife. I want to be supportive and submissive to my husband. I want to keep the house clean, and have delicious meals on time, and praise him for what he does, and "dress up" for him, and be cheerful, and take his shoes off, and greet him at the door with a smile, and let him tell me about his day before I tell about mine, I want to look on the bright side of things, and have a sense of humor. I will STAY WITH HIM."
Now, some of those things sound a little funny... but they are what I thought of at fourteen. :) I have added more things to that list mentally, but you get the idea.
"I want to be a great mom. I want to play with my children, and teach them about God, and listen to them, and home school them, and read to them, I want to help them, and feed them good food, and make clothes for them, and love on them, and pray with and for them, and NEVER GIVE UP on them. And lots more things for them and my husband. (whoever he is.)"
Again, some of those things sound a little silly to me now, but you can see what I was thinking.
It's easy enough to just get married and have children without preparing much or striving to be the best you can be with God's help... but you'll most likely end up with an incredibly ho-hum, low impact life--or, on the other side of things, an incredibly painful and unnecessarily difficult life.
Now, of course God can and does use those situations. However, I don't want to make choices that will lead to those kinds of lifestyles--my dreams are much, much bigger.
Sure, I look forward to the romantic parts of getting married and the astounding miracle of babies-- but there's much more to this! If I become an excellent wife and mother, I can have enormous eternal impact for God's kingdom!
"Woman's work is foundation work for society, for the state, for the kingdom of heaven. In the homes of America are born the children of America; and from them goes forth American life. Who has the hand upon these springs of life? Woman.... Woman may think her sphere and work are limited and contracted, but in this she was never found it a graver mistake. In the home she is imprinting herself upon the man; in him she builds up society, in him she builds up the state, in him she legislates, in him she executes, in him she rules. She makes man what he is, so far as human power can operate, Yes, if she never does anything else but 'nurse babies' she can do no grander work. May God impress upon our women the high, heavenly, holy duty of rearing the children of our country, and making our homes places of joy and comfort. Alas! for the State! if our women are to leave the work of our homes and run hither and thither in search of larger rights and larger powers!" William H. Felix, in "The Work and Sphere of Womanhood.
It's exciting to think of how much influence I have as a women! I want to learn all I can so that I will impact the world for good and not for evil.
Which is why I am thrilled about the new book "Preparing to be a Help Meet" by Debi Pearl. I just finished reading it recently, and am looking forward to applying the things I've learned in it as I read it again-- this time taking notes and filling out things. :) I'm very thankful that she's developed this resource to help me reach my goals!