What is family? Merriam-webster defines it as 1) "a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head and 2) a group of common ancestry." Is it necessary to consult a dicitionary to define "family?" Surprisingly, it very well may be. However, this definition isn't sufficient because it lacks an acknowledgement to the One who creates and heads this unit and also a personal understanding by which possession is taken of it.
I spent a tremendous amount of time pursuing the accomplishments which were said to bring fullfillment. I had intentions to become a proficient nurse and work steadily to earn my worth. I wanted it because it was a respected career and means of earning an income for living. I wanted to married, but I wanted to be a personally accomplished and confident woman prior to that event. Truth was, I was rarely either of those qualities because I was continuously searching for something that college nor career could ever be. The answer wasn't revealed to me until I married. It took only two months after marriage for me to wake up. What was I doing? After the stress and exhaustion of our days spent working in our separate ways, we brought home mere remnants of ourselves. This was my home, and he and I were my family. How do we expect to have a strong home and family when we have so little to offer; when we have so little to build upon? All these little moments of time have purpose, and it is a matter of choice how they are spent. It became so clear that the something I had been chasing before had been placed in my hand, I had only to enclose my fingers around it. FAMILY.
And so, with our move to another state for his job I, too, relocated from the workplace to the home. We made some changes in how we live in order to sustain on his income alone. I haven't felt these differences as losses though because we've gained so much in our marriage. I find great joy and purpose in my role in the home because I know that what I do here while he is away permits greater time for us to be fully home when we are together. We aren't distracted or stressed by a mess or things needing to be done. We're able to offer the best of ourselves to each other, and thereby build these walls with love. When, and if, the Lord blesses us with children I pray they enter a home of love and strong sense of family, not a struggle of chaos.
The song "American Dreams" by Casting Crowns played repeatedly in the background as I searched for the right words to write this entry. I found a few lines to be particularly moving. For instance, "things will get better;/ Better in time." I had worked at my job and career under the common advice of this time of marriage without children being prime time to work as much as possible. It wouldn't be pleasant, but in time things would get better. The problem with the exclusive "struggle now, reap later" idea is that the foundation of a marriage is formed in the "now." I can't reclaim that initial building of my marriage, but I could my career if need be. Furthermore, why wait until children to begin laying the building blocks of family? Is this not a structure needing to be in place before their arrival? I also resonated with the line, "I'll take a shack on the Rock/ over a castle in the sand." We're aware that our situation of apartment living and a slow tear at school loans may deem a necessity for two-incomes by many. Yet, we love our frugal "shack"-like life because we have each other so close. We can handle the hurdles life may bring with the Lord as our guide, and each other at our sides. Whether as a family of two or perhaps one day more, the truth is..."All they really wanted was you." We certainly are not in the running for the American Dream. In fact, we're called to another kind of race with Jesus setting the pace and showing us how to run. Choosing homemaking or full-time wife has been the best decision, and I have no regrets for doing so. It's a race I'll run with "arms high and heart abandoned" ("I'll Stand" by Hillsong). :)