Unless the Lord builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
to retire late,
to eat the bread of painful labors;
for He gives to His beloved even in their sleep.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
so are the children of one's youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
they will not be ashamed
when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
I'm sitting on the couch enjoying some quiet work time (thanks to my hubs taking the kids out on errands). I was feeling overwhelmed with all the work that is coming up; it seems insurmountable. To plan out the fall semester for 3 different social studies classes (with no set curriculum to work from, I might add), 8th grade language arts (also no set curriculum for this), one or two elective courses, and running 8th grade projects so that I can hand it all off to a sub when baby #3 decides to show up...umm, yeah, that's quite a bit of work. Add to that being the mom of two little ones already, and a wife to a man who is about to start a new and demanding job of his own, and you've got a recipe for some stress. I was starting to feel it, and I got up to take out the trash for a short walk and change of scenery. As I walked out, I thought, "Well, I will just have to do a good job of planning things and I'll have to be really organized," (which is really NOT my strong suit, I'm afraid to say), "and it will all work out." Then God brought to mind this verse: "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." I was struck with how much that applies to every area of my life.
Unless the Lord plans the curriculum...
Unless the Lord superintends the finding of a preschool...
Unless the Lord organizes daily priorities...
you get the idea. I can try to do it all myself, and I may even "succeed" on some front or some level, but unless the Lord is the one superintending it all and unless it is all done to glorify Him, it is all work done in vain.
I went back inside and looked up the rest of the verse, and was shocked to see that the second half of the psalm was the one about being blessed to have children. I had, of course, heard that many times, but I had forgotten that these two scriptures were connected. Not coincidence, I'll wager, that Solomon put those thoughts together. And as with all Scripture being "God-breathed", it is spookily relevant to my life today. I can burn the candle at both ends, but to what avail? God gives sleep and rest to his loved ones and he gives us the grace to deal with the work of the day.
I talked on the phone with my mother-in-law today and she was also stressing the importance of praying and seeking help instead of burning myself out. She went through a lot of burn-out herself when she was a young mom and hopes that I can avoid some of the grief she went through. As my friend Kelly would say, it's a "God shot" that I found this part of Scripture today to help me keep perspective. May it be my watchword, O Lord.