Great Expectations

by Bailey on February 1, 2011 in Faithfulness, Purpose, Uncategorized

I’ve always had this monomaniacal, git ’er done attitude. It comes with being stubborn. True, I never was the most faithful to some of my projects (think unfinished scrapbooks, abandoned novels and—oh, is that load of whites still in the dryer?)—but if I really wanted something, if I really set my heart on it, it would happen.

My mama said I could do anything I wanted to do. And she didn’t mean it as a universal maxim.

Now that my grit and determination has been established, I should be able to launch into a compelling story of a career-driven girl turned homemaker-in-training. But I was won to homemaking at eleven and had no real aspirations beyond the vague goal of being a veterinarian (what girl doesn’t?). To my credit, I did have these big plans of starting a pet store in my bedroom, complete with all sorts of rodents and lagomorphs. I mentioned I was monomanical in my passions. It’s true. I could explain in detail the various illnesses of pet rats, tick off all the dog breeds recognized by the AKC and argue whether or not you’re fit to own a horse. There was a little bit of priority shift from that to homemaking, to say the least.

When I first learned about the idea of daughters training to become full-time mommies and keepers at home, I fell in love with this gigantic, world-impacting, multi-generational vision. I wanted to do something big. This seemed pretty big to me—training the next generation of world-changers, marrying and supporting the next C. S. Lewis, Martin Luther or Ronald Reagan, turning the home into a hub of ministry.

I was hooked.

Being eleven, I still had a pretty wait yet before actually marrying or raising children; I still was trying to figure out long division. (That was ugly.) I latched onto the idea of stay-at-home daughters—namely, supporting my daddy’s vision. Doing something big for him. Something—I don’t know what. But it would be big. Huge.

I asked him—several times, because apparently he didn’t quite share the scope of vision I did—“Daddy, what do you want me to be doing with my time? How can I help you?”

He always answered, “Help your mom out.”

I would make a box of macaroni and cheese that day and wonder why, when he had this passionate, intelligent, on-her-toes-ready daughter, he kept telling me to just help my mom out. Where were the ministry plans? Where was the book deal? Where was the speaking tour schedule?

I could do all that. Not only could I do it, I wanted to do it. I was totally surrendered.

Surrendered, that is, unless it meant learning to do things I wasn’t naturally good it. Boring things. Things like doing the after-dinner dishes on soup day (i.e. an hour of spoons, half-filled bowls and unending torture). Things like keeping on top of my chores so that my mama didn’t have to remind me. Things like getting off my beloved laptop to start up supper.

I hate “duh” moments, but they happen to me all the time. I realized that I was trying to do everything but what God wanted me doing. Here I was pining for the “big things” while ignoring this ministry literally crawling all over my lap (baby sisters, you know). What is ministry but the glorification of God in the context in which He has placed me? Just because the day by day chores and mundane routines didn’t earn accolades and Pulitzer Prizes didn’t mean that it took less passion and vision to faithfully continue in them. In other words, it’s not the “work” itself that defines how much my labor is worth. It’s the Employer.

That’s the life I live right now—nothing big. Nothing huge. But it’s where God wants me to be. It’s where I’m growing the most. It’s where I’m being challenged and stretched and molded into a vision-oriented young woman whose passion isn’t dampened by toddler tantrums and scrubbing toilets.

You know what? I love it. Off on a speaking tour—authoring the next bestseller—doing something “really big”—I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have now to love, learn and live. For me, the passion doesn’t come from the revolutionary aspects of reading poorly rhymed picture books to my baby brother. The passion comes from the fact that I believe God has placed me in my big, noisy family for a reason—His glory.

What I make of that—that’s pretty huge.

By Bailey, Big House in the Little Woods


Bailey is a seventeen-year-old homeschooler in love with anything literary or theological. The second oldest of nine children, she finds joy in romping with her younger siblings, scribbling in her ever-expanding notebook and trying her hand at the home arts.

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Kendal February 1, 2011

Beautiful!!!!!! You spoke to my heart and and this IS my heart!

I Live in an Antbed February 1, 2011

Wonderful perspective. I love how Bill Gothard says, “When we focus on our responsibilities, it produces revival.”

Jackie Wilber February 1, 2011

Thank you so much for that encouraging message. I have lived that life for years..and have had the joy of soup bowls, caring for sick children/parents, and jumbles of spices in the cupboard. I am raising boys to take on the responsibility of provider/father in the family. Both have said they want a wife that stays home with their children like I did. Their grades are important, goals for college come up daily, and service to God is important. They are watching their father’s every move..but alas they are watching me to see what a mother can be. I had no idea the silly moments making snow tractors, playing trains on the floor, or reading the children’s Bibles over and over..would have such a big impact. Our role in society is HUGE…it’s to rebuild the family from the ground up to honor God. We are also laying paths for future groups of Christians to draw close in a family matter what the storm. Those goals are very very huge..and will mean everything to future generations. Thank you so much! As always I love your sense of humor!

Carmen at Old House Kitchen February 1, 2011

Great post, Bailey! I’ll be having my oldest daughter read this. She’s 12 and after a trip to the bakery outlet yesterday she declared that she was going to own a bread shop when she grew up. I reminded her that she could make much better bread at home and if she was working at a bread shop how would she be home blessing her family. She giggled and said “oh yeah”. LOL! I guess we all need a reminder from time to time.

Renee February 1, 2011

Great post, thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

Kasey February 1, 2011

Yes, the craziness, the monotony, the struggles of life are our ministry. It’s where we serve on a day to day basis that impacts eternity.

Beverley Bravery February 1, 2011

Amen!! I feel the same way too. When I used to work outside of the home I was once asked where did I see myself in 5 years, my answer was – at home looking after my children (which I didn’t have then!), needless to say I never got a promotion…! But I am the happiest in my house with my children – we have bad days but most of the time I feel honoured to be able to do this.

Johanna February 1, 2011

Thanks! This was a perfectly timed reminder for me to be passionate about my homemaking!

Allison February 1, 2011

Jasmine Bauchem deserves to have it said that she writes “with verve and transparency.” I think you do too!

Bethany Grace February 1, 2011

(insert the phrase: Daddy knows best. 😉

Yes, hard to believe our messy home is our ministry, is it not? (I’d almost back out, about those soup night dishes. 😉

Beautifully written Bailey. 😉

Cassidy February 1, 2011

Thank you for this encouraging post! It really blessed me! I love how you say the value isn’t decided by the work done but by the Employer. I know He is well pleased that our hearts are turned toward Him and homemaking and raising our children in Him. This post really blessed me! Blessings, Cass

Rachel February 1, 2011

YES! I feel the same way- started out “career minded” and now have the best little job ever. I love it!

Rhonda Devine February 1, 2011

Very well said, Bailey–continue doing the right thing and ministry finds you!

Liz February 1, 2011

Love it! This speaks right to me. Not to long ago I was working 9-6 and sending my children to public school, for someone else to “teach” them. I am so glad that I quit and started homeschool, but sometimes it’s tough. I needed this 🙂 Thanks

Kathi Bailey February 2, 2011

Great, great post Bailey. I have an (almost) 14 yr old daughter who struggles with these things right now. She wants to do something ‘big’ but she *knows* that the most important thing she can do is love God and serve our family. But it’s still very hard for her.

I’ll be printing this out for her to read. Thank you!

Donna @ Comin' Home February 3, 2011

That’s beautiful..have you been peeking into my life? I love being a homemaker but also wanted to be a poet, inventor, musician… I do all of those things and so does my only daughter. (We have four boys.) I have had to help defend my daughter’s dream to be the best wife and mother she can be while serving the Lord to all of our homeschool friends. She went to junior college–is an articulate speaker, amazing seamstress (designs her own clothes), and was a phenomenal debater. Her dream? Well, it just didn’t include college. In our circle, we are ‘wasting’ her gifts and talents. She’s 20 now and we make a lovely home together while seeking the Lord. I only wish I could have had the growing up years she’s had. But still even our home school friends are buried in the world’s perspective…women need a career–a degree–etc. Homemaking always takes a back seat. It’s a ‘high place’ as Bill Gothard described so well.

We would have let her pursue a college degree if she had wanted it. But she loves all the arts of home and she loves pleasing her father..and helping me. I didn’t push it…I just lived it…and amazingly…she caught it..the vision of what a talented, diligent woman who loves the Lord can do to make a real difference in the world…be a truly happy homemaker. I’m still amazed at God’s grace working in our lives every day. :o)

Thanks for sharing this perspective..It’s wonderful and true!

Donna @ Comin’ Home

Alexxus K. H. March 26, 2011

Another great post, by a great gal. Way to go Bailey. You, right now, are my favorite writer. 🙂

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