I "have to" - and I am GRATEFUL!

Spending time studying the Vigorous Woman in Proverbs 31 filled my mind with dozens of thoughts, questions, and ponderings.
First and foremost, I had to ask myself, "Am I a vigorous woman?!?"
Then followed considerations such as, "Do I work hard to care for and meet the needs of my family?"
"Do I fill my time with good things, purposeful things, things that bless my husband and my children?"
"Am I busy serving my family and others or am I idle?" (idleness is not the same as rest)
"Do I have a vision for the future and plan accordingly?"
"Does my work glorify God and bless others?"

These questions have been rolling over and over in my mind, and last night I was not able to go to sleep because of the rolling. I kept thinking of all the things I need to do/have to do to run our home, serve Dennis, and train our children. I started with the first moment I open my eyes in the morning, moved through the details of a typical day, and recorded the plethora of items that flooded my mind.
When I looked back over the list after the last wave finally washed over my mind, I smiled.
I smiled because the Lord opened my eyes wide to show me that while there are many things I
"have to do," they are not burdens. They are BLESSINGS!

I have to ... 
Wake up early because ... I have a family who needs me to serve them and prepare them for the day
Wash dishes because ... my family has food to eat
Do multiple loads of laundry because ... my family has clothes to wear and keep them warm
Clean bathrooms because ... my family has clean water with which to brush teeth and bathe
Sweep and mop floors because ... my family has feet to walk and play
Grocery shop because ... the Lord provides money to buy food for our family
Go shoe and clothes shopping because ... the Lord provides money to cover my family
Prepare lesson plans because ... we have the freedom to homeschool
Teach my children because ... I have children who are able/willing to learn
Make meals because ... my family is healthy and able to eat
Drive teenagers to work because ... they have jobs and are learning hard work and responsibility
Drive teens/children to sports practice because ... they are healthy and able to move
Get everyone ready for church because ... we have freedom of religion and a church family
Exercise because ... I am alive and healthy enough to move
Pay our bills because ... the Lord provides a job for Dennis to support our family
Buy hay and rabbit food because ... we have a pet to love and enjoy
Fill up the gas tank and maintain the van because ... we have a vehicle to drive that holds our family
Pay for health insurance because ... our family is taken care of when sick or injured
Say goodbye to Dennis every day because ... he has a job that provides for our family
Wash and change sheets because ... we have beds to sleep in
Trim bushes and pull weeds because ... we are surrounded by the beauty of God's foliage
Organize bookshelves and closets because ... our children have books to read and games to play
Restart Wifi multiple times because ... I can communicate with people around the world
Plan for birthdays and holidays because ... there are always reasons to celebrate
Go through trials because ... they force me to fall deeper into the outstretched arms of God
Die to self because ... Dennis and my children need me to love God, and them, more than I love myself
Pray and read the Word because ... I am dependent on God for all things

I am committing myself to eliminate the phrase "I have to" from my vocabulary and replace it with the phrase, "I GET to!" because serving my family, and working hard to bless them is a PRIVILEGE, not a chore. Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes to this beautiful truth!

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17 

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:17 

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. Proverbs 31:19

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17