Metamorphosis of a Mom, with Janet Lynn SalomonThe Impact of the Mundane
Leslie Basham: Former figure skater Janet Lynn Salomon says that being a parent requires practice and training. It doesn’t require perfection.
Janet Lynn Salomon: No, we’re not always going to do everything right. And no there are no guarantees. But it’s like with skating. If I trained and practiced for a performance, there was a lot better chance that I was going to do well than if I didn’t do any of the training at all.
Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, February 6.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: "Seeing sweet contentment on a child’s face has more value than seeing a perfect 6.0 for a performance.” Do you know who said those words?
Leslie Basham: No, who?
Nancy: Well, it’s our guest this week on Revive Our Hearts. Her name is Janet Lynn Salomon. Many of you remember the sweetheart of skating from the early 70s, Janet Lynn, who was a world champion figure skater, recently inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
She’s here to talk with us this week not about figure skating, though that’s an important part of her story, but about how the Lord gave her a heart for home, for marriage, and for family.
Janet, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.
Janet Lynn Salomon: Thank you Nancy. It’s wonderful to be here.
Nancy: I want to say, by the way, last night as I was en route to Washington, D.C. where we’re recording today, I was reading a speech that you gave at a Mother’s Day luncheon. I have to tell you I’m not a real emotional person, but I was on that plane crying as I was reading what you have written about your journey into motherhood and family. It was so precious. I just found myself saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes! The women of America, Christian women, need to hear this. They need to hear this story.”
Now you knew something about high scores in the field of skating. But the Lord brought you to a point as you were in the middle of a lucrative career. You were winning championships. You were skating around the world. You were getting all kinds of applause and ovations. And the Lord brought you to the point at the time where you had a husband and three young sons of realizing that you had a choice, and that He wanted you to come back into your home to support your husband in his career direction and to be a full-time mom to those children.
Janet: He did, and it was a very difficult struggle at the time, as I have said. It was a metamorphosis for me. But it was a beautiful illustration of God makes all things beautiful in His time when we obey Him and do what He wants us to do. That statement that you read had to do with me learning. After I came home, God brought my heart home—after I was already home and learning that I had traded something that was temporary for something that was eternal.
Nancy: And the temporary something . . .
Janet: The temporary something was ovations after skating or getting a good mark or getting public recognition for what I was doing, which I was getting a lot of.
Nancy: More than you get when you come in the home. You don’t get that immediately in your home.
Janet: Well, you don’t probably get that very much at all in your home.
Nancy: Until your children rise up and call you blessed.
Janet: Except from faithful husbands who honor their wives and know what they do in their home. My husband has always said that what I am doing at home is so very important. And he has always, always supported me in that.
Nancy: He’s really encouraged and affirmed you as a wife and mom hasn’t he?
Janet: He has very much.
Nancy: I think it’s important (we do have some men listeners) for men to realize that they really can help their wives by letting them know that they believe that what they’re doing in the home is so vital.
Janet: It seems that sometimes we wonder, What is it that we do at home? And actually, when I first stopped skating. I had three small children, boys, and I had not been around them that much. When my husband went away I said, “What am I going to do with three boys without their dad here?” And he said, “Teach them everything you know.” So I did. We did all kinds of things, including I tried to teach them to needlepoint.
Nancy: Now I bet your sons just loved that!
Janet: Not particularly. I started realizing that there are little things in our home that make a huge impact on the hearts of children.
- spending extra time with my children
- getting to know who they were, what was on their hearts, what was on their minds
- getting to know what their talents and skills were
I have been home now for longer than I was a skater. This job at home can be a totally full-time job because there is so much to do. I can’t even always get it done when I’m home all the time. First to really address the needs of our husbands and children, and then if we have extra time going out and addressing the needs of others who have burdens that maybe are too heavy to carry at the time. It has been such a blessing to me.
But as I said before, it’s struggle. It’s a holy struggle because the esteem . . . We were talking about the esteem that I got in my career; it was so wonderful. It was so uplifting, and it made me feel so good. To be totally frank, mothers at home get no esteem from society anymore. I realized that after a number of years that it took me to realize what was this void that I was feeling. Well, it was that esteem. The person I had to go to for that esteem was first of all God, because I realized He loves me. He brought me home. It is His love for me where my esteem and my worth lie anyway. It is not in temporary things.
Then the second person who esteemed my work at home was my husband, for which I’ve always been very thankful. But that void of having an esteem for women in their home makes it even more of a struggle to be home because we do need to be esteemed. My purpose and hope is to recreate a vision for mothers who really are called to be at home to see that it is a sacred mission that we are on to build the lives of children.
Someone has said it is better to build children than to repair men. As we look around our society, we need to build children. Mothers and fathers are a very important part of that. They need to be there for their children, and God wants us to do that.
We’re not always going to do everything right, and no there are no guarantees. But it’s like with skating. If I trained and practiced for a performance, there was a lot better chance that I was going to do well than if I didn’t do any of the training at all.
Nancy: You’re talking about this great vision of motherhood and its eternal value and eternal rewards and it's a great, sacred mission. And yet, Janet, don’t you feel a lot of days . . . By the way, we haven’t told our listeners yet you had those three sons early on, but then you had two other sons.
Janet: God gave us encores—two more sons.
Nancy: So you still have two in the home, younger sons. I just admire you as a mother of five sons. But doesn’t it seem some days that what you’re doing is just so daily and so routine and so non-glamorous.
Janet: Mundane is the word I use.
Janet: Yes, it is very much so. When I had all five boys at home I would really sometimes struggle with, “Why am I cleaning the bathrooms? What purpose is in this cleaning and keeping a home?” It seems so mundane. There are two things I’d like to say.
One is that as a figure skater, the training that I did every day nobody saw, and that is what helped me to become successful. It was mundane. I discovered through wrestling with this issue of “Why? What purpose is there in cleaning a house or making good meals or whatever?” Well, there are wonderful purposes.
I started thinking. If I had gone to a hotel when I was traveling, would I choose the hotel that was not taken care of or the hotel that was nicely taken care of? And of course, you would choose the nicer hotel if you could. Would you choose a home that’s not taken care of over one that is taken care of? There is a purpose here for orderliness and for cleanliness and for just for the enjoyment of living a life that’s blessed by God; that’s a part of it.
And the other thing that I learned is that—and I would call them chores of keeping a home—I don’t have to be empty and mindless because during that time I started realizing that you can use that time to contemplate the issues facing your family, the issues of life. How do you discuss this with a child? How do you teach them? And the time for prayer during those jobs.
Sometimes I got my very best ideas while I was doing those so-called mundane tasks of the home. That is when the Spirit of God really starting speaking to me because you are still active. You’re doing something important. You’re doing something that’s serving your family. But it can also be a very spiritual time of speaking to the Lord and letting Him speak to you.
Nancy: Not to speak of the fact that you’re creating for your family a refuge from a world where you desperately need a refuge. And you’re training lives as you’re doing those little things.
Janet: Yes. I want my home to be a place of refuge for my family. You go out into the world and there are battles of life that are fought on a daily basis. There is good, and there is evil, and there are difficulties. I want my home to be a place of refuge and a place of training.
Like I said, I’m not the consummate homemaker, and I have not arrived at any of these things. But it’s the vision that I have and the vision that I want to share with other women that it’s a holy, sacred mission that we are on. The home is the very first part of building a healthy society.
I have this little poem here that I just love because it speaks about the importance of the little things that a mother does in her home. The poem says,
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the battle was lost.
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Those little things we do in our home to teach and to train.
Nancy: Janet, in one of your articles I read this line that I thought was so meaningful. It said, “Little obscure jobs done with love become the important things. Little things have great power to transform hearts and values.”
You’re really talking about having a kind of love as a wife and a mom that is willing to make the sacrifices to do the little things and to do them realizing that they’re smaller pieces of a bigger picture, a bigger puzzle, and that those little obscure jobs done with love are not unimportant. They are becoming the important things as you’re shaping and molding and training lives. Not just surviving but really building castles, building palaces, building homes, building hearts. Through the investment of a mother’s love, a wife’s love in those little things day after day, lives are being built and transformed.
Now I don’t know how you feel about the little things that are a part of your day as a wife, as a mom. But can I say that if you’re in the place where God has you and fulfilling His purpose for your life that there is no such thing as a little thing. Every act of obedience, every act of sacrifice, if done as an act of worship and an expression of love is important. You are planting seeds that are going to one day reap a beautiful harvest, a rich harvest. You’re going to see the fruit in days and years to come of the little investment that you’re making today.
So it may be cleaning the bathrooms. It may be baking cookies. It may be running chauffeur for endless hours. It may be cheering your children on in their after school soccer games. It may be supporting your husband and children in ways that seem so unimportant.
But can I say, one of the things we want to do here at Revive Our Hearts is to affirm you as a woman of God in making those choices to do the little things that are not for self-gratification. They’re not the things that get the great accolades and standing ovations. But they are the things that really are making a difference in the lives of your family members and ultimately in our society as a whole.
So I want to pray for you, especially if you are a wife and a mom. You’re in your home and you may be feeling isolated or feeling like what you’re doing isn’t real important. I just want to pray and thank the Lord for you and pray that the Lord would encourage you today.
Lord, thank You for moms and wives who are today serving You by serving their husbands and their children. I know many of them make enormous sacrifices to do that and are laying down their own ambitions. I think about how my own mom laid down her own career plans and a remarkable career that she might have had because she wanted to build a family, to build a home.
And Lord, I just thank You for the fruit in my life today that’s the result of the sacrifices she made. I pray for these women that are facing those choices today that they would find joy in the midst of the mundane and would realize that even those little things are so important in the building of hearts and homes to glorify You.
So Lord, give us an attitude of gratitude in whatever our calling as we do those little things. May they be done for You and for the sake of Your great kingdom. And Lord, encourage these women, particularly those who are in their homes today doing that tough work of shaping and molding lives. Would you encourage them and strengthen them and give them joy in the journey. I pray for Jesus’ sake, amen.
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been praying that all of us will be faithful in the mundane tasks of life. You can tackle those tasks as you worship the Lord. Nancy’s been talking with five time U.S. figure skating champion Janet Lynn Salomon who made a change in her career to focus on raising the next generation. Nancy, this week’s story is dramatic because of Janet’s place in the public eye. But when any woman in any walk of life chooses to obey God, He gets great glory.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That’s what it’s all about. We’re hearing a lot of stories like this—women who are developing a new-found hunger to obey God and to serve their families for His glory. For example, we heard from a Revive Our Hearts listener in Arizona who wrote and said,
I’m a young wife and mother of two small children. I absolutely love the encouragement that I get from Revive Our Hearts. I’ve recently stumbled across an older broadcast on the Proverbs 31 woman, and I’m amazed. My heart’s desire is to be this woman for my husband and my children but only by God’s grace.
And you know, it’s by God’s grace that this listener heard those messages in the first place. Those messages are available on ReviveOurHearts.com thanks to listeners that support Revive Our Hearts financially. When you donate to this ministry, you’re investing in the lives of women like this young mom who will hear and read about God’s truth in ways that powerfully transform lives.
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