Christi Lupher (Part 1)

Christi Lupher, software engineer turned full-time mom—It’s God who Does the Work, and It’s Complete!

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Engineering, Motherhood, Putting God First

Christi Lupher shares how realizing God is the do-er helped her overcome a sense of burden and frustration and see life being expressed. She also talks about understanding where children are mentally, solving problems by applying God’s laws, and working with teenagers.

What were some of the challenges or rewards surrounding the decision to stay home and be a full-time mom?
One of the biggest challenges was a constant sense of burden that came, and with it, constant stomach pains. I had had stress-related stomach pains at work before, but as I stayed home with the children, the problem ramped up over time. I looked around and asked myself what I was stressed out about. There were no deadlines, no projects that could fail. [You can read about how she was healed.]

As a parent, especially of toddlers, there is constant demand on you: Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! It sometimes settles, but it never stops. When you go to an office, even if you’re working long hours, you still get to leave work and go home, away from the demands. But when home is your work, you never get distance from it. Home no longer seems a respite; it’s a job. Oh, I need to vacuum that or take care of this—in addition to caring for the children.

The nature of the work is also different. As a software engineer, I worked really hard. There might have been bugs, but I fixed them; then the code did whatever it was supposed to do, and I went onto the next thing. Housework can be disheartening: it’s never done. As soon as you finish cleaning the carpet, someone walks across it. After you fix dinner, it’s gone. It’s emotionally demanding. Everything you do is constantly being undone, and this can be frustrating.

It came to a climax for me one Christmas. Christmas used to be at my grandmother’s, and now we were doing it. I wanted to please everyone, cook the turkey well, etc. I remember thinking of my grandmother, who never complained about the work she did, but who also never stopped working. She was up before dawn preparing, and then we ate. After, everyone was lounging, and my grandmother was still cleaning. The person who provides the Christmas dinner and all that goes with it doesn’t lounge. I was thinking that now that’s me, and it seemed unfair.

How did you work through your feelings of frustration and “unfair”?
Well, I was still in the middle of reading the Bible through from start to finish. The key idea that stood out to me was that God is the creator of the universe, and God does all the work. And strangely enough, the concept that helped most was the Sabbath. I looked at the Ten Commandments and thought: There are only ten of them! Why would “Take a Day Off!” come alongside “Don’t Steal!” and “Don’t Murder!”? The answer I got lay in why we’re supposed to take it off—because God’s creation is complete. He finished it and then rested on the seventh (a number representing perfection and completion) day. So to me, the point of resting on the Sabbath is to stop struggling, to be still, and to realize that we’re not doing the work, God is. Or, more accurately, God’s already done it—it’s complete. We’re just along for the ride, laughing and whooping on the roller coaster as we express that completeness.

I also thought of an image of a ghost town. The houses are supposed to be places of life, but they’re not. They’re empty and covered in dust … because no one has swept or dusted. That’s a sign of not life. All that housework that we do is the expression of life happening. It’s not about the cleaning or sweeping; it’s about life being expressed. It is living.

Heading into Christmas, this idea finally clicked. As I was doing laundry, I realized I’m not putting clothes into the machine—God is, in a way. I was able to let go of all the emotional baggage that I had been carrying around—I hadn’t planned to do housework and had “more important” things to do. I was able to embrace the fact that I am expressing life.

Did you apply anything from your programming world to your parenting world?
The key to engineering is problem solving. Any problem is not something to mourn over and say, “Oh dear!” You just look at the pieces and figure out what you need to do and how to solve it. It’s a way of looking at the world, and it’s very much about applying the laws of God. This is especially true with children. I had to know where my kids were mentally and spiritually so I knew how to teach them, what to do next to make progress, what they were thinking, and why they were doing things.

For instance, regarding TV, it makes no sense to me to let little kids watch something that’s scary because they can’t tell the difference between reality and illusion. They see a movie with a dragon, which is just as magnificent as a dog or a whale, just as possibly real, too, and they don’t have the weight of experience to tell them it’s not real. You telling them it’s not real isn’t going to help in the dark of the night when everything “real” disappears and the images in their mind spring to life. It mattered to me how prepared they were to take in images and how they differentiated between reality and imagination. It’s a thought process we all learn. So I was strict, and as they grew, I expanded what they were allowed to watch.

Years later, as our oldest approached her teens, I was baffled. But then it hit me—teenagers may have adult bodies, but inside they’re kids. Partly. Their budding maturity shines through, too. The key to parenting in those years was constant tracking of their mental state. Were they being a little kid again? Or were they stunning me with their level-headedness and self-control? I definitely felt I needed to devote a lot of time to them, especially because what teens need is for you to figure out when to step in and when to step out, when to decide and when to let them decide. The goal of parenthood is to make yourself obsolete so they don’t need you. But what you do for one child is not the same thing you do for the next. It’s a fun, engineering-like challenge.

Anything more that you’d like to share from your long study of the Bible?
I realized that the best and the first book to read to understand the Bible is the Bible! My study provided me a strong foundation, which I was able to share with Sunday school students, as well as use at home as a mom. At first, I was kind of scared to teach. I thought I was better working with my own kids because I knew where they were mentally. But so much new meaning would come out as a result of our class discussions that I started taking notes after class on new biblical insights. The more I researched, the richer the Bible became. There’s so much depth, and its there for each one of us to find and use.