It’s hard to be a mama, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably not any more difficult now than in generations past. It’s probably easier with all this technology stuff I have to distract them with, but then again, it’s probably more difficult with all this technology stuff I have to distract myself with! Plus, when you have all of society screaming at you about “me time” and telling you “you deserve it” it’s hard to turn that off and shut it out.
Last weekend, E had a stomach bug. Within 12 hours I had been thrown up on, pooped on, peed on, bled on, sneezed on, and coughed on by every one of my children. All I wanted to do was shower! However, that opportunity came and went. Children had to be comforted, meals had to be cooked, and a baby had to be fed, and at the end of the day, well, I fell asleep. And by Sunday, when I still wasn’t able to bathe, I was upset. All I wanted was a shower! How come I couldn’t get even that?! I deserve it! Don’t I?
Then I heard Him.
God gently reminded me that I didn’t deserve it. I don’t deserve anything but death for my sins and selfishness. And, boy, was I being selfish. Instead of joyfully serving my family, I was beginning to do it out of spite and without that love that is so necessary in my heart.
So I had to repent. Again. And God forgave me, again. (So did my super awesome children, by the way.) And, as I turn my focus to Him once more, He gracefully shows me the way.
When Jesus was alive, people didn’t wear the kind of shoes that we know today. They either went bare footed or they had a crude piece of cloth (or wood if you were lucky) strapped to their feet. It didn’t protect them from anything, except maybe making a rock filled road not quite as sharp. Think about all the places you walk throughout a day: maybe a store, or out in the yard, through your home and workplace. People then walked everywhere, the ground was dirt, and most people didn’t have the money to ride on a horse or donkey. They walked to market places, walked through mud to get their water, through the fields picking crops, out to the stables to feed animals, you can picture all of the things their feet were covered in!
The gospel of John, chapter 13, verses 1-20 tells about Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. This was usually done by a servant of the house. (I can’t imagine that servant being very excited or joyous to wash the muck from everyone’s feet!) However, this time Jesus did it. Willingly, joyfully, and humbly. He then explained to His disciples that what He did, we are to do for others. At least the muck I was wiping off of myself and my children that day was genetically mine! It wasn’t mud or animal poop or dead bugs or who knows what else.
I forget, even in the midst of things, what it takes to be a mama. Maybe it’s due to the lost sleep. Regardless of why, I still forget. I mess up. But, after being forgiven, I get to start over. Life is messy, especially with 3 little boys. My patience, selflessness, and humility are constantly tested. Sometimes I pass, but most of the time I don’t, especially in comparison to my King. And as much as I mess up and need forgiveness, my children need it more.
And THAT is the hard part.
They are the ones still learning. They mess up because they lack experience, instruction, and knowledge. I mess up because I’m human. I have no other excuse except my depravity and sinful nature; my point being that I’ve learned right from wrong. I know what my expectations are, both from myself and from the others around me. They do not, at least not all of the time.
I must serve others like Jesus, and that includes my children. Actually, that specifically means my children. That specifically means joyful, willful, and humble service to my children by patiently and cheerfully training and instructing them in the way to go. By doing this, the bible tells me that they will not depart from this instruction when they are older. It is my responsibility to teach them. And it is my responsibility to show them the mercy that the Lord willingly doles out every time I ask for it. And every time I don’t.
I must show them that same mercy all the time. Every day. Not just when I’m clean.