Last week we had one of those days.
Oh, you know the kind: not only did the kids go to bed late and wake up early, but we woke to thunderstorms and an all around gloomy day. Imagination was low, tempers were short, and relationships strained.
Most of my “bright ideas” to try to save the day ended abruptly because
one sibling was bickering with another
one child was throwing a tantrum on the floor
Mommy just couldn’t take the mess on that day.
By 12:30 pm, it felt like we should be getting ready for bedtime rather than having 3/4 of our day left to go, so when we got the call from Daddy a little while later that he’d be home two hours early, this Mommy was ecstatic!
Two hours! And what a day to come home early! My heart kept beating: “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord, Thank you Lord!”
As I swept the floor and made up the still-unmade beds, I came up with my idea of the perfect evening.
It would of course include Daddy doing the work of getting the kids in bed (and maybe even cleaning up the dinner dishes!), a long, quiet shower, lounging on the couch with a good book, and maybe even wrapping up some projects I’ve desperately needed to work on but haven’t found the quiet time to fit in.
Smoothing the sheets and fluffing the pillows, however, was accompanied by a heart straightening, too.
Gently, the Father carried thoughts through my mind and heart about my husband. What kind of day did he have? What is he expecting this evening to look like? Does he feel the same way I do?
Boy, I’d sure like him to take care of me, but what if he needs me to take care of him?
By God’s grace (and by His grace alone!), I made up my mind to serve a little bit longer.
Serve a little bit longer.
I made a choice.
I didn’t feel like it. My emotions didn’t lead me there.
It took a decision — a decisive choice on my part to set my needs aside and look to meet his. Maybe it’s that sacrifice idea again.
Maybe it’s that thing about expectations.
Or maybe it’s just the simplicity of following in the footsteps of my Savior, who came to serve, not to be served.
“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
“In many ways,” writes Gary Thomas, “sacrifice defines love. It was one thing for Jesus to tell the world, “I love you.” It was another thing entirely when he demonstrated his love by dying on our behalf” (Gary Thomas, Sacred Parenting).
Jesus showed us that, and He’s called us to do the same.
So on those days when bitterness whispers that we’re the only ones doing all of the work or our own desires blind us to the needs of others, may the Holy Spirit remind us what love is and strengthen each one of us to serve a little bit longer.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Question for you:
In what areas do you find it the hardest to “lay down your life” (desires, time, energy, money, etc.) for your husband or family?