Last week church was awesome, mostly because the new bassist is super handsome (ok...and married to me). But besides all that eye and ear candy (is it getting weird yet? kinda?) the message- given by a guy not married to me- was incredibly inspiring. Ryan Wilkins, a musician and our worship director, and shared a message Three Values of Worship. He had a beautiful perspective on the way we were made to know and love our creator...But as he spoke, I was struck by how clearly these ideas also fit the task of motherhood. God has designed us for a big, pure, intentional love with Him, but He's also blessed us with earthly relationships with some tiny messy humans, and has called us to love them- boldly, humbly and with great intention.
As I listened and reflected, I was inspired (and convicted) with what it might look like to truly love my kids with the values Ryan described...
In John 12:1-8, Mary washed Jesus' feet, which is a lesson unto itself on giving, (I know, I know, you've heard this before...) but did you know that the perfume she used was worth a year's wages? I cringe when my toddler gets her grubby cookie hands on my nice work shirt. How much more would it take to give to the point of extravagance? I have that type of love for them in my heart, but do my actions always line up with my feelings? Am I regularly pouring out love- extravagant love- onto my children?
This season with two toddling littles, requires a certain set of tasks from me: patience when one insists on putting her shoes on "all by myself!!" (especially when I'm already running 10 minutes late); grace when the other one drops her sippy cup of milk for the 8th time in a row (when at least times 5 and 7 were on purpose), and comfort when they (both) wail in the middle of the night and I'm not sure I can pry myself off my mattress. Sure, these tasks are ordinary, but the sheer number of times they must be repeated, combined with the enthusiasm I'm supposed to muster up every, single, time, THAT transforms even my mundane everyday endeavors into extravagant love territory. And when I think about the future, the possibility of my daughters describing me as someone who loved them with abandon, is a awesome and worthy goal.
It's not easy to love this way, but it should be my privilege to love this way; wholly and completely, giving whatever I have, regardless of cost.
We all know the verse about becoming like a child in order to enter the Kindom of Heaven...So much so, that it can seem trite. But the concept of humility is something I need to hear about again. And again. And again. Because apparently it takes me seven (or seventy times seven) times to learn the value of setting myself aside, in order to look at the world with wonder, and openness. Kids have a way of making you humble (a lot of ways, actually, including but not limited to: public wailing/gnashing of teeth, constant body fluid leaking/sharing/smearing/announcing, and general doing all the things you swore your children would never do). I never had it all together (it, meaning my life), but before I had kids I could at least fake it pretty well. But parenthood has stripped me of that ability.
Hanging out in the wild, messy, confusing, but awe-filled world of children has showed me my limits, illuminated my weaknesses, and taught me that I don't have it all figured out. And that's a rough, but beautiful thing.
Being totally present
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” - Luke 10:38-42
Jesus doesn't want to hear about all the things I have going on. (Though He would listen...He always listens), the same way my kids don't care about the thousands of things that preoccupy me when they're trying to get my attention. God- and my children- they're not concerned with all the stuff around me, they just want me. And a chance to have real communication, real connection and a real relationship.
So I am not called to do all the things, or be all the things. (or pin all the pins, or tweet all the tweets). I am called to be present. In the car with my kids. During bathtime. For bedtime. At the feet of Jesus.
What's your take- do you feel a connection between the call to worship and the call of motherhood? What is parenthood teaching you about extravagant, humble, and intentional love?
I'd love the chance to connect with you through my blog, or on all the things: instagram | twitter | facebook. (but if I don't answer promptly, please assume it's because I'm off loving my kids with my entire being. Well...likely I'm napping, but otherwise, it's totally the loving them thing.)