Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Because I Probably Wouldn't Tell Jesus to Wait a Minute

Yesterday was one of those days.

Do you know the kind? Where all your best laid plans are swept aside for a million minor inconveniences that all add up to one major headache.

It was the kind of day where I think to myself, LORD! I trust in Your plan, but why in the world did You think it was a good idea to give me all these kids?! I am NON COMPOS MENTIS down here!

That kind of thinking always makes for a nice homey atmosphere.

Those kinds of days always turn me into a Mom Drone: Please put your cup in the sink. Don't hit your sister. Use a tissue. Flush the toilet. Please put your cup in the sink. Don't hit your sister . . . wait, FLUSH THE TOILET!!!!! Augggggh! . . .

And then you can see a big puff of smoke from my back as my circuits get overloaded and my control panel explodes.

Sometimes I really lose it and just start yelling. Okay, OFTEN I really lose it and just start yelling. And it is then that I start asking God to send me a balm for my nerves.

The form doesn't matter. In fact, I don't even have real words for this prayer -- I just think Help me! I need . . . something! over and over again.

And He helps me. Every single time. Sometimes it is in one of the kids, sometimes it is a perfectly timed phone call, and sometimes it is a word spoken into my heart.

Yesterday, during all my turmoil, I sat down to eat lunch and ended up reading an article at Faith and Family Live! that was my balm. Written by Marion Fernandez-Cueto, about Matthew 25, I was especially struck by this:

“I was hungry, and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink,” read the
lector, and I saw, not my usual image of a soup kitchen, but the breakfast I had
cooked that morning for our hungry clan, my toddler’s waving sippy cup, the baby
sweetly nursing.

“I was a stranger, and you welcomed me,” the reading
continued, and instead of the homeless shelter, I recalled my pregnancies, when
I’d struggled to embrace the arrival of a new and unknown little person.

“I was naked, and you clothed me” (God seemed to be whispering right in
my ear now) and I saw my children piling wet and giggling out of the bath,
snatching up clean pajamas from a stack of freshly folded laundry.

“I was sick and imprisoned”—my son, grumpy and bedridden with the flu—“and you came
to me”—all those trips upstairs with soup and stories and juice ...

I was about to roll my eyes (sippy cups and pj’s for Christ? Really?) but I found
they had filled instead.

“As surely as you did it to the least of these,
my brethren, you did it to me.”

Go and read the whole thing right here.

The article was a balm, but also convicting. When you are repeating the same tasks day after day, it is easy to feel bogged down in nothing short of drudgery. How many toilets can I be expected to cheerfully scrub, Lord? How many dinners can I cook for finicky toddlers (and older!) without becoming a little bitter?

But when I remember (or am reminded) to see my life for what it is -- a vocation of service -- everything I saw as drudgery becomes an act of love. An act of perpetual help.

Am I always going to happily go into the bathroom to scrub a(n UNFLUSHED! AUGH!) toilet with a smile on my face? Chances are slim.

Will I strive to remember that in serving my children, my husband , and my home, I am doing the least that I can do for Christ? You bet.


  1. Such a great post. I really need to see my service to my family as what it truly is...service to the Lord.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Now off to fold laundry...with a SMILE on my face!

  2. Yes, what a great reminder! We moms can offer up so many million sacrifices - changing a diaper, cooking lunch, cleaning the floor. But I don't nearly often enough do that, I usually grumble my way through. You can cut yourself a little slack though - with 4 kids in the house, and pregnancy hormones...you are allowed to get cranky once in a while :)

  3. Is it wrong to say that I am so glad that there is another mom out there who admits she gets mad and just yells?

    I don't want to yell...but sometimes they drive me to it!

    And what IS with the toilet? Especially the boys? I mean they are standing RIGHT there LOOKING at the "flusher" (I like to use the technical terms when I can). How hard is it to just reach out and press down?

    This is really a great post! I agree. Mothering can be thankless at times, but what a blessing to be raising little ones for the kingdom! Thanks for sharing. Now, go eat a little chocolate!

  4. Thanks for the great reminder! I yell too, I try to talk but if I am stressed (just home from work, repeating myself over and over) I end up yelling. Tonight I stopped myself from yelling. Got them both to pay attention and LISTEN. It worked. We ended up having a good night. I am trying to make more time to just play with them. It's always good when we can have fun. :)

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  7. My post went on 3 times...ooops

  8. Hi Aimee, I don't know how I ended up here, but I'm glad I did! Thank you for a thoughtful post and I've gotta say with many children and a pregnancy, you TOTALLY deserve a little slack AND a pat on the pack :)

    Your profile info cracked me up and then I stopped, startled... I grew up in the Lehigh Valley and I saw you are from there. My husband (we met in high school at Saucon Valley) and I have been living here in Vermont for the past 6 years, but all our family's still in the Bethlehem, Hellertown area.
    What a small world here in the blogpshere!

  9. Times like this, I remember (or try to) a wonderful Mother's Day homily I once heard along the lines of, "What do mothers do? They feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners (etc.). In the Catholic Church, we have a special name for those things. Those are Works of Mercy. Those are the things Christ wants us to do, and mothers do them every day."

    But, yeah -- it's hard to remember that in the moment.


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