If there be first a Willing Mind

We’ve had sickness in our house this past week, which has made the usual routine kind of wonky, and definitely made changes for the better much harder to keep up. It’s so easy to fall desperately behind your ideal when your ideal is a grand one but hard to attain even with all other things being ideal! Make sense? That said, one thing is ever, ever important: a willing mind. What will follow from this is willing hands, and is next on our “list” to observe: “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” Proverbs 31:13

If you’re anything like me, being overwhelmed is a killer to motivation. It always seems like the opposite should be true, but it always tends to give me the blues and doldrums.

Just the other night we got back from a family reunion on my husband’s mother’s side, we did a bunch of errands afterward, and didn’t get home until almost 8. Nobody had eaten yet. We had just unloaded the van, adding it to our nice little mess that we already had in the house from leaving in a fairly rushed manner. Bithiah had overloaded her diaper. Abel had to be nursed. And, I was sick. And Nathan had to go back out. A look at the clock and a look at the house and the list that kept getting longer as I thought upon it mounted pretty quickly, but my husband, hearing of my depression (I’m pretty vocal about these kinds of things), before he left did a simple and powerful thing. He simplified it. “Just get them dinner and put the refrigerated things away and we’ll tackle it together when I get back. You can do this, my ‘endeavourer’.” You want to know how it really went? No? I’m boring you? Sorry!!! Anyway, just simplifying, making it sound doable, gave me a willing mind. Then I not only wanted to do, I wanted to do it all, before he got back. I love a good challenge. 🙂 I had 30 minutes. I got everything done except for making the sandwiches, which worked out fine since he had our eldest with him.

So if you’re “behind” where you want to be, here’s the challenge: Simplify! What are the absolute necessary things to get done, and what would you just like to get done? If you are at all competitive, as I am, one thing that helps is to “race”. Since I don’t have anyone to race I race myself against the clock. If it usually takes me 45 minutes to fold all 4 loads of laundry, I give myself 35. Since I often clean the kitchen in 30 minutes, I give myself 25, etc. Make it challenging enough to motivate you, but don’t make it impossible or it’ll just be depressing all over again!

A willing mind means willing hands! The verse in the Bible that talks about the willing mind is actually in reference to giving: “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (can’t remember where that’s found, probably II Corinthians 8 or 9) The principal applies very well to this same thing, though. Just work, work willingly, work joyfully. At the end of the day more than likely you won’t have a husband who is saying “Why isn’t [this] done or [that] done?” Your work will be accepted. When you give you aren’t rebuked for what you didn’t give if you couldn’t give it, and in the same way when you work you will not be rebuked for what you didn’t do if you couldn’t do it.

Our offering is always to the Lord first, and He will always accept it if it is offered with humility and love.

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Washing His Feet

Woman washing Jesus' feetMinistry is such a noble, beautiful thing. I love the account of that woman whose name is withheld, Peter’s mother-in-law, who after being healed by the Lord Jesus “arose and ministered unto them”. It was given her to minister unto Christ Himself! Then there’s the woman who washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with oil. Have you ever wished you could wash the feet of our precious Saviour? There is the account of Mary and Martha, one who listened and one who served; have you ever longed for the grace to do both?

Before marriage my family was involved in ministry, and it was an honour to try and reach people for the Lord or save babies from death, in His name. After marriage these things continued for a while, but when baby came after baby it became much more impractical for me to join in on any of these ventures.

I suppose because I had been thinking of “ministry” as doing those services it became easy to forget that being a wife and mother itself is a ministry. Oh, I’ve said it before, and it’s been said to me, but it’s easy to lose the delight of truly recognizing it for what it is in the day-to-day sameness. Ministry just isn’t always as exciting as seeing a person who has never really heard the truth, delivering the gospel to them, and seeing them mull it over; it isn’t always as exhilarating as being a vessel the Lord used to turn the hearts of a father and mother toward their child; it also doesn’t always break your heart and compel you to earnest prayer with weeping like it does when you see someone reject the gospel or choose death over life, and so it sometimes can be easy to stagnate, to lose sight that your ministry truly is a ministry, because it isn’t always “new” or “something different”.

Sometimes it’s working with the same people every day, nearly every moment of every day, loving, leading, and training. Sometimes it’s scratching your husband’s back when you “should have” given birth a week ago and could use a serious back rub yourself. Sometimes it’s washing his feet at the end of a long day when you haven’t had a chance to shower in 3. Sometimes it’s giving your child a glass of water when you’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down after being on your feet the last 5+ hours. But it’s ministry.  Not just service to your family, but serving the Lord.

Truly the homemaker has one of the most joyous and fulfilling vocations if only it is kept in perspective! which is indeed so very hard. To think that we as wives can in a sense wash the feet of Jesus, by our doing so to him who was chosen to represent him in the home, or as mothers by doing so to “the least of these”, is a very great honour.

And now, I must go, for I need to go minister to my son who just had another accident that he needs cleaning up from. 🙂

ETA: In no way am I trying to minimize the importance of evangelism and baby-saving! And having been involved in those I know that that ministry as well isn’t always “exciting”, “exhilarating”, or even “heart breaking”; there are many battles to fight spiritually and inwardly with those as well. My post may have been poorly worded in that regard!

Mothers, Wives, Handmaidens–the Beauty of Servanthood

When I was a little girl I always thought it would be so romantic to be a servant, to serve faithfully and joyfully even when your master is cruel and mean. Even more romantic was the story of a girl who lived as a servant but was truly of noble blood. (The Little Princess was my favourite story ever!) I thought it would be so beautiful (and easy, because it’s so romantic) to just do what you’re told even when you don’t feel like it, to do the yucky jobs, work hard with little rest, and receive no appreciation. I may have even prayed that I would be a servant someday.  If I did, that prayer was sure answered! But for some reason it’s not as romantic as I always thought it would be, or at least not as easy.

Every wife is a handmaid, a servant, and every mother is as well.  I always wanted a house full of babies and children, and now I’m getting a pretty good start at it, and LOVE it, but, it’s hard.  It is hard. I don’t even have a mean and cruel master (in fact I even like him. A lot!)Plus I get pretty good rest, and a lot of appreciation. But it’s still hard. It’s hard when you don’t belong to yourself, when you can’t even use the bathroom without your 3 yr. old sticking his foot in the toilet while you’re away, when you can’t leave for a moment while they eat lunch because it might mean water in the jelly jar. It’s hard to wake up every 2-3 hours to feed a baby that’s way too (adorably) chunky to possibly need it anyway. It’s hard to be the presiding referee over dozens of squabbles a day, to discern who’s the liar, to clean up after the many *kinds* of messes 4 young children can produce, and be doing laundry or making supper when you’d rather just have some “me” time. It’s hard.

And yet, it really is beautiful, too. Not in that idealistic way my young mind used to ponder, where the little maid was only so happy to be such a martyr, but in such a greater way. Because, in truth, we are serving not only our husbands, not only our children, but the King of kings Himself! and that is beautiful. We are His daughters, yes, with all the privileges that come with it, but we are His handmaidens, too, with all the duties that go along with that.

Being a gift to your husband, and being one of the greatest influences in a child’s life and using it to direct them to the Lord Jesus, is a beautiful vocation. Why, that’s even lovelier than a princess servant scrubbing dirty stone floors for an abusive mistress!

And now, I must go, for my youngest is awake, there’s laundry to do, and bathrooms to clean (especially the children’s! remember that thing about “yucky jobs”? Yes, that is…one of those.)