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!

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Motherhood is for Quitters

I’m so, so glad that wifehood and motherhood are for ever occupations. The Lord’s design is always so perfect.

Anybody that knows me well enough, knows that I’m pretty much a quitter.  Started teaching myself how to play the piano about 10 years ago, but progress was slow and it wasn’t clicking, so, I quit. Since being married I’ve “brainstormed” a number of ways to try to help bring in an income. Making and selling soap was such a passionate idea for me, but after getting all the supplies together and making a few batches, I got the blues about working with poison in a house full of children, so, I quit. Then I thought of selling crochet items on Etsy or Ebay, but in looking for inspiration on Pinterest and Etsy for what sells, everyone else’s things looked so much more pretty than anything I could ever dream up, so I pretty much quit on that idea, but tried selling a couple hats on Ebay and when they didn’t sell I quit for sure. I love to write, but could never earn an income that way, because my mental faculties are so weak that it takes me a long time just to formulate a nice little page (anyone that knows me can attest to my stammering ways, too!) so that idea died in its cradle, as well.

And to be perfectly honest with you, there have been times as a mother that I literally cried out in exhaustion, utter stress, and at-the-end-of-my-ropedness, “I QUIT!” But I know that I can’t, and that’s where the grace of God has come in to grow me where I haven’t let Him teach some of the same lessons in other areas. I’ve always quit before ever really trying, because the learning part and the slow improvements are so very ill-savoured to this rather impatient woman, and not being anywhere near as good as someone else in the same field just injured my pride.

He knew I needed to learn true submission, true service, so He made me a wife.  He knew I needed to learn patience, so He made me a mother. I can’t quit my vocation as a mother because I’m not as good as some other mother out there, but am forced to grow. And Oh! it is a painful process! It’s just so much slower than I’d like! I want to be perfect now! to be the meekest little thing now, without all this trial stuff.

There have been so many times I’ve just wept and wondered why it is that I changed so much after getting married and becoming a mother, how it is I could have turned from a relatively quiet young lady to the too-easily-frustrated woman I have too often been, but the answer is that all that ugly stuff has always been there but I was never tested enough to bring it out. But now that it’s out, now that the humbling has occurred, and I see how very, very destitute of virtue I am without Him, His grace and love come in to wash me out and snip out the bad parts. It is so hard, but it is so good. The Lord really is SO good. He always knows just what we need.

And just to clarify, I don’t want to quit my job. 😉

“She doeth him good”

Since we’re Endeavouring Proverbs 31 here, it makes sense to start in the beginning of the passage that so thoroughly outlines the virtues of this classic role model. This is the first thing listed that she does:

She doeth him good…”
It would be easy to write pages of applications to this simple directive, while at the same time it is so clear that no exposition is really necessary. She doeth him good. We all know what good is! It’s just so much easier to say than to do, but she doeth him good.

So this is the month’s goal: (I do realize we are only 2/3 through March, but I hate to put off a good thing till later just because it might be “neater” to do so. Besides, this month’s goal is multifaceted so we (or at least I!) can certainly use the extra 10 days.)

Write a list! All the areas lacking that the husband would be blessed by. All the areas where his wishes have already been made known but for whatever fleshly reasons they haven’t been faithfully executed. My list may differ greatly from yours, because every husband has different expectations and every wife has different areas she excels and delights in fulfilling and others she just doesn’t. It’s the ones she “just doesn’t” that are often neglected.

So here’s my list. I’m being transparent here, folks. You’re going to learn my many failings, and that’s humbling.

  • Make him breakfast every morning
  • Send him to work with lunch and a note of love and appreciation
  • Pray for him throughout the day
  • Homeschool the children as per his wishes
  • Make sure dinner is at least almost ready by the time he gets home
  • Clean more often! Dust the living room, clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, wash the windows, iron the clothes, and clean out the fridge (the fridge??) yes, the fridge, at least once a week
  • Before heading to bed make sure the whole house is clean

When I told Nathan of this month’s plan and how I would be including that last item on my list, he said “Oh, good! You mean the children’s room too?) SO, yes, the whole house means the whole house. 🙂

“She doeth him good, and not evil…”
Again, a very clear instruction. Evil sounds so terrible, of course we shouldn’t do him evil! It’s just awful though to think of the little areas I do just that. It is often easier to add to than to take from, because a habit is easier to make than to break.. One could very well fill out a whole list of things to start doing to bless her husband and succeed at every one, but it takes a special grace of God to stop doing the damaging things.

“…All the days of her life
All the days! The “good” days and the “bad” days. Even the “hormonal” days, she doeth him good. She doeth him good, even before marriage. She keeps herself for him alone. (For you dear women of God that have a “past” before your husband, I’m not saying you can’t be Proverbs 31 women, any more than any wife who has ever said “no” to her husband. It is a blessed, comforting truth that we are washed and made new by the cleansing blood of Christ. In that promise and victory then, let us press on!)

What are some tips you have for blessing your husband? for doing him good? Please share!

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.)