It was a ridiculously busy weekend around here. We had a wedding, a hockey tournament, church, a middle school volunteers’ meeting at church and a soccer team pool party. By the time last night rolled around, I felt like I hadn’t sat down for more than five minutes all weekend.
On our way out the door to the soccer party, my husband asked if I could sew a button on the shirt he was wearing. I suggested he wear a different shirt as it was time to leave. He suggested I sew it on in the car on the way to the party. I less than graciously agreed.
As I stomped my way down the steps to find a needle and thread, I didn’t really have an attitude of service. I was feeling put upon. I wanted to do anything except sew that button on his shirt on the way to the party. “Why can’t he just wear another shirt?” “How come I have to do everything?” were two thoughts running through my head.
But as I got in the car, needle, thread and scissors in hand, I was reminded that all summer long I’ve been trying to teach my kids about kindness. I’ve been trying to teach them to serve others. I’ve been hammering home the idea that it’s not always convenient to serve someone else. It’s not always enjoyable. It’s not always fun.
And I realized that in that small moment when my husband asked me to sew his button his shirt, I had failed in exactly what I was trying to teach them.
It takes a servant’s heart to be a mom. You’re constantly being asked to put other people’s needs above your own. You’re often left with the ickiest tasks — from changing diapers to cleaning the kitchen floor. It’s not easy, and sometimes we simply feel like we’re being dumped on. When we trip over someone else’s shoes left in the hall one too many times, it’s easy to feel as if we do everything around the house. Between driving kids places, making sure the schoolwork gets done and getting the laundry done, we often have little time for our own interests and pursuits.
That makes it easy to fall into the “Woe is me” trap. We do that because we view those activities as chores instead of acts of service. We don’t see ourselves as Jesus washing His disciples feet. We see ourselves more as indentured servants. That’s a trap I fall into far too often.
I realize that I fail in my attitude toward serving my family way more often than I succeed. I fail way too often to live up to the admonition in 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Serving my family with a joyful heart is an act of love for God. Too often my attitude is not one of a person acting as a “faithful steward of God’s grace” when I’m scrubbing the toilet or helping with homework, and I’ve proved I can’t change that attitude on my own.
As we head back to school this week and the calendar starts to look like someone threw up a rainbow of dry erase marker on it, I’m asking God to give me the heart of Jesus as I serve my family. I’m asking Him to remind me that serving my family is serving Him. I’m asking Him to give me a heart of joy as I do those daily tasks like making lunches and folding the laundry.
Serving our families is a high calling — even though the world often doesn’t recognize it as such. And our kids are watching and learning from us. If we treat serving the people in our own homes as a chore, then that’s what they will do, too. But if we treat serving the members of our family as a calling from God, then our kids just might learn that instead.