26 May 2011


An oft repeated prayer of mine is for the Lord of all Life to turn my heart toward my children.
{Gasp!}  I know.  You might think that surprising but it doesn't come naturally to me.

Of course I love them.  Of course I desire their best....
But not always above the love I have for myself, or the best I want for me.

So I pray that when they interrupt my agenda, my heart will rejoice instead of complain.

A year ago I had planned to go on a Women's Retreat about two hours away.  Brian was busy that weekend so we had arranged for my mom and his mom to come into town and watch the kids together.  (I was a little worried that they'd forget about the kids as they love each other so much and don't get to see each other often, but this concern was not warranted..)

The kids made sure of that.  Well, it wasn't really their fault.

On Thursday Dawson got very sick to his stomach.  I wondered what I should do. Along with my own commitment, I'd invited a few friends to go with me.
Should I cancel?

My husband and mom and mother-in-law reassured me they could take care of him.
By Friday he seemed to be doing all right.
So I left with guilt, but I left.

I checked in Friday night and he was sick again.  Saturday afternoon, while doing the Boot Scoot Boogie, it hit me.  I rushed to my room for survival.  Between bouts I lunged into my friend's car and she drove me an hour down the freeway where my husband met her and took me the rest of the way home.  The other children were also green with sickness.

God preserved us and we limped through it.
But I look back and believe the best thing I could have done is put my children's needs above my own agenda.
Even though they had their needs met by others, I know that in my heart my choice was for myself.

Enter this spring.  I had committed to teach a six week Ladies' Bible Study with a friend, Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings.

One weekend Timmy was sick.  On Monday, Noelle came down with it.  I wrestled.  Brian would be home Monday night.  He said he would be willing to move a meeting around Tuesday morning so I could go.

But I prayed.  I remembered last year.
Quietly, gently, peacefully, the Lord ministered to my conflicting heart.  He answered my prayer for a heart for my children.  I called and told my very capable friend I wouldn't be able to be there that week.

And then the joy came.  I sat and loved Nelle as she suffered all day. I washed out her bowl. Even though Brian was around that night, it was a gift to just be there for her.  Me.  Her mommy.

It was a quiet week.  The only loud thing was the washing machine regularly pounding out it's rhythmic, "I'll get it clean, I'll get it clean."

It was quiet in my soul, too.  A time of peace to love those of first and utmost importance to me.  Those God has graciously and undeservedly entrusted to my care.

No regrets.  So in the little daily choices of loving them well, putting them first, I continue to pray and to ask God for that kind of heart.

I'm reading a book on motherhood right now that puts it this way:

...I've come to appreciate the importance of the many thousands of routine moments in a mother's life, for it is in these moments that real greatness tends to be caught and taught...it's the way I respond to my children in the everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.  If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant's heart, then I have a far better chance of influencing them in the large and more critical issues of life.

'Tis the example of Jesus, serving, setting aside His place in heaven to dwell with us and die for us, that spurs me on and gives me a continued passion and vision for selfless mothering.

excerpt from: The Mission of Motherhood, p. 63 by Sally Clarkson       photos: activities of the week