Devotion – For The Least of These…
We’re potty training. An on-going process in our household – unlike the ones you hear or read about when kids just “decided” to potty train and never have an accident. My 2 year old daughter Casey suddenly began wailing in the back room… I was cleaning up the kitchen (again) and heard it… her crying didn’t sound “injured”, just “upset”. After a few dozen seconds, I realized that the sound was only escalating, and would therefore require Motherly Intervention.
So when I went back to the back bedroom, and she was standing with pants and pull-up stripped off, pee all down her legs and puddling on the hardwood floor, wet toddler foot tracks all over the room, sobbing. She had gone in the master bedroom half bath – the one with the original heavy toilet seat, not her lightweight soft seat in the main bathroom – and she couldn’t get the heavy seat up and climb up on the tall commode in time.
My 3 year old Colton immediately got in the middle of things , as did the dog and cat. WHY oh why must everyone in the family join in when I’m trying to handle a situation? My son started requesting a graham cracker while the dog sniffed longingly at the puddle I was trying to mop up (gross!) and my daughter sat on the commode, too late of course, but still crying. I ended up flubbing it and roared at the dog to GET BACK! which scared my kids and sent the cat skidding to hide under the bed.
My epiphany came when I was down on my hands and knees, having started to scrub up the bathroom floor with Lysol wipes and discovering that the whole floor had a tacky hairspray buildup which was just gunky and rather gray from dust. So I’m scrubbing everything and grousing to myself and complaining mentally how it “just never ends” and suddenly heard that still, quiet voice in my head… the one that isn’t quite MINE, but isn’t audible, either.
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
Whoa. Whoa! Does this count? I mean sure, cleaning up after a little child who was making a legitimate effort to accomplish a goal, that would seem like “doing so for Him”. He gave me this child, after all, complete with her developing bladder control. But wiping up the floor? Scrubbing up dirt? Putting the dog out?
Proverbs 31 came to mind immediately. What were the jobs that this perfect gal did, that were so admirable that she got most of her own chapter in the Old Testament to forever be held up as a standard of Godly womanhood?
Verse 17 – She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Verse 27 – She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Verse 28 – Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
So not only are we to work hard (scrubbing that floor vigorously, I’m sad to say), we’re to do it in a way that our children will call us blessed, and our husbands also. Wow. So I guess roaring at the dog is out.
But just when I find that all those expectations might be too much, here comes Jesus with help.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
I think it’s fair that we can give ourselves a break. God doesn’t expect us to be Superwoman/Supermommy. He knows that these years with little ones place extra demands on us, not just on our time and energy but on our patience and hearts. That’s why He said that He gently leads those who have young. Our little ones are precious to Him and He carries them close to His heart. Likewise, WE are precious to Him and He is gentle with us, too. He’s not letting us off the hook, but He is giving us special consideration. Can we pray?
Lord, these early childhood mothering years sometimes feel just way too much. Thank You for Your promise to feed us like a shepherd, giving us everything we need for the journey. Thank You for gathering our lambs with Your arms, and carrying them against You, and for being gentle when You lead us as moms. We ask for Your strength and guidance, Your mighty arm for us to lean against when we get to the end of ourselves. And Lord we thank You for Your sense of humor, to meet us in the middle of our awkward humanness with Your love and grace. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.