I've been working hard to get a concept through to my children: It's about the heart and the motive. For instance, if you want to kiss your little brother (or your big brother!) and they don't want to be kissed - what is a kiss? It's an expression of love. Is it loving to hold them down and yell "I'm just trying to kiss you!" Nope!
If you want to hold the door for a lady and she wants to do it herself - what is holding the door? Being a gentleman, showing kindness. Is it kind to stand there with your back against the door and refuse to let her open it herself? Uh, no!
The most recent conversation came after one didn't say "thank you" to the other for getting them something. I asked the offended child "Did you do it for the 'thank you'?" The reply was "no". I went on to explain that when you serve someone you should do it because you love them and want to show God's love to them. If you're doing it for the 'thank you', you're doing it for the wrong reason.
Fast forward to Wednesday night. I was sick, my ears hurt, I got about 4 hours of sleep before the pitter patter of little feet and hungry call of a newborn greeted me. I fixed breakfast, woke the older kids, nursed the baby and directed chores. I resisted the urge to crawl back in bed. I fixed lunch, washed dishes, washed laundry, vacuumed the living room, broke up a fight, took a medical collections call and took the toddler to Sonic. I worked up the courage to check on my sleeping baby, since it had been over 2 hours. Dad came home early (and unexpectedly) because the weather was bad (and he had a migraine). He entered to delighted squeals of "Daddy's home!", went to the bedroom, changed clothes and came to the dining room to find me working on a custom jewelry order.
He looked into the kitchen and said "Is the kitchen table here to block someone or did someone sweep?" Huh? That's what you noticed? The table out of place, not the clean floor? Not the piles of folded laundry? Not the clean counters? Not the clean floor in the living room? Not your wife subsidizing the family income, while she's sick?
I forgot my own lesson. I picked a fight on the way to church, lamenting my day and how he didn't notice anything that we had done! His response? "I didn't feel good either, but I still had to go to work too." My thought? "But you get PAID!" I didn't say anymore, we had arrived for our small group, where we discussed the importance of the Holy Spirit, being filled to overflowing so that we could share the gospel and serve others.
I felt a little teaching, but still was discontent. I was moved even more the next day when I read the following:
'If you're not happy with who you are then chances are you want to be like someone else. The problem is God created you to be you.' - Mark Brownand then:
I don't know the key to success --- but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. Bill Cosbyand then:
Want to blow the cloud cover off your gray day? Accept God’s direction. -Max Lucadoand finally:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9 NIVI need to accept that it is God's will and plan for me to be right where I am, right now. Snotty noses, puke fountains, sibling rivalry, pre-teen angst, rolling eyeballs, dirty diapers, mountains of laundry, dirty dishes... this IS my natural habitat for this season. I can't believe that after all this time I still need to be taught (again and again and again) that IT'S THE HEART! It's the how and why of what I do, whether anyone ever notices or not. Even when I feel invisible.