Wednesday, September 13, 2006

For My Sister Friends

I've been asking myself a question lately, as most mama's are wont to do. It's a tough question, but I think there's an answer, if we can look past who we are. Many times it's the reverse problem - we can't see who we are because we are identified by what we do. But that is not the case for me. I know who I am. I just want to know, at the end of a day so long and non-stop that I can't remember most of it...
...what do I do?
I speak the words of truth – "I am a wife; a mama; a daughter of the King".
But what do I do?
I am easily anxious; pretty well organized; frequently impatient.
But what do I do?
Indeed.

I minister to the weary.
These days, my husband is visiting his congregation, writing his sermons and two classes for the week, preparing a memorial service for our dear Vivian, holding devos for teens from three separate churches, working through a graduate course online, handling finances that are quite complicated thanks to the WONDERFUL blessings of our supporters (I’m not complaining!), and trying to squeeze in time with his children. Tonight, he lies down on the floor next to Eliana, who is contentedly chewing on her doll. She turns with a sweet smile and crawls onto his belly. “Hi, pretty girl!” he says in a tired voice. His sighs follow me from room to room – he is worn.
What do I do?
It’s a smile, a kiss, a hand on his shoulder. It’s my hair down in the way he loves, food on the table, happy children clamoring for his attention. It’s an orderly house, a bowl of his favorite ice cream, and the comfort of a willing wife. It’s what he needs, it’s what the Lord asks, and it’s what I will do.

I comfort the broken-hearted.
A favorite stuffed animal is looking matted, dirty, and even smells a little. Brothers have hurt each other with their actions. The baby has hit her head in her new and clumsy attempts to crawl. The hurts and sorrows can seem never ending, but as a Mama, I must come equipped with the spirit of comforting. We may run out of band-aids, but hugs are endless.
What do I do?
It’s a soft, surface scrubbing for a cherished toy that should have been thrown away months ago, but instead finds new life and seam-popping hugs in its' little owners' arms. It’s gathering the boys together to look each other in the eye and remember they are brothers. It’s crawling to my daughter and scooping her up and praying that the Lord will sustain her through the bumps and bruises that are, most often, all that life has to offer; while begging Him to draw her closer to what He has to offer. It’s what they need, it’s what the Lord asks, and it’s what I will do.

I watch over my household.
The list is long, the time is short. Aside from managing our money frugally, making sure everyone is well-fed, healthy, and clothed adequately, what needs to be done? In my home, that translates to, “What will be a comfort and a peace to my husband and children?”
So. Orderliness. My husband appreciates and desires a tidy home, which he helps with when he can, but I strive to put those things to rights before he gets home from work so that his home will be a refuge to him.
What do I do?
A well-organized desk; a clutter free bathroom; a tidy kitchen. Laundry caught up so he can find socks to wear to work. And the freedom he will feel when those things are done and there is still a smile on my face, not a tired, “poor me” look that is designed solely to make him feel guilty.
My children, while they are not particularly concerned with a well-ordered home, certainly feel more at peace when they are sitting at a cleared table to do their schoolwork, or working on a cleaned counter while they are making their lunches. But for them, I must remind myself constantly that they need me more than they need a clean home.
So, to watch over the children in my household, what do I do?
Laugh. Hug. Feed. Tend to wounds. Teach. Train. Read. Sing. Exclaim. Praise. Kiss. (And I don’t mean only kissing faces, or “owies”. I’ve kissed many a stuffed animal’s bruise, or a G.I. Joe’s leg that has fallen off, or a baby doll that has been stepped on.)
Love. It’s what they need. It’s what He asks. And it’s what I will do.

Oh, sisters - I wake every morning with a fresh desire to fill my day with laughter, patience and love. Yet I end nearly every day with the hope that maybe I will be able to do those things on the morrow. And what do I do? To what end?
Listen –

“What is a human being, what purpose does he serve? What is good and what is bad for him?
The length of his life: a hundred years at most.
Like a drop of water from the sea, or a grain of sand, such are these few years compared with eternity.
This is why the Lord is patient with them and pours out his mercy on them.
He sees and recognizes how wretched their end is, and so he makes his forgiveness the greater.
Human compassion extends to neighbors, but the Lord’s compassion extends to everyone; rebuking, correcting and teaching, bringing them back as a shepherd brings his flock.
He has compassion on those who accept correction, and who fervently search for his judgements.” Ecclesiastes 18:8

How patient, how great, how fervent is the love of our Father! How miraculously wonderful that I am His. How infinitely marvelous that He sees fit to show me compassion; that He works wonders in spite of my best efforts.

So what do I do?

Well, thankfully, I don’t.

He does.

4 fellow travelers shared:

Lyn said...

Where have I been? How I have missed your blog before? This post was moving to me. Moving becuase I could have written it, though not as well. Moving because we are sisters, the mothers and wives of the world. Moving because it is what I am, a mama!

Thank you for putting it into words.

Andrea said...

Great and thoughtful words. HE is the one who does it. Always a good reminder.

Stacy said...

Elise, what a beautiful post. Truly lovely. This so encouraged me this morning.
Thank you. I'm posting about Joy in the Morning today on my blog.
~Stacy

Stef said...

My first reaction to this lovely, inspirational post is to ask, "HOW do you do it?"

I am struggling right now. After the birth of my 4th child last year, I've been going through countless emotional ups and downs. Can't seem to hang on to anything.

I wandered here from A Holy Experience, tired, beaten, looking for hope, help, and more hope. I'm glad I found your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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