Clean Babies, Dirty Dishes

I’m a teacher so I have summer’s off. During the school year, I am out of the house roughly three days a week. Although these “away” days don’t afford me the luxury of showering at noon or spending the day in yoga pants if I feel like it, they are still significantly easier than the days I spend being an all-day mom. And without those “away” days, the weeks just sort of melt together in one long string of mommy tasks: feed them, bathe them, pick up after them, play with them, read to them, feed them, discipline them, hug them, wash them, wash their toys, take them outside, feed them, pray for them, talk to them, sit with them, feed them, clean them….and on and on and on it goes.

Well, this week was just another one of those “everyday faithfulness” kind of weeks. Our lives are not exciting. I am not conquering world issues, righting global wrongs, flexing my rhetorically minded intellectual capacity, or fighting crime in a spandex suit during my down time. But I am learning how to be a better wife. How to be a better mother. How to love my calling more, and how to take just as much pride in being a stay-at-home mom as I do in being a college professor.

But you know what? Even the divine gift of loving motherhood can be twisted into something evil by sin.

Just today I woke up thinking, “I’m going to get so much done it’s not even funny!”

But then, because I’m pregnant and couldn’t stomach the smell of the day-old dishes in the sink, and because my infant peed through her diaper and needed an impromptu bath, and because I am one of those “just one wrench in the program and the whole thing gets aborted” types of people (this is a flaw and I know it), my plans were significantly derailed.

And so, before I even began, my super-amazing plans for being extra-mucho productive turned to dust before my very eyes. And all because the baby needed a bath. That might seem like a small thing to most people, but anyone with lower back problems knows that tasks involving squatting, bending, hunching, or lifting constitute a major production.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I was. Disappointed that I hadn’t been able to start my day the way I’d planned. Disappointed that I’d been distracted. Disappointed that the dishes were still dirty. Disappointed in myself for not being the wife and mother I had planned on being. Disappointed that I had failed – again.

But then, I turned around in my seat and saw something, really saw it. Two of the most beautiful, clean, happy, well-fed babies on the planet. And then it happened. The Lord gently, faithfully, and lovingly convicted my spirit.

Clean, happy, and well fed babies.

Clean, happy, and well fed babies.

“Where did you rank your children in your list of priorities today? When were their needs considered in your master plan for success. Who is responsible for placing rigid expectations on you about the cleanliness of your kitchen? Not me. Not your husband. Not your kids. Not your friends and neighbors. Whose will were you planning to accomplish today, yours or Mine?”

And just like that I was brought so very, very low. I had been so prideful, so arrogant. My love of having a clean house had surpassed (or, rather, disregarded) my love for my children. My desire to meet my own set of goals had caused me to lose sight of the most important goal: looking after my children well. My own rigid expectations had caused me to become bitter toward the tasks motherhood had unexpectedly foisted upon me.

But God is a good God, and His correction never lacks comfort. As I repented of my sin, selfishness, and arrogance, the Lord filled me with His grace, peace, and joy. And He granted me a new perspective: His. Children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5), not a burden, not an inconvenience, not a chore. Children are a joy. That’s the truth. Despite how I feel about them, to consider them to be anything other than a blessing is to contradict God. And I don’t know about you, but I never want to live in that kind of mentality for long.

Praise the Lord for being quick to show us the error of our ways and for offering us immediate comfort, forgiveness, and peace when we repent of them. God is good all the time, and for this I will praise and thank him all day long!

Until next time my friends,

S. Taylor, The Taylor of All Trades

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