It was turning out to be one of “those” mornings. If you people have little people you know what “those” is referring to. Where nothing seems to be working itself into place and all seems topsy turvy. The one where the toddler is being a toddler, the baby is being a baby, human excrement is in places it shouldn’t be, crying, whining, the defiant one is working his manipulating magic, and the choir of “MOM I need you, MOM can you help me?” is in forte. The craze makes my head spin and I realize it is not because I haven’t had anything to eat, but because my brain is taking in waaaay too much information, while trying to meet the demand. The stress part of my brain is swelling. (yeah there is a stress part of your brain! Okay not really but it sounds good). Those of you who have little people are smiling right now and those who don’t are wondering where this is going, stick with me. Luckily I don’t have one of these moments very often but like the sun coming up each morning it happens, and is bound to happen with a toddler in the house. So by the time 10:00 tea time comes around (where we sit at the table for our readings) I am feeling frazzled. And now I have 7 little people looking at me, wondering what the lessons for the day will hold. I have enough sense to know that the first thing we should start with in our lessons is the Bible. A tradition that was started from experience, knowing that we all needed God’s word to instruct us and glean some light into our shadowy hearts, and today I needed it more than ever. I was able to get up early in the morning to have my time with God, but with the swelling in my brain, I had forgotten. (Those forgetful Israelites don’t sound so foolish now a days). This time of opening the word is more for the kids to learn and experience God, but of course God always has something to say to everyone, I just happen to be the one who is suppose to facilitate and help initiate inspiration. We happen to be in the gospels, and were reading in Mark chapter 9 verse 33 through 37. The disciples are with Jesus in a house, without a crowd, and Jesus asks them what they were discussing on the way. The disciples kept silent because, on the way they were arguing with one another about who was the greatest. So Jesus sits down and calls them. And he says to them, “If anyone would be first he must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he takes a child and picks him up and says, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives not me but him who sent me.”
We begin to discuss. We all kind of laugh at the disciples that they were arguing like children, and then we laugh that we can all fall into the trap. With my kids it is rather obvious in their competitiveness to outdo one another but as adults we find many more socially acceptable ways to camouflage our pride and wanting to be the best. I speak, or rather write from experience. We then start to discuss the part where Jesus says that to be great we must serve. This is a mantra at my house because as parents we are constantly reminding our children that serving others is where we become great. But as we are talking about it this time I cringe a little. Not because I don’t like what Jesus has to say, but because I feel my heart has been selfish. Because there is not a lot of recognition and appreciation in wiping butts (sorry this should be rated PG), or making kids do their math. Not now anyway.
Jesus then picks up the child and tells them that if they want to be great they must receive a child in Jesus’ name. One of my children asks, “Mom why did he say a child?” My mind freezes, there are no words. In the awkward silence my children start conversing with one another about this and I can’t really hear anything they are saying. I sense God beckoning me to continue to love and serve when there is nothing in it for me, a continuing repetitive lesson. Children, especially toddlers and babies, give nothing back (except their cuteness, which looses its’ hold when the brain is swollen from stress, or when they give their brother a bloody nose). I sometimes get these notions in my head that my children will show me great appreciation for meeting their basic needs. I am not asking much ;), just once in awhile it would be nice to hear, “Thanks mom for making us learn.” “Mom I am so grateful that you work hard to cook us nutritious meals, that will help us grow strong.” Okay so no kids say this, and if they do, then be thankful. So what happens when they don’t? Then what? Then we keep on serving, like Jesus tells us to, not only here but many places in the Bible. I see God continue to strip the ugly garments of selfishness off of me and it is freeing, light weight. I then snap out of my trance and ask the children, “What does Azariah have to offer us?” “Nothing,” they reply. “Exactly, and he requires a lot from us, but we love him anyway. He is a gift from God. He can not feed himself, he can not dress himself, he can’t do much of anything except be cute.”
Many days I feel I have a long way to go and I remember that I am His workmanship, even if He had to start with me, the finger painting picture. I am thankful. I am humbled. I am reminded that when God looks at my artwork he doesn’t see the finger painting, or the scribbles, but He sees the Masterpiece of Jesus in its’ place. The Jesus who showed how to be a servant to those with whom he would get no recognition. And I can press on to serve while being embraced in His love.