... that I shall have no regrets.

Monday, January 20, 2020

For months I've had so much to say, so much to work through in writing, and so little physical and mental capacity with which to do it. Our lives have been flipped upside down by a cross country move during an already challenging season with four little ones. Beckham is undoubtedly our most unpredictable sleeper (though our easiest baby otherwise!) and waking to his cries at all hours of the night has required me to strip away anything that is not absolutely necessary. 

But even so, it's easy to look around and wonder if I'm doing enough. 

Our culture, as presented on social media, screams that women can have it all. We can be devoted and ever-present mothers, we can run our own thriving businesses, we can show up on Instagram in full hair and makeup and share deep inspirational thoughts. It's exhausting and, frankly, it's a lie. While the culture screams that I should be doing more and more and also taking time for me instead of sacrificially pouring it out for others, the Bible says quite the opposite. It's in the serving, in the lowest places, that we meet Christ most intimately. Each of us is called to worship God and love our neighbor in whatever context we find ourselves. In this season as a mom of little people, these children are my closest neighbors. Bending low to serve them is a constant practice in humility, self-sacrifice, patience. But it's also a calling. Not a constant interruption, but exactly where God has me.

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis that I recently happened upon: 

"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day." 

While we were staying with my parents in Nashville last week, my mom shared a handwritten journal that belonged to my great grandmother in the early 1940s. It had recently been uncovered after years in storage, and I so enjoyed flipping through the pages, reading her words in her handwriting. Myrtle Ware was a deep thinker, a seminary-educated teacher, a mother of 4 boys, passionate about world missions and the Word, a committed pastor's wife. Her life ended abruptly during a bout with breast cancer when my grandfather was 11 years old, so none of us had the privilege of knowing her on this side of eternity.

As I read through her entries I was struck by just how many similarities our lives bear, even decades apart. 

Consider this entry from 1942: 
I chafe sometimes under the trend of the present age toward women leaving the home and working. I loved teaching so much and enjoyed working in a profession so much more than housekeeping, that I wonder sometimes why multitudes of women may go back to their professions and I not be allowed to go back to mine: and make money as they do. My friends around me are making salaries of their own; women, who are not as highly trained as I; and no more physically able or no more capable. Yet my better sense tells me that it is better as it is. I work incessantly as a pastor's wife. There is no remuneration, but a compensation greater. I am here when the boys come in from school. The house is warm. There is something to eat. My presence gives them security. That brings no salary with it... but I hear across the years "Take this child and raise it for me and I will give thee thy wages."  
The Lord pays me - and will. All too soon the 3 lads will be gone. All too quickly the years of their youth will have fled from my hands. They will be finished products. They will have gone forth. God help me that I shall have no regrets.

Her words light the path before me. What a gift! How they bless and breathe value into how I spend my days. If you're in the trenches like I am - or like my great-grandmother was more than 70 years ago - hear these words of Jesus himself: 

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Col. 3:23-24)

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