Sometimes I feel worn down by the monotony of motherhood. Of the requests, the needs of my children. Some days it feels like the demands will never end and I’m too tired to tie the shoes, make the beds, wipe the counters, play the games, clear the dishes, sweep the floors, kiss the heads, read the books, give the snacks, admire the artworks, teach the subjects, fix the broken toys, wash the clothes…
Sometimes that ugliness of sin that is ever-lurking just beneath the surface in the soul creeps up and I feel like I might choke on the loveliness of all the blessings around me. They don’t look like blessings anymore. And the narcissistic voice inside screams what about me? what I want and what I need?
With shame I admit that I have uttered to my children, “Why are you asking me to do that for you? I am not your servant!”
Sometimes it’s their tone– demanding and demeaning. Sometimes it’s just the 856th request and I feel so spent on this whole thing. Reasons aside, I have justified this response to them feeling proud and unwilling to bend to their wishes if they have asked wrongly or if I just don’t want to give anymore.
Two mornings ago I heard one of my children ask their sibling to do something. Something easy and simple– a task of less than a minute. And the response?
I am NOT your servant!
And it broke inside me. The words echoed all around in a hauntingly familiar voice reminding me where they learned this mantra. Where they have seen the example– not of self-sacrificing service in love, but of demanding one’s own way/rights/time/wish/desire/convenience.
And then the Word came flooding in, washing over me with its truth…
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, [love] is not self-seeking…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
“…serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
How will my children ever learn that true loves serves and gives continually, sacrificing its own wants and needs for the good of another if I am setting this awful example of only serving them begrudgingly and at my own convenience?
How can I tell my children to love and serve one another and then turn around and tell them I can’t serve them because mommy’s busy/mommy has work to do/mommy has better things to do with her time/mommy is too tired/their request is beneath me/their request inconveniences me?
How can I give empty words to teach something that I don’t live out daily?
This is the motherhood I am called to– to lay down my life. Not just once, but over and over and over again. With each new day, with each new breath. With God’s help, I am teaching my children to love and serve others by loving and serving others myself.
By the Lord’s grace, I am changing my response to the requests of my children from I am not your servant.
I am your servant. I love you and I want to serve you.