If that really is true, then I believe in washing dishes, doing 487 loads of laundry a week, wiping kitchen counters, changing sheets on beds, sitting in carpool, letting the dogs out, letting them back in, frantically searching for baseball gear (didn’t we have all that already gathered?) … and soccer gear (didn’t we have all that already gathered?)… and basketball gear (never mind) … and Sunday shoes, clearing off the kitchen table for homework … and dinner … and breakfast … and lunch … and dinner again, singing every single word to every single Phantom song and every single Les Mis song, all the while dreaming about how teaching the great truths of Les Mis to inmates just might liberate them from their past and unlock the door to a better future, taming and re-taming the paper tiger who prowls constantly on my desk and various other surfaces of our house, and drinking fountain Cokes because they may hurt my teeth but they save my sanity.
In truth, the quote that really grips me and shapes me and informs not only who I am but also who I want to be is John 6:38: “For I have come from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
That means that when I might want to sit for a minute to do some stitching or finally tackle that eighteen-inch-high stack of papers on my desk but my nine-year-old needs help finding a way past her frustration with math, then I help navigate the math that I can still do before she gets into something really complicated like, say, geometry, and work to dry the tears of the little one who feels overwhelmed by it.
It means remembering that patience is one of the hallmarks of a great parent and so I must just take deep breaths as my eight-year-old spends ten minutes (ten full minutes!) fixing his latest Lego creation when I know that what we really need to be doing is getting out the door to go wherever it is we needed to be at that very moment but the look on his face pleads for something else from me, namely time.
It means taking a pause on fixing the already late dinner to help my over-tired six-year-old find the next object in his hide-and-search picture puzzle because He just can’t see that pear that was hidden as a fold on the basset hound’s ears – and hold him through his fit if he gets sad that I found it before he did. It means daily practicing – and too often botching – the ‘less of me, Jesus, more of You’ that leads to true peace and is the hallmark of real purpose.
Oh, I am so flawed; we all are. But while we seek to do and be better, we do not despair that we will never measure up to God’s best for us because we worship a God who doesn’t give up on us. Not only does He not give up on us because we are His and He loves us without limits, but also because He has plans for us – specifically plans for us to do His will in this world. There is hope yet. And she felt it, and it was good.
Madeline Robison is wife to Brian; mother to Amelia (in Heaven now), Mariana, Brent, and Blake; singer; writer; Sunday School teacher; volunteer; Coke snob; proud Texan; proud American; grammar dork; Jane Austen and Charles Martin devotee; George Strait fan; and baseball aficionado. She knows every single word to every single song she has ever heard, much to the chagrin of her beloved and her brothers, and she doesn’t think it’s genetically possible either (a) not to have a strong opinion on something (b) not to sing while she washes the dishes. It’s just unnatural. She and her family live in Dallas with two dogs, two cats, one kitten, 40 fish, and an undisclosed number of mosquitoes based on how recently it has rained.