We all know that serving our families is the high calling of the Christian mother. And so we put on our apron, if not literally than at least figuratively, and we 'got to work', so to speak. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Ah, but this is where I stumble: "Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with JOYFULNESS, and with GLADNESS OF HEART, for the abundance of all things...(Deut. 28:47)". Ouch!
If you read the entire chapter of Deut. 28, God is firmly announcing the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. That's fine but why, oh why, did He have to throw in verse 47? I know I am to serve the Lord, but with JOYFULNESS? With GLADNESS OF HEART? Does He give no exception for grumpy, frumpy days, for grouchy children, for harried schedules? Not even for PMS, for cryin' out loud??????
No. No, He doesn't. Jesus served with JOYFULNESS, with GLADNESS OF HEART even when drops of sweat were dripping from His brow, even when those He served HATED Him, even to the point of taking His last painful, agonizing breath. He never once allowed resentment or fatigue or impatience or anger or hormones or anything else to distract Him from the road of JOYFUL SERVANTHOOD. Not once...
Hmmm. I sit on it, I chew on it, I let the words, the thoughts wrap around my mind. Fast-forward a few hours. It's time to leave, to gather the children together, put shoes on, brush teeth, pack lunches, correct a bad attitude, comb heads of hair, wipe breakfast remnants off of little faces, break up a tiff, put shoes on again, search for keys, change a diaper, nurse a baby, kiss an owie, put shoes on again and head out the door for a visit with friends. With each step of preparation, each delay, each interaction, my countenance changes, my impatience grows larger, my fuse grows shorter!
"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with JOYFULNESS...". I can tell my children all day long that "Children are a gift from the Lord", that being a mother/father is truly one of the very highest callings....I can tell my children all day long to do their chores/schoolwork with a good attitude, to think of others before themselves, to serve Jesus in all they do......But truly, being a JOYFUL wife and mother will speak volumes above the blabbing that comes out of my mouth. I can preach a glorious, magnificent sermon to them until I'm blue in the face, but the look they see on my face when I'm putting on their shoes and the edge they hear in my voice when I'm ushering them into the car tells the real story, to them and to the One I say I serve.
And so, once again, I sit at the Potter's wheel, being the unsightly lump of clay that I am. We both see it, the imperfection, the flaw, the unsightly blemish. Neither of us likes it. I yield to His strong, powerful hands. He is my only hope. His ability and willingness to transform and renew is my only chance. "Create in me a clean heart, O God..." Help Me, Servant of all, to serve You with JOYFULNESS.