“Mom, can you take me to the pool?”
“Mom, I need $10 for Honor Society dues. What better investment than my education?”
“Mom, you didn’t forget about my concert tonight, did you?”
“Wait, Mom, I have a soccer tryout. You need to take me to that.”
“Have you picked up the cake for the end of year celebration yet, Mom?”
“Mom, did you get your message? They need more hands to staff the food table at the picnic.”
“Hey, what about dinner, honey? Even the left-overs are left over.”
Ah, it’s over lap season: the time when spring activities have not taken their final bows, but summer schedules are already in full swing. The season when summer overlaps spring. Again this year I am its victim, crushed in the middle.
Numbly, I wait for my youngest to emerge from swim practice. A puddle in the parking lot catches my attention. “There I am,” I think exhaustedly, “spilled all over the pavement.” I may be crafted by the hand of the Master potter, but I am leaking badly. Everywhere I am cracked, fractured by the blows of demands and schedules, commitments and promises. Oh how I’d love to feel whole and full, filled with the joy of Godly parenting. But instead I am leaking. Empty. It seems I am always empty.
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad the kids are active and involved. I am grateful they want me to participate in all they are doing. The truth is I like being needed. But how much good am I when I am poured all over the pavement? Christian discipleship calls us to service, but this feels more like slavery. My masters: circumstances, requests and expectations. These masters do not feel loving. They take without giving, without refilling. And I have given them power over me.
Staring into the puddle I think “this is surely not the Lord’s desire for me.” No. Servant hood done the Lord’s way is service by choice. Gratefully redeemed, we are no longer slaves, but free. Free to choose to serve Him and others in His name. I long to serve the Lord and be a good mother and wife. I want to choose service and offer it gladly. Like Paul, to “be poured out like a drink offering” (2 Tim 4:6 NIV) in glad and joyful service.
My mood lightens. This puddle conversation seems to have shifted my attitude just a bit. It feels almost as if puddle water has begun to superglue the many cracks in my dry clay. Patching and mending. How like God to use whatever is at hand to sew healing.
Just then my little swimmer comes running. I greet her with a smile I truly feel. “Mom, the team is going to the movies this afternoon. Do you think we could squeeze that in before tryouts?”
I start to grimace and search my mental calendar, complete with GPS distance and time travel estimates. The familiar feeling of overlap compression starts to settle. But before I am engulfed, I lift the smallest of prayers, “Is this of you, Lord?”
The thought that occurs goes straight to my lips, “No. Let’s not squeeze today. How about finding that picnic spot you have been wanting to try? We’ll make some sandwiches and get you energized for that soccer tryout.”
“Wow! That would be perfect!” my little athlete bubbles.
Smiling, the tiniest of tears threatens to spill onto my cheek. I must admit it’s a funny thing. Poured out or leaky, I still look like a puddle. The difference is, when my heart is turned toward the Lord in service I am filled with joyful overflowing. Isn’t it just like God to change my attitude instead of my circumstances?
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