I had just made the drastic mistake of asking one of my two sons what side dish we should have with dinner.
“Why are you asking him?” Brendon questioned suspiciously before adding, “You love him more!”
“She does not!” Evan retorted. “You always get to pick stuff!”
“Uh-uh… you always get to chose. You’re her favorite!”
“Alright,” I interceded, “stop it! Both of you know that I don’t love one of you more than the other. We’ve been through this a hundred times!”
This had become a routine argument in our house and I wasn’t in the mood for a repeat performance. I remember having the same type of argument with my own brother 30 years earlier. Somehow it seemed more intelligent all those years ago. Right now I was just tired of the nonsense.
Brendon was persistent in trying to get me to see his point, “How come you always take his side? I think you do love him more.”
“Maybe she does love me more,” Evan teased. “It’s ‘cause I’m her favorite.”
“You are not her favorite!” Brendon countered. “I was born first which means she loves me longer!”
“Okay, enough,” I shouted. “Both of you go to your rooms! And don’t bother coming out until you’re ready to be sensible.”
I knew this wasn’t the ideal solution to the problem but I was just so fed up with their actions and attitudes. I knew that if I continued trying to rationalize with them that I would lose my temper. It was better to have them out of the room until I was ready to deal with it logically and in a reasonable manner.
I knew I wasn’t ready to deal with it rationally as I continued mumbling to myself, “Kids today have NO clue how well off they are!” I slammed the lettuce down on the cutting board and began chopping furiously. “I’m so sick of their miserable, selfish and self-centered attitudes! Why do I have to deal with this foolishness, Lord?”
IT IS YOUR JOB TO RAISE THEM AND TEACH THEM THE WAY THEY SHOULD GO.
Chop, chop, chop…
“But Lord,” I stammered, “I am raising them. I quit my job, a job that I loved, so that I could stay home and raise these boys! Isn’t that deserving of more than I’m receiving from them?” I knew I sounded pitiful but I continued. “I work really hard around here, cooking, cleaning and feeling like a maid most of the time. I gave up a lot in order to be home full-time. Shouldn’t that count for something? Shouldn’t I get some sort of added benefits for all the effort I put in?”
Chop, chop, chop…
I SHOW NO FAVORITISM, MY CHILD. NO ONE PROMISED YOU THE WORK WOULD BE EASY BUT I CAN TELL YOU IT WILL BE WORTH IT. LEAN ON ME; TAKE WHAT I HAVE TO OFFER. IT IS THE SAME I OFFER ALL MY CHILDREN… BUT IT IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT.
I placed the knife down on the cutting board next to the mutilated lettuce, cupped my hands and wept. Things hadn’t changed much over the past three decades since I strove against my brother for first place in my mother’s eye. Nor had they changed all that much since Jesus had the same conversation with his disciples over who would be the greatest. In chapter 9 of Mark the disciples argued over who was the greatest. Jesus told them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (NIV verse 35).
“I’m sorry, Lord,” I sobbed. “Here I am, annoyed at the boys for being so foolish and I’m no better. When will I stop seeking earthly approval and seek only what matters to You?”
YOU ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS, MY CHILD BUT YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY. RIGHT THIS MOMENT YOU HAVE MY APPROVAL.
As I dabbed at my tears, I made my way down the hallway toward the closed doors. A blanket of peace swept over me and I suddenly had the resources I needed to deal with this calmly.
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