I’m currently reading through the Gospel of Mark in my regular Bible reading time. As a stay at home mom of small children, I can often relate to Jesus’ ministry here on earth.
His sleep was interrupted, His prayer life was always in the middle of the night or after a particularly exhausting work of ministry, and people constantly wanted to touch him, sucking from Him the miracle needed to heal them and comfort them. He was regularly teaching, often repeating Himself over and over again to a set of followers who continually hardened their hearts against Him. Always giving and rarely taking even a morsel of bread for His own physical needs.
It was thankless work that ended in physical death.
The Gospel of Mark and the life of Jesus has been both discouraging and encouraging for me as I read through it in this particular season of my life. I mean, Jesus was crucified for Pete’s sake. Do I really want Him to be the one most able to relate to the job I do?
Sometimes I don’t. Because the truth is, at my core, I don’t want to be that dependent on the Father. I don’t want to sacrifice constantly, gaining nothing in return. I don’t want to be touched all the time, always meeting other people’s needs, and never getting a moment alone to care for my own basic physical needs.
I want to talk to people who understand me, or who can at least sing the alphabet in completeness without my help. I want to plump the pillows on my couch and have them look pretty all day and not scattered across the room as fighting toys and tantrum throwers. I want to go to church for once and actually hear the sermon or make a hair appointment, any appointment, without juggling nap times and snack times and bed times and grouchy times.
And that’s where the rubber meets the road.
That’s the grind for me – and maybe for you, too.
The flesh and spirit at battle. Knowing my Savior understands and knowing that His life was hard and filled with suffering because of His great love for me. To follow Him into suffering is something altogether unattractive. To follow Him into obedience to the Father’s will is hard.
The mundane can overwhelm. Learning to walk without fainting in the season of young children is difficult when I would rather be doing anything but washing dishes yet again or changing another diaper. But when I choose to follow Jesus, I choose, by the grace of God, to pick up my cross and live as He lived.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. ~Mark 1:35-39
I must become a student of my Savior
A student who is not above her teacher when I do the daily work of kneeling at the foot of the cross in prayer for my day.
One who by grace becomes like her teacher with each daily work of faithfulness to His call on her life.
One who decreases so that He may increase.
One who goes to Him in her time of need and gets the grace she needs for this moment, this moment when she is tempted to despair. This moment when all she can see is the cross instead of the empty grave just beyond the hill.
Spiritual warfare is real.
Perhaps it’s never more real in a woman’s life than when she’s bearing children. Nurturing life in the face of death isn’t easy. It’s certainly not glorious or medal earning. It’s hard work. When I’m tired and at my end, I’m tempted to find another source of strength. But just as Jesus’ story doesn’t end at the cross, neither does mine.
I need the perspective of my Father.
When I go to God in prayer, sometimes I feel like I ask and receive nothing in return. But I think it’s because I hope to see my circumstances change, some of the physical load lifted, or just an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep or a five minute stretch of quiet in the day. Like this is what I truly need to make me feel happy or better about my life.
The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side. ~Mark 8:11-13
I look for circumstantial evidence just as the Pharisees did when Jesus was teaching among them. They wanted signs and wonders. So do I. I don’t want faithfulness and obedience. I want comfort and ease.
Jesus cleaned up a mess that He didn’t make.
As a mom of young children, I often feel like I’m doing the same. Yet the truth is Jesus did it with compassion and for the joy set before Him. He did it with love unconditional. He worked with eternity in mind. Can the same be said for my daily work of ministry in my home?
It’s not inherently wrong to desire quiet and rest, or for couch cushions to just.stay.put. But when it becomes the idol of my heart, disrupting the relationships of my family, the thing I desire above all else, then it becomes a matter of a heart of worship. Worship of an idol. And the only cure for my rebellious heart is repentance.
I am before thee in my trespasses and sins,
have mercy on me,
and may thy goodness bring me to repentance.
Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion,
instruction, discipline, example,
that my house may be a nursery for heaven,
my church the garden of the Lord,
enriched with trees of righteousness of thy planting,
for thy glory.
(Excerpts taken from The Family in The Valley of Vision)
- Where in your life are you seeking comfort and ease over faithfulness and obedience?
- What truths can you cling to as you’re tempted to abandon God’s way during this time in your life?
- Read Isaiah 40:27-31 and ask the Lord to help you to walk without fainting in the daily disciplines of life lived for Him.
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