It is truly the most rewarding roles and experiences of my life.
More rewarding than college achievements.
More rewarding than teaching 150 children in a 7th grade classroom.
Better than traveling to Europe, Canada, Bahamas, and
Greater treasure than even ministering in orphanages and teaching the Bible to impoverished women in a 3rd world country.
Yet, hands down, I believe it to be the hardest. (Do I have a witness? :)
There is nothing easy about serving others from sunup (or before) til long after sundown.
It just doesn't agree with my flesh. I mean, sometimes my flesh just screams against it.
I remember just a few weeks after we had returned from China. I think I was still trying to shake off jetlag or something (just how long does that excuse work anyway?), or maybe it was that first trimester fatigue. Or could it have been 3 very little and active boys? I don't know, but I was exhausted.
And I remember lying back across my bed shortly after breakfast and saying to the Lord, "Really, Lord? Do I have to die to myself AGAIN?"
For about 60 seconds, I thought that I just could not do it. No more. Nada.
But I felt a response as clear as day coming from His Word that I had hidden in my heart: Yes, you do. You must die daily.
"Then he said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it'" (Luke 9:23).
"I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31).
Some days are easier than others to die to self. But I want to look back on these years as helpmeet and mommy and know that I gave it my all.
"Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all" (Philippians 2:17).
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand" (2 Timothy 4:6).
I don't want to give a little. And while I may not be a "seasoned" mama yet (I don't know, when do we qualify as seasoned or veterans? when we get wounded? lol), I know enough to realize that giving just a little will never. ever. do.
I must be poured out like a drink offering.
Give when it is inconvenient.
Give when it hurts.
Give when you would much, much rather receive.
And let the potter chip off a little--or a lot--at a time.
Cause while I am being poured out like a drink offering, I know that my earthen vessel that is pouring this drink is very, very imperfect.
But the potter is still using me. Gracious enough to even allow me to offer up any drinks at all.
And meanwhile, chip. Chip. Chip.
That's what He does. Provides the grace. Provides the faith. Even provides the drink.
And as I offer, He chips. Chips. Chips.
Making me into something I could never do on my own. Showing me that even though I go to bed tonight with the drink completely poured out, He will fill it back up again in the morning with beautiful new mercies.
Proving over and over that He *is* faithful. That, yes, He can carry me through losing a parent, adopting 2 children, a seemingly unorganized move, and a God-timed pregnancy in such a way that it can only be His grace.
Chip. Chip. Chip.
Keep pouring. Keep pouring. Keep pouring.
They are worth it. And He sustains.