That’s a tough one. And, in the name of transparency, one I’ve been convicted of lately. Many years ago, I realized that God gave me the heart of a servant. Finding joy and purpose in helping others is a result of following that call. I also know God gave me Jacob. Meaning, being his mom and serving him would be a life-long task. God made me exactly the way I am to be able to best take care of the gift He gave me 40 years ago.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”Galatians 5:13 NIV
Something I’ve started doing, that has brought me a great deal of pleasure, is hosting tea parties. As I prepare for a party and serve my guests, I have the second part of Galatians 5:13 on my mind. Serve one another humbly in love. My heart is full as I demonstrate that simple act. The first part of the verse talks about being free. Listen closely, being free in Christ doesn’t mean focusing on myself (indulge the flesh) but being free to show Christ to others, by serving. It doesn’t cost me anything to serve in love.
So, here is the ‘confession is good for the soul’ section: Seems like every time I get settled in to read a book, or watch a movie, or watercolor, or …., Jacob realizes I am ‘free’ to serve him. I don’t know how he does it. Waits until I am done in the kitchen. Or sitting with my feet propped up. And he will do whatever it takes to get my attention. Sometimes he will lean in to get close to my face and give me his sweetest, melt his mom, smile. Truly I can hardly say no to that! Or, take an opposite approach. Become demanding and pull me toward his room or the kitchen refusing to let go. Unfortunately, I let those little things get the best of me. Some days I have no patience left to spread. Can’t I just focus on what I want right now? Just a few minutes?
Don’t think so. No, here he comes handing me an empty cup. I let that simple act frustrate me way too much. He’s thirsty and needs my help. What kind of mother am I? One that hears Satan say, ‘you’ve been serving him for 40 years!’ And I’ll think, that’s right. That’s the truth! Not once has he poured himself something to drink.
Then he brings his DVD player wanting to watch another movie. Or the huge case of DVDs. The word wait is not in his vocabulary. I’ll carefully explain to him that I’ve just helped him select another one and to go watch it. He’ll study me seeming to listen intently, then turn and walk away as if he is going to do just that. Mike and I may look at each other and give a thumbs up. He’s actually going to obey. Only to return less than 5 minutes later as if it has been hours. I fully believe he tried to wait. Again, I let his need aggravate me. Bless his heart, why shouldn’t he get to watch another movie? He changes his mind more than anyone I know. But, I change mine, too. What was I doing that was more important? Serving myself, that’s what!
Quickly God called me out on my attitude. It needed adjusting. Was I serving in love? NO. Jacob was gifted to me to grow my faith, my patience, my endurance, and so much more. To stretch me beyond my capabilities so I quit trying to do it on my own. I cannot do it on my own. And, guess what? I don’t have to. God knows it isn’t easy but His arms are open wide to lighten my load.
There’s a fine line between serving Jacob versus taking away his ability to do it himself. “Lord, teach me to know the difference.”