You have to give to get

I am coming to you straight from The Land of Exhaustion.  Where my eyes burn from tiredness, my back aches from lifting heavy kids all day and the theme song from Bob the Builder is replaying over and over and over again in my mind.  It seems the only word my toddler has learned in his two short years on Earth is “no” (and a loud “no” at that) and there’s one pointy little tooth that won’t hurry up and poke through my poor nine-month-old’s gums, causing frequent awakenings and the need for me to bounce, bounce, bounce him back to sleep.

Right this second is my brief reprieve.  A hot cup of Earl Grey tea straight from the Keurig, my favorite red chair and the sound of sweet silence.  There’s something magical about one’s children all being in bed and asleep, and though I’m tired I just want to savor the moment.  It’s a good time to think about the day… a time to be thankful and prayerful… to connect with my husband and to let myself breathe a little.  Another day spent meeting the seemingly constant needs of these little people.  Giving.  Constant giving.  That’s what motherhood is about, right?  The giving of ourselves?  We give our bodies to carry and bear children… we give our love, time, resources and sometimes our sanity!  And the list goes on of things we give (and things we give up).  We are also giving to our husbands (maybe not as often as we should), giving to other family members, the church, the community, our jobs, our friends…you get the picture.  All this giving and a mom can start to feel drained, maybe even resentful, angry or unappreciated…this can especially be the case when we have a hard time saying no to things!  When our planners get so full of “stuff” that we have left out what’s most important.

How do we make spending time with Jesus a priority so that He can refill us and enable us to continue all that giving?  When we aren’t spending time with Jesus we’re basically running on fumes and our giving can turn into a hurry-up-and-get-this-over-with item on our to-do list.  It no longer honors God and can damage relationships.  I remember this well.  Working full-time, plus a part-time job, raising two small kids and pregnant… I was busy to say the least.  I was saying yes to way too many things and spending time in the Word and doing a devotional was literally another item on my to-do list.  It makes me sad now to think that I put Jesus on my to-do list.  He should have been the start, middle and end to my day, not to mention all of the in-between.  When we decide to make Jesus a priority, He will re-prioritize our days (and our lives). He can show us what to say yes and no to.  He will refuel us day-to-day and moment-to-moment as we continue to give of ourselves to others.  He’ll enable us to do this in love, with a joyful heart, by changing our perspective and making it about Him, rather than about us.  He’ll show us how to really give of ourselves to others and will turn our giving into blessings to others.  We have to decide to give Jesus full reign over our lives to be able to get the most out of each day.

Mark 10:45 tells us “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Jesus came to serve, to give of himself and to teach us to love others.  What a beautiful example of true love, that Jesus came to SERVE others, not to be served.  Wow.  I pray this comes to mind anytime I start to feel drained or tired of “serving” my loved ones.  May I remember this verse and the example Jesus set for us. May I also remember to spend time with Jesus daily, asking Him to prioritize my day, refuel me and give me to a joyful attitude through all that giving (even giving my infant my precious moments of sleep at 2 a.m. because of that darn tooth!)

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