Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Ministry of Availability (No More Perfect Days)

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
I am not much of a list maker. To me, it feels a lot like scrubbing the dishes just before loading them into the dishwasher to start it. Why spend the extra time making the list when one can just delve in and tackle it head on?

Many embrace the freedom a to-do list allows their mind. I’ve been told that crossing items off as the day wears on brings satisfaction. With today being one of those days (booked from the moment my feet hit the floor until I could bury myself under my covers before entering dreamland once again), I decided to prepare by itemizing my agenda.
Everything was set to go for today’s Science Fair presentation my daughter spent months preparing for. Unfortunately, I forgot to put happy bellies on my list. Amazed at the calm with which God filled me, I took my daughter’s declaration of queasiness in stride.
Nikelle’s stomach often wreaks havoc with our mornings. The key is to minimize her stress. Immediately, she began to work herself up into a tizzy. Inevitably, if she was sick, her favorite part of this experience would be missed. I assured her that we could be late to school. (After all, now that the usual bus ride was no longer an option, we had to drive her sister to school anyway. “Drive girls to school” was not going to be successfully scratched off my list… at least not on time anyway!)

Recently, some friends and I discussed the chapter No More Perfect Days from Jill Savage’s new book, No More Perfect Moms. I highlighted the words “Ask God for help. Tell Him, ‘Here’s what I planned. Help me to deal graciously with however it really turns out.” It was time for some application of what I had learned.

(On a side note, I couldn’t help but work to fight off the thought that life was a lot simpler with only one child. It’s not a desire to go back to the good old days. It’s simply an observation in light of today’s circumstances.)
I nudged my middle child into her class as my youngest insisted on her urgency to use the bathroom. My oldest was now outside the front doors of the school gagging into the plastic grocery bag I had handed her “just in case”. Asking my 7-year-old to show my 4-year-old the bathroom, I attended to my 10-year-old. After making certain she was fine, I checked in on the younger one only to find her demanding my help in the bathroom. I don’t know how many times I ran back and forth down that hallway but I am certainly grateful for the staff at Eisenhower Academy.
Once everything calmed down, I helped my oldest set up her display. Assured by the teachers that it was ok to let her stay for the science fair (with the promise that I would return promptly to be certain this was not the stomach flu), I ran across town to drop the youngest off at preschool. I made a quick phone call to cancel my morning plans and took some deep breaths. To-do lists rarely cooperate with me.
I don’t find it to be a coincidence that the Bible study homework I had just completed last night applied to my life today. “What decision involving change in your life is God nudging you to make?” I wrote the answer “homemaker” knowing full well that God has been speaking to me on this very topic. It’s more than being a stay-at-home mom or even cleaning house and making meals. I need to make myself more available to my husband and daughters. For me, this simply means a little more consideration for others.
Jill Savage writes “Ministry for Jesus was the person standing in front of Him, regardless of whether that interaction was planned or spontaneous.” For the moment, my daughter needed me to do whatever it took to help her present her project. While I had everything worked out to attend my Bible study and take care of necessary errands, plans need to be flexible. “Motherhood is the ministry of availability” and it was time to make sure my child knew she came before my agenda.

Nikelle made it through the school day with no more incidents involving her stomach. She ate her lunch and came home chatting happily about her day. Whether or not she is aware of the sacrifice I made today or will remember years down the road is not even the issue. This was a test of obedience. Of that I am certain. It feels good to say “yes” to God’s calling.

 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 2:3-5
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24



1 comment:

  1. I totally appreciate this! I love that God is calling you to be more available to Rod and the girls, especially because I feel like God nudges me to do the same thing. He's not asking me to go out and "save the world," but I feel Him telling me to take care of my loved ones here at home. To be more available to them. To put them before my "to-do" list. To notice their needs and help them. You said it perfectly, Tristi!