I struggled with the idea that I could be doing something “better” or “bigger” in the world, rather than getting up every morning and spending another day mediating fights between (or fighting with) my children, pointing out messes, and saying the same things over and over.  Then my husband would come home and say, well, you’ve done nothing but sit around the house all day, why is the paperwork I sat on the counter this morning still sitting there, why don’t I have any clean pants and how soon is supper going to be ready. (And I don’t mean anything unkind about my husband – he just didn’t know – just as I didn’t always understand or appreciate the things he had to do and deal with.)

I guess we can feel like that at any stage of our life, right? Is this really all there is for me? Where’s my purpose? I know, at 81, my mom struggles with whether she’s still useful. It feels like life is almost over and no one needs her.

I didn’t always remember this, and still don’t at times, but when my kids were little God showed me something that was helpful. The Bible says:  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Every single person that comes into our lives, we have the opportunity to do something for Jesus, to be kind to Christ. The home-care worker. The nurse in the doctor’s office. The DMV person. The telemarketer who calls as we sit down at the table. The driver who cuts us off. Everyone. Do we treat them like they’re Jesus? Isn’t that what that verse says? 

It revolutionized my attitude toward my children. I’m not serving them, I’m serving Christ. I’m not picking up the house for them, scrubbing the floors washing the dishes, cooking for them, it’s for Christ. Everything I do is an opportunity to serve Christ. Being kind to them is being kind to Christ. And more convicting to me, being annoyed and upset with them was the equivalent of not treating Jesus well.

Honestly that thought totally changed my marriage.

I had to stop thinking about what my husband should do for me, and complaining (in my head, of course) about what he wasn’t doing, and annoyed at his high expectations of me. The paperwork was for Jesus. The laundry. How I reacted when he was unkind or unreasonable. Even greeting my husband when he came home, how I treated him all day long, all like my husband was Jesus. (Sometimes I would think, Jesus wouldn’t treat me like my husband treats me, but the verse gives no contingencies. It doesn’t matter how we’re treated; it matters how we respond.)

Back to my kids. The ones I taped together. The oldest has always been the hardest one to deal with. We fought every single day. Actually, when my boys were late teens, we were sitting on the couch in the living room, just hanging out, reminiscing. They (including him) were all saying about how bad he had been growing up. I said, I disciplined him every single day (referring to that son.) My second son, said, no, mom. It was two or three times every single day. 

Everyone laughed, but I suppose that’s true.

That’s kind of where things come together. The desire to serve my family like I’m serving Jesus, but also not being weary in well-doing even if it means I disciplined that kid every single day (for the same stuff!).

I distinctly remember when that son – my oldest – was fifteen, we were getting breakfast ready. It was a typical homeschool day. The kids had finished their chores, one of them was cooking breakfast, and I was supervising everything, getting school stuff ready and laughing and joking with the kids.

I was walking into the kitchen when my oldest son puts his arm around me. I stopped and he pulled me into a hug. He said, “Mom. When I get a little older, I want to marry a girl just like you.”

Shocked me speechless, to be honest. You can’t hide your true self when you homeschool. The kids see everything. Sure, once in a while I’m funny, and I suppose I’m a decent cook, but I’m a rotten housekeeper and am annoyingly cheerful in the mornings…my list of faults was WAY longer than anything good I could see. Finally, I just couldn’t figure it out, so as I was hugging him back, I asked, “What makes you say that?”

And he said, “Because of the way you treat dad.”

Now, maybe I’m weird, but that simple statement from my son ranks up there as one of the best things that anyone has ever said to me. 

He didn’t say it because of me or anything wonderful that I am. It’s all God. When we do what He says, when we live the way He wants us to (or try to, since I certainly wasn’t always successful) God can take the tiny little bit of effort we give, and make something “big” out of it.

That simple idea – to be kind and treat everyone I can – especially my family, since that was who I was with every day – like they’re Jesus, makes us forget about ourselves. I don’t think my son saw me – I’m just a sinner whose righteousness is as filthy rags – he saw Jesus, because God blessed my sincere effort, and who doesn’t want to be near Jesus, right? 

Okay, it’s Jessie again, and I thought it might be fun to add a little PS to this story. I was with my oldest son and his girlfriend this weekend. I absolutely love his girlfriend; she’s such a beautiful person. Well, she left the room to go to the restroom, and my son said to me, “Mom, did you notice that she’s just like you? It’s uncanny how much she’s like you.” 

I’m sure he doesn’t remember what he said to me when he was fifteen, and I didn’t remind him. My heart just smiled and I said, “I love her. I think she’s perfect for you. I hope you treat her the way she deserves.”  (All of my boys have a tendency to work hard – which I love – and all I was saying was a little reminder of the things we’d talked about for years about people being more important than things. He knew exactly what I was saying, and he nodded, because he’s aware that’s a flaw our whole family has.) 

Alright, thanks so much for spending time with me today! I hope you have a beautiful week. I’ll be back on Friday with a huge announcement. : ) 

Hugs and blessings! ~Jessie