Why is it we do all we do? What is our motivation? With all our many job descriptions: mommy, wife, homemaker, teacher, laundress, seamstress, and chief boo boo kisser…. our lives are busy, sometimes to the point of distraction……….
Recently, I read a book about Amy Carmichael, an amazing missionary woman who ministered in India. This biography was written by Elizabeth Elliot, an equally amazing woman of God. To Amy, everything was God’s work. Changing a diaper, or sweeping a floor, preparing a meal, even laundry, was as important as leading a person to Christ. It was BECAUSE of her passion for Christ that she did the cleaning and caring. I was challenged to consider how many times I see these things as separate from God’s work…..instead of the very task He has given me?
As Amy Carmichael labored, caring for the lost temple children of India, she often received letters from those who were looking to come and work with her. She was ever careful in those she chose to labor with. Her work was hard, unglamorous, full of sickness and pain. The workers needed to be carefully chosen. She wanted them to have a clear understanding of the work they would be doing.
Here is a list of questions that Amy asked those applying to work with her on the mission field. It was said that Amy would sum these questions up with one statement, written to the applicant: Do not come unless you can say to your Lord and to us, The Cross is the attraction.
I challenge you to answer these questions as if Christ Himself is writing to you….. as an interview to your position of motherhood.
1. Do you truly desire to live a crucified life? ( this may mean doing very humble things joyfully for His Name’s sake.)
2. Does the thought of hardness draw you or repel you?
3. Do you realize that we are a family, not an institution? Are you willing to do whatever helps most?
4. Apart from the Bible, can you name three or four books which have been of vital help to you? Apart from books, what refreshes you most when tired?
5. Have you ever learned any classical or continental language?
6. Have you ever had opportunity to prove our Lord’s promise to supply temporal as well as spiritual needs?
7. Can you mention any experience you have passed through in your Christian life which brought you into a new discovery of your union with the crucified, risen, and enthroned Lord?
Do you think your answers would have won you the job?
When reading this list of questions, asked of those who felt called to a life of missionary work, I was compelled to examine my own life and heart for God.
I have often said that raising my children is my mission field, but really, in the middle of the everyday craziness of it, do I act like it? God has given me four precious gifts; to teach, train and admonish in His ways…. but is the cross the attraction to my work? Do I care for a sick child because I have to?… or do I care for them with Christ’s love?
( I will confess to you that at 3 a.m., when there is a cranky baby up for the 3rd night in a row… or my 8 year old has barfed over the edge of the bunk bed… again. I am surely not feeling Christ’s love for that child!…. I am selfishly wanting my sleep!)
I was ashamed, that as I searched and examined my motives behind the countless little things that are done each day………..
Christ was not my attraction.
I am prone to grumble about the dishes in the sink. I will roll my eyes and sigh loudly when my teens have walked by the laundry pile for the 7,000th time that afternoon. I whine to my husband about how I am the only one who does anything around here….. I am not as selfless as I would like to think. I needed to be reminded; unless Christ is first, I am just a selfish and bitter mom, playing the role of a martyr, complaining about the work God has given me to do.
As I reflect on The Cross, I need to remember who hung there.
My Savior did. Jesus, God’s son.
One who didn’t deserve a death such as that.
I know that is the level of sacrifice that is called for from me……….. I need to be THAT selfless, that humble.
I need to let go of me, and my rights…. and let more of Jesus be seen in the way that I talk to and serve my family. I need to love my family like I love Jesus.
Through the humility that was displayed on the cross, I am saved. Saved from having to whine and complain when my laundry is high and my house a mess. Saved from having to lose it when the school day doesn’t go as planned.
So, I hope that you will join me, in seeking to see the everyday “mom stuff” as the work the Lord has given to you. It is likely that we will still be the only ones that do anything around here, but we can choose to do it all humbly and joyfully, because we love Christ more than anything else in this world.
***originally posted as a guest post for The Gabby Mom’s Blog ***