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Biblical Womanhood and Christian Living

Devotions or Commotions?
By Jennifer Self
Aug 21, 2007 - 9:37:26 PM

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Strolling along the beach, you lurch forward suddenly as your toe catches on something almost buried in the sand. As you steady yourself, you realize that it is a magic lamp. You rub the lamp and a genie appears. He grants you three wishes in exchange for setting him free. You don’t hesitate with your first wish. “I wish that I could have more time each day alone with no one demanding my time!” And then you wake up.

I imagine just about every mother of toddlers has had this dream at least once, but each time she awakens to find a little face peering at her and a high-pitched voice calling, “Mama!” As she rubs the sleep from her eyes, she hears the baby crying from the crib in another room. Struggling out of bed, she pads into the room to quiet him and finds he has soaked through his diaper and the bed needs changing. Walking through the kitchen to the laundry room with the soiled sheets, she stops to get two sippy cups and fills them with milk.

As she loads the sheets into the washer, she hears a crash and the unmistakable sound of an entire gallon of milk coating the floor she just mopped the night before. Grabbing some towels from the floor of the laundry room, she cleans up the floor and glances up at the kitchen clock to see that it’s not yet 7 A.M. She goes through the motions of dressing children and fixing breakfast, hoping to get just a few moments alone to pray and study God’s Word. Sound familiar? It’s likely that when the day starts like this, nap time will not go smoothly either and her time will not be hers again until she is too tired to do anything but fall into bed.

The temptation for us as mothers is often to feel sorry for ourselves because we have to do everything, to feel resentment to our husbands for “enjoying themselves” at work while we suffer through the day, and to long for the days when our children are grown and we have our life back. This is a perfectly acceptable attitude according to the world in which we live. We are told daily to stand up for our rights and to carve out time for ourselves above all else because we deserve it. The problem is that this attitude is not at all like the attitude of Christ, Whom we are to emulate.

 

© Photographer: Noriko Cooper | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The book of Matthew records an interesting series of events in Christ’s life. John the Baptist, a relative of Jesus, had just been murdered by King Herod. When Christ’s disciples came to tell Him, His response was to withdraw to a desert place alone. My imagination fills in the details: Jesus was saddened at the death of his dear friend and needed some time alone to pray, weep and sort through all the emotions he was experiencing. But what happened when Jesus got to the desert? God’s Word tells us that a multitude followed him! I never read where Jesus spoke harshly to the people, “Don’t you understand that my friend just died and I need some time to myself? Now leave me alone.” Nor did he burst into tears and sob, “You have no idea how much I’d like just a few minutes alone. You just can’t expect me to help you right now when I’m in such need myself.”

No, Jesus didn’t even grit his teeth and tend to their needs while thinking to Himself, “I just need to get this over with so I can get back to what I was doing.” Matthew 14:14 reads, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” I see not only the action of caring for others but an attitude of caring as well; and this attitude prevailed throughout the day! It was evening when the disciples encouraged Jesus to send the multitude away so they could get themselves something to eat. You know the feeling: “Ah! It’s bedtime. Let me just get the kids tucked in, and there will be some time for me!”

But that’s not what Jesus said. Jesus knew there was more that His Father wanted Him to do for these needy people, so He willingly and happily set His needs aside to further teach and help them. After feeding all 5,000 men and their wives and children miraculously, Jesus told his disciples to go ahead of Him across the sea; and He sent away the multitude of people. Perhaps the greater miracle occurs in verse 23: “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

As mothers, we cherish this time: the time when we are finally alone and quiet before the Lord. However, just as sure as our children cry out with a nightmare or decide they aren’t going to go to bed peacefully tonight, the disciples needed something from Christ. They were struggling on the sea in the midst of a storm, and they were scared! Although our fervent prayers to God at 11:00 P.M. of “Lord, please make him be quiet!” rarely get answered, Jesus was well able to calm the sea by a word from His quiet spot on the mountain. Yet, He didn’t do that. Instead He walked out on the sea. There was more work His Father wanted Him to do, and this time it was a lesson in faith for His disciples.

I never read in the chapters following where Jesus regained his quiet time alone. He goes on to heal, teach and preach, but His own needs were set aside permanently. Significantly, I never read where His attitude changed either. He knew why He was here on earth, and He was completely submitted to His Father’s plans for Him. This attitude is expressed in John 5:30, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

Many times, I have suddenly been awake an hour or half hour before my alarm was to go off. Often, I think nothing of it and roll back over to sleep again. However, these are usually the mornings when my children decide they are going to get up with my alarm. My precious Heavenly Father knows I need time with Him before I begin to give out to my children. If I am faithful to obey, He will be faithful to give me time with Him. Jesus took every opportunity to spend with His Father even amidst the interruptions. If we do the same, we might find that the “time for ourselves” we crave is just a need for “time with Him.”

So, the next time your precious quiet time is infringed upon, remember to seek not your will but His will, and cherish the opportunity to love and teach that child which God has put into your care. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it seems the Lord’s will for me now is to play a game of Candyland.

 

© Photographer: Darja Vorontsova | Agency: Dreamstime.com


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