Thursday, March 5, 2009
Scrubbing toesies in foreign languages
You know those cool quizzes you can take to figure out your love language? Most of the questions have to do with both ways you give and receive love. I decided really quickly that when it comes to showing my love for others, acts of service is pretty low on my list. It is sad, but true.
Need a hug? I'm there. It is automatic for me to respond to anyone with physical touch (probably one of the reasons why it has been relatively easy for me to tandem nurse so long--I rarely get touched out). Need encouragement? I see God's fingerprints on nearly everyone. I love being able to give my sisters a glimpse of themselves in His mirror, that reflects them as the princesses they truly are. Need a companion for coffee? I'll meet you at the nearest Starbucks. Need your floors mopped? (crickets chirping) Um, well, I'll commiserate and leave my shoes on. God, being the wise Father that He is, understands this. So He gave me three kids.
Being a mom is an immersion course in the language of service. Your baby relies on you for everything. But love is so transforming. All of the endless daily tasks from feeding to cleaning change from drudgery to acts of love as we see the trust and delight in their eyes. We breathe in the intoxicating scent of new baby, and find joy in the middle of the night feedings, picking up dropped toys, contorting our face into remarkable grimaces in order to provoke a smile and endless games of patty cake.
Then, some irregular verbs get thrown in. Colic. Tantrums. Exhaustion and frazzled nerves. The acts of service increase exponentially in the cost for us, and the rewards disappear. Instead of gazing at us in adoration for the sacrifices we make, the little ones cry inconsolably, or act completely oblivious to the efforts we make. It's enough to make the most determined philologist want to go back to being monolingual!
Any good textbook will provide examples, though. Over and over, the Bible tells how Jesus served His disciples. He showed us that our authority isn't an excuse to demand to be served, but an opportunity to demonstrate our love to those under us. I'm ashamed to admit how often I've been ungrateful for His gifts to me. Many times, I had no idea that He had even done anything. Other times, I pouted because it wasn't what I wanted or when I wanted it. He continues to patiently wash my feet.
I'm definitely still in the elementary levels of learning to serve others. There are days when I am convinced I'm flunking. But it is getting easier. I am learning to enjoy it. At least on the good days. I am also learning to appreciate some of the unacknowledged work done by others who are serving.
Whatever you have done today has not gone unnoticed. Your acts of service to your family and others are appreciated by God. Don't be weary in well doing. Your work matters. Whether it is another load of laundry, trying to patiently answer yet another question, or splashing with the kidlets in the tub, what you are doing is of value, especially when it is motivated by love.