Parenting Against the Grain: How Do I Teach Them to Serve?

The older I get, the more I realize how “against the grain” living the Christian life is.  Against the culture’s grain, and even against the grain of my flesh.

We have to constantly weigh our own thoughts, feelings and tendencies against the wisdom of Scripture.  In truth, we must ultimately fall more in love with our Savior, and less in love with ourselves, with the approval of men, and with what the world calls happiness.

As I was reading the passage in Matthew–the most bone-chilling words in all of the Bible–this morning about the Judgement and the sign of Jesus’ “knowing” us, I was reminded so powerfully about my job to live out and to teach my children about the most important thing on earth…

SERVING.

It’s the sum total of the gospel.

But we like to think of serving in a neat little, do-able package.  Like when we do a good deed, or remember to put someone first every now and then.  But when serving crosses over into interference or inconvenience, that’s where we draw the unconscious line.

Jesus-serving is not always pretty and sparkly.  It’s grimy and it involves being used up. I think of Mother Teresa as probably the most incredible example in all of mankind of this kind of serving.

Where we “can’t afford” to serve too much, discussing our plight over a Starbucks latte, she was content to own the clothes on her back and walk everywhere she went.

Where we are just “too tired” to give anymore, she wore a weathered face that publicly shouted her willingness to give beyond exhaustion.

And I can’t help but think of motherhood as I’m so often prone to add up all the hours of sleep I’ve missed, or the lack of silence, or the raw fact that just going places in this season in life can be stressful since 5 of my children only own one of any pair of shoes. (Think of it–whining because I can’t find matching shoes!  Realistically, we could go to the thrift store once a week and buy a practically new pair for a couple of bucks.  It’s a luxury the majority of the world can’t even fathom!)

As a mother, do I delight in the “being used up” part?  When Jesus said,

“I was hungry and you fed me; sick and you visited Me; thirsty and you gave Me drink:….in as much as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

Do I really serve my “hungry, thirsty, sick” children as I would serve the Lord?  Am I dying to self out of love for Him or because “this is just what I have to do”?

(Sharp, stabbing pains in my heart just now.)

So first I have to get myself thinking right.  Then, it’s off to impress on these little hearts the full meaning of finding one’s life by losing it.  So when we hear those ideas that tantalize our flesh–“You need more time for *you*…Don’t burden your children with work…do what makes you happy”, let the words of our Savior drown out all the lies.

“If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”

__________________________________________________________________

The best, natural products for face: Retinol Moisturizer, Vitamin C Serum, & Coconut, Honey & Aloe Cleanser

22 Responses to “Parenting Against the Grain: How Do I Teach Them to Serve?”

  1. Mrs. Santos says:

    What a good post. And convicting. Serving the ones God has put right under our noses as unto the Lord…I needed that.

    Another reminder too of how Jesus came to show us how to live. He lived GOD’s will not his own. Do I live MY will or His will? Thank you, Kelly.

  2. Sheila, Mama to Six says:

    Say what you will, but don’t you bring in Starbucks lattes! 😉
    Seriuosly, great post.

  3. Diane says:

    Oh Kelly, when I read the title of this post, I thought it was going to be about training our children against the grain of their own sinful natures. Imagine my surprise and chagrin;) to read on and find myself convicted of my own tiny petty selfishnesses.

    You wrote: “As a mother, do I delight in the “being used up” part? When Jesus said,

    “I was hungry and you fed me; sick and you visited Me; thirsty and you gave Me drink:….in as much as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

    Do I really serve my “hungry, thirsty, sick” children as I would serve the Lord? Am I dying to self out of love for Him or because “this is just what I have to do”?”

    *gulp*

    I consider myself spanked, and I thank you most sincerely for the kindness♥

    “Faithful are the wounds of a friend”
    Proverbs 27:6 (i think)

  4. amy neeley says:

    awesome. thank you!
    in love.
    amy

  5. Word Warrior says:

    “Spanked”…lol! Diane, I felt spanked myself, even as I wrote it.

  6. ycw says:

    Thank you.

    I think I knew that I needed to delight in this newborn season, not just survive it, but living it consistently is hard.

  7. Leslie from VA says:

    Thank you, Kelly. ((hug))
    As our children get older, there is a new level of dying to ourselves as Mommas to serve others in our family and our LORD. I have SOOOOOO much to learn.

  8. Margaret says:

    Mmmmm. The concept of being “used up”, even for such a worthy endeavor as motherhood (and marriage, for that matter), isn’t very popular is it? Doesn’t feel good to me, either.

    Ouch.

    Thanks for that reminder.

  9. Heather says:

    This post reminded me of a quote I recently read on another site I frequent–It’s concerning the taking up of one’s cross.

    http://gabbardblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/take-up-your-cross.html

    Isn’t it interesting how Jesus’ entire life was one of humble service to His Father–From the moment of conception, (He carried the stigma attached to “illegitimacy” His entire life) to His dying breath on a Roman cross, after He’d been whipped,stripped naked, mocked.

    He asked that we might be forgiven by His Father as a personal favor….

    I’ve often been pulled up short when I realized that my “suffering” doesn’t even scratch the surface of what our Lord went through. I ought to be thankful to imitate His example out of gratitude for what He’s done for me.

  10. Kim M says:

    Wowzers I needed that. Thank you!
    P.S. I had to chuckle over the shoe issue (relating and I only have three!)

  11. Amy says:

    This is great! I think the term ‘spanked’ articulates the sentiment precisely. 😉 I have rediscovered your blog recently and have been so ministered to by going through your archives. I love being challenged and it can be hard to find these days in a ‘whatever works for you’ society.
    I notice you’re a Voddie Baucham fan…me too. In fact, he used to be one of our elders. It was so funny b/c on our way to visit the church for the first time (4 years ago), my hubby said, “I hope the preacher steps all over my toes and gets in my ‘business’.” Pastor Voddie was preaching that day, and he delivered!

    As a mother, do I delight in the “being used up” part?

    Thank you for this! This will linger…

    Be blessed.

  12. Kelly L says:

    Maybe because it is because I only have one I don’t feel so convicted. But I think Mother Theresa is not our model. She had all her heart to give everyone around her. We have our heart to give to our husbands and our children; a much bigger responsibility and investment. Paul said if you want to serve God fully don’t have a family. Although I do love being “used up” I complain sometimes (I realize this is sin). My sin (although it is in that) in not residing in that. My sin is that I think I can be all to everyone. I can only be what He has called me to be to those who HE has called me to. My sin is thinkinking I am in charge of knowing whom I should touch for Him.
    I think, as mothers, we want to be something to everyone. Not relying on His voice causes us problems and misery in addition to over exertion! We are called to be His…everything else (even being Mama) is icing on the cake. Just thoughts from a fellow mom.

  13. Julie-Anne says:

    YES! and again YES! Thank you for reminding me to serve!

  14. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L.,

    And very good thoughts they are!

  15. Charity says:

    What was impressed upon me as I read this and the passage in Matthew is that serving and love go hand in hand. I don’t see how you can have one without the other. I think when you choose to love, you can’t help but serve. Serving…an act of love. Maybe I should say it that way.

  16. Jess in Peru says:

    I’m still alive over here in Peru! Thank you for this post. I tend to “serve” and compartmentalize it. I think being a missionary, sometimes you tend do that. Today is a day for ministry, tomorrow is for fun, etc….but it is true, that service is an ALL the time thing – even with our kids. Thanks again!

    Jess

  17. Carmen says:

    And again…more nuggets of wisdom. Thank you for stepping on toes! ; )

  18. Jenny says:

    I can TOTALLY relate to the going places in this season comment…missing shoes. Yea, I feel exhausted after getting myself, three year old daughter, and four month old son ready to go. Then the loading them up and unloading. Goodness…but really…I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love caring for my children SO much!

  19. Sally says:

    This is a good reminder to me of the heart I need to have toward my mil who lives with us. Thanks.

  20. Laura Ayars says:

    I couldn’t help but smile when I read your post (very good btw), but then your ad underneath said, “PAMPER the woman in your life!” How do you reconcile these seemingly opposite messages… of “empty yourself” and “pamper”?? I’m not really trying to be critical, it just seemed like two different mindsets…

  21. Linda says:

    We need that reminder to die to self daily, don’t we? That old stubborn pride so quickly tries to assert self over the dirty and messy that serving goes hand in hand alongside. I really have to think of motherhood as a mission field!

Leave a Reply to Margaret

Dissenting comments are welcome only in the spirit of "iron sharpening iron"; hateful or angry responses will be removed at my discretion. You may add your gravatar (image) at Gravatar

WordPress Themes