What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, September 15, 2008

Underfoot

It was two Saturday's past, warm, sunny and inviting outside. It also happened to be the first day the children and I had been able to enjoy the presence of our most beloved husband/father for more than a few hours as his work had called him away for a few days.
For nearly three days we had spread the memory of his words, his sounds, his smell and his love out; hoarding the memories and coveting the time when he would return and conserving them with fervor. But our tanks were low, we were running on fumes-and we needed him near us again.
That Saturday, before He had even woke up and been given proper time to rest himself, we famished three (and a half) came and drank him in as camels in a desert, overwhelming him with US. We hadn't allowed him time to nourish himself and so the day began grimly.
The children, wanting to be near and close to the father they love so tremendously with their entire beings were at every corner underfoot. And children underfoot of an unrested soul is never a good thing.
I was working in the kitchen, alone (and enjoying the peace, not having had it for three days) and listening to the sounds on the other side of the door~ the sound of the Papa, breaking down emptied cardboard boxes, the giggles and delight of the children as they could hardly contain just being NEAR him.
I heard impatience, and felt the stress continuing to rise as Matt couldn't come up for air.
And I prayed aloud, my hands gathering the ingredients to begin preparing our meal, my eyes glancing out the window at Matt,
"Lord, open His eyes to the love his children have for him. Help him to realize that they need to be near, and that the most precious thing for them AND him is for them to be together. Open his eyes to the fact that he ought to be HAPPY that they are underfoot, and help him to realize that if he grows impatient and stern- that one day, they won't WANT to be there. Give him patience, Lord, and show Him how important this is..."
It wasn't long after my lips became silent that the door slammed and an excited wispy haired girl came inside, beaming despite the strain obvious to me in Matt's voice.
"Mama. Whatcha doin'?" my girl asked.
"Working on supper..." my simple reply.
"Can I help you with something?" she asked, and I knew in her heart she was pleading.
"No, Corynn. Thanks for offering but there isn't much to do. I just have to make the grilled cheese and cut the cantalope and... Well, I can do it myself. It would just be easier if you ran outside and played."
"But Mama- I can get the stool, I can help you cut the cantalope. I'll be careful with the knife!" the pleading I knew was inside her was, as suspected, starting to emerge.
"Corynn." I said in my serious voice. The voice I give when she argues with the answer I give her... "You heard what I said. Go outside and play." Then, I added a strained "please." as if feigned politeness would make it all better.
She turned on her heels and headed outdoors and I heard her mutter, " All I wanted to do was help you, Mama."
Those words, deep and steeped in confusion, hit me hard in the gut. Then, I remembered the prayer I had just prayed on behalf of Matt.
And another crushing blow forced me to my knees.
I pray and I long for others to change~ but the log has not been pried from my own, blinded eyes. Full of pride, I point out what our children need (to Matt, to God, to blogdom), and how much, and when~ and yet, I don't act on behalf of that knowledge. I see the joy potential, but don't give of myself to live it out.
I stood, humbled and ashamed for many moments, not believing what had just happened and the irony of the prayer I had just spoken on another's behalf. Who WAS I?

I said a little prayer of repentence, then went outside to find Corynn. I told her that I was wrong to push her out the door, and that I would be pleased to have her come help me in the kitchen.
The rest of the evening, she slathered bread with butter as I sliced cheese and ham for grilled cheese. I took the seeds from a cantelope and wedged it, she cut the wedges into little pieces (with a sharp knife!) She pushed the buttons on the microwave and helped stir as our soup warmed. She set the table and I lit the candles. She called the 'men' in for supper as I filled the glasses.
Her little body, perched atop a stool but doing grown up things, right alongside me. Fingers working, getting soiled alongside one another, hands working to a greater, common good. That night I sought joy by giving of myself, and it was realized. But, I found out too, that giving of myself to create that joy-memory, wasn't as inconvenient as I thought. It wasn't that great of a sacrifice.
In fact, it was pleasure. It was fun. It was a glimpse into the future, when hands much bigger and more capable can work alongside me in the many projects and endeavors I have. It was the cultivating of ground so that when those hands ARE bigger, they will still seek me out to help and share, and love and give.

Lord, help me to realize my shortcomings, and to see clearly my need for change. Open MY eyes to the joy of these children and help me to show them that I want them near, that they are important and dear. Help me to cultivate the ground in this early years so that it might be fertile and grow beautiful gardens later.
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9 comments:

Kraesc said...

I just wanted to say, that you are a beautiful writer first off. I have been reading your blog for just over a month, and I enjoy it so much.
Secondly... How true are the words you prayed!? I don't have children yet, but I wish that my mother would have had the knowledge you do. So many times I wanted to help her, and she would tell me I couldn't. Over so many years, it did indeed push me away and we now have a strained relationship. I will pray for you that you may continue to bless your children in this way.

Quinne said...

Hi Rebecca :) Thanks so much for the way you shared your heart in this post. I struggle here, too, and it breaks my heart when I realize.

My heart's cry is, "Father, I want to see!" I don't want to miss a thing He has in mind.

Love to you, Q

Tracy said...

I've often done the same thing, Rebecca. It's easy to think that we are with our children all day long, but being with them is NOT the same as spending quality time. Great post!

Terri said...

Rebecca, I could of written that very post myself. It's so easy to see the specks in other's eyes but not the log in our own. I'm glad that you listened to the Lord's voice and had Corynn help. Those are the memories that she will cherish!

Alyssa Spring Corley said...

What a WONDERFUL post. Thank you so much for this..I have lot's to think about....

Victoria said...

You bring conviction so poetically!

Anonymous said...

I cried when i read this post...thank you for being so transparent. I Struggle with this same thing...with 5 Young Children..sometimes it is easier to do it myself..but your so right about Creating the memory and cultivating that Fertile Soul...THaNk You for Sharing...its a real encouragement and i needed those words today as i repent to God of my attitude..
BLESSINGs to your Household today!

4bitts said...

Wow, I stumbled upon your blog looking for 'pillowcase dresses'... and after reading a bit further I am glad I did. Thank you for your thoughts - as they are encouraging to this random stay at home mother of 2!

Mommybee7 said...

As a stay at home mother of two, I often feel as though Im strained with trying to accomplish it ALL. You remind me that it is also okay to go out and get your prescious child, despite feeling like a fool, and recovering from our shortsightedness. It makes me feel okay to be human and maybe will teach our little ones to be human. I really enjoyed the irony of your prayer, I too pray often and perhaps should stand in the mirror as I pray -- to look at myself. You are such a delightful writer and I love the way your entire blog is set up. Your children and husband are lucky to have you as their mother/wife. You seem like a delightful family =)