The moment I wake-up, my children need me. The alarm of a crying toddler seeps through the bedroom door as he fights with brother over a lego guy, when dozens more lay on the floor next to him.
Then the baby cries. I look at the digital clock. She’s a half hour early. I guess breakfast will wait.
I pick her up and walk by the piled laundry on the on dresser—clean—half-folded. My goal is to put away laundry today. That’s been my goal all week.
Motherhood these days seems like running on a treadmill.
I work hard, running as fast as possible, yet remain in the same place, so it seems. The floors still stick, the fun craft project sits in the drawer, and the lighted Christmas tree glistens in the living room—half-way through January.
Where is the significance in all of this running? Am I just surviving or making a difference?
This morning, instead of the tears that often wash my discouragement, the Holy Spirit popped an image in my mind:
Jesus taking off his outer garment and girding himself to wash the disciples feet. (John 13)
How is motherhood like washing feet? I inwardly ask the Spirit.
Answer: Leading by example in humility and service.
Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, teaches us three ways to follow Him:
To serve, to wash, and to lead through example.
To Serve: (John 13:4-5)
When he washed the disciples feet, he humbled himself from master to servant. How could this teacher, a master, wash the feet of His followers? Humility. Like Jesus’ example, most of us mamas live serving in obscure humility, even though we are teachers and one in authority over our children.
Significance in the Kingdom happens when we serve in what seems insignificant. In the Kingdom of God, we find significance through service. Significance is service.
To Wash: (John 13:10)
When Jesus said, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean,” he was teaching a spiritual lesson through physical imagery. The Spirit washed us clean when we first believed. Now we only need to continue confess our sins to be completely clean spiritually.
As moms, when we teach our children about the Lord and His grace, or model confession and forgiveness, we participate in washing them spiritually. It is still the Spirit’s work, but we enter into that work.
Significance in the Kingdom happens when we wash one another with truth.
To Lead Through Example: (John 10:14)
Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” Motherhood is like Jesus washing feet when we lead by example in physical service and spiritual nourishment.
So, mamas, whether we wake to the alarm of a crying baby or the smart phone tune, let’s stop grumbling and humble ourselves to serve, wash, and lead through example.
Our significance rests in our willingness to follow Jesus.
I hope to get to the laundry pile, but either way, I will set aside irritation and embrace the irrigation of the Spirit. When I follow Him I am at peace, even when the house is full of “zoom!”, giggles, and tears—and silence evades for the next 18 years.
God, thank you for leading by example when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. I desire to live a life that’s significant for the Kingdom and not washed away with the dirty dishes. Please, help me, oh Lord, to see the vision of service as significance. Lead my hands to Your work today. Help me be faithful to whatever that is, whether in obscurity or in the spotlight. And in eternity, take my service and multiply it for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.