I was thinking of this recently, in a moment of reflection. It's so easy to float through life, just doing the things that need to be done, planning and working and yes, even taking some 'down-time, so we don't get 'burned out'.
We go to church and sing praise songs, we agree with powerful messages, we lay down in our beds at night and say a quick prayer before falling asleep. We may get up early and pray for an hour before we start the day. We may read three chapters of Scripture daily - at any cost.
We may make a commitment to raise our kids in a Godly home - foregoing all the modern entertainment and distractions that are easy to provide. We home school. Or we find the best Christian/academic school possible, and send them there.
We go to marriage retreats, women's retreats, and men's retreats. We read great biographies of Godly people. We devour adoption blogs and dream of making a difference.
We spend less time on Facebook, so we can be better mothers/wives/husbands/fathers/students/Christians.
We read Godly mothering blogs, books, and magazines, and we feel guilty that we are not teaching our kids three languages and that they can't recite the Sermon on the Mount and play at least one instrument proficiently. We look around at our house and wonder if what we're doing really matters? And what are we really doing, anyways? The house looks like a whirlwind swept through - and we just cleaned it up!
My friends - what are we doing? And does it matter?
I have felt the guilt. I have tried the supermom-superwife-superChristian road. It doesn't satisfy. We are not meant to live a copy/paste life, taken from the pages of some book, blog or friend. We will fail, and fail miserably.
Photo credit to Rose Miller.
What is the greatest commandment? A lawyer asked this of Jesus one time, many hundreds of years ago. And Jesus answered:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39.
This is what it all comes down to, my friends.
Do you love God?
Do you love your neighbor?
And are you passing that love along to your children?
It doesn't matter so much if they can't say the Sermon on the mount by memory - if they love God.
It won't hurt them in life to never have studied Latin - if they love God.
They won't care if your home looked like a Pinterest home - if they know they are loved.
They may not know more than one language their whole lives - but if they love their neighbor, they don't need a language to get that love across!
You may only be able to snatch moments here and there for reading the Word of God, but if you love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind - your family will be blessed.
It may not be in God's plan for your family to adopt, go on a mission, or even be on the VBS committee. But if you love your neighbor as yourself, you will find plenty of opportunities to love on people - starting with your family.
Sometimes we need to get off our knees, and get a drink for our toddlers.
Close the Bible and open a book to read to the little ones.
Put down the duster, and pick up our babies - just for snuggles.
Stop running around for others - and take our kids on a walk.
Leave the house a mess, and go sit on the couch with our husband.
The house will always be there - waiting to be cleaned, but we never know when our family may be gone.
It is imperative that we love our children. Our spouses. That we teach our children to love God passionately. He doesn't need our sacrifices. He wants our love. He is our Bridegroom - desiring only our deepest devotion and affection. All of life and it's frantic hurrying and scurrying must fade away as we gaze into the face of our Beloved. That doesn't mean we must be hermits to be still. When we love our family - we are loving Him.
Brother Lawrence said: " I can sit at the feet of Jesus just as much amid the clattering of pots and pans in the kitchen, as I can while at prayers." (And he was a monk.)
We need to come back to the important thing in life - loving God.
We need to have a deep, passionate love for God, and pass that on to our children.
We need to learn that being holy does not mean being unreachable.
This, my friends, is what is important.