“If you don’t like children, why’d you have so many kids?” my college son asked me one weekend when he was home visiting.

I turned from the kitchen sink, stopping mid-sentence, realizing he had just busted me on the attitude from which I was serving my family.

Wow. I had been complaining and whining while I washed dishes, loaded the dishwasher, and cleaned the kitchen after a great family dinner with my husband and six children.

But, here’s the crazy thing…

I actually LOVE my family!

and I truly LOVE serving them!

But my grumbling, be it ever-so-slight, was certainly communicating a much different message.

I heard the gentle, yet piercing words of my twenty year-old son, and ashamedly acknowledged that it was truth. Turning to look directly into his eyes, I humbly said, “John, wooooow! You’re right. That IS the message I’m sending, but it’s actually far from the truth.” I went on to thank him for speaking truth that revealed a sin pattern of mine. I asked forgiveness. I determined to pay attention to my moanings and replace them with gratefulness in serving.

It was kind of an attention-getting, action-altering moment for me. One that made me consider the message I unknowingly send that reflects a heart of self-focus.  That’s right. My behavior flowed from the condition of my heart. Maybe I had a spirit of grumbling that I’d never noticed. Hmm. Or maybe, I just wanted to be appreciated. No matter, I was at fault.

“I teach parenting.” That’s the phrase I jokingly say to the kids or utter under my breath when I’ve done things far from representing wise parenting.

I reflected on that memory this morning as I was studying in Elizabeth George’s devotional, Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman. A godly woman, as seen in Proverbs 31:14 -15 is enterprising and serves her family with diligence and delight – even placing an importance on serving her family with “food.”

She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.

The picture is of a sailing ship and a woman running her daily errands. The thing that “puts the wind in her sails” as she runs to and fro to gather up goods is. . . get this. . .


She delights in the priorities of providing food and serving her family.

Here are some principles related to joyfully serving (food) to our families:

1) Actually TELL our family we love them and enjoy serving them.

2) Serve with JOY. Put to an end grumblings, moanings, and negative portrayals of serving and in its place, put on serving with joy. Whistle while you work (LOL), pray for family members while cooking, or even include them in the meal preparation by mentoring them (which means gently teaching) making the process fun together.

3)Focus on the goal and communicate it with kindness. Assign or ask for help rather than these passive-aggresive forms of self-pity: “Am I the only one that sees this mess?” or “You’re welcome for the meal. Go enjoy your TV show while I stand here and slave.” (Guilty as charged.)

4) Have good food in the home. Don’t run out. Keep an ongoing grocery list and teach all family members to write items on this list before they run out. Keep this list and a pen in the same location. Make it a priority to take care of the food needs in your home.

5) Provide dinner for your family so that it is the norm. (There will be exceptions, I understand that.) If you have to wake up a little earlier and get the crock pot going or pick up something on the way home from a hectic day, then do it. If you have to work around sports or extracurricular activities, then do the best you can during these seasons. Be careful not to have a home in which each fends for himself.

6) Make family meal-time a priority and an enjoyable tradition. Begin (or bring back) eating together at home. Sit together. Talk together. At the table. A cleaned-off table. No TV. No phones… Park those devices in the kitchen, out of sight. Every. Single. Meal. Eating meals together is actually one major way of serving your family.


This is THAT son. I’m grateful that the sweet relationship we have, able to respectfully speak truth into each other’s lives.


I also love my kids bringing their friends over. This is Kelsey and her college friends over Easter weekend.


Family FONDUE night on the last night before Kelsey and friends went back to college.

Serving the family is what we are called to do. Serving with gladness is when it becomes fun.

What can you do, dear sister in Christ, to serve your family with gladness? Share your thoughts.

Do all things without complaining and disputing.”… Philippians 2:14

Rhonda lastnight’sFONDUEnightwasFONtoDUE ellis

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  1. Mel

    Thank you for your transparency as it’s certainly refreshing. As a teacher, do I serve my little classroom with the same joy? Humbling, party of one.

    • Mel, I love how you are applying parenting to your role as a teacher! This is why YOU have been Teacher of the Year and why your class has outstanding character. Not to mention you’re a fun teacher!

  2. Lisa

    I love your transparency, Rhonda!! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Joann

    Very good. Needed this after such a long week of serving more than the usual. Lol. Tonight I took my ship & traveled afar…bringing back Bono’s. Lol.
    Have any fun ideas to do with family? Never thought about the fondue night. I will ‘experiment’ it & see if it will be “fontodo” with my 3 ring circus!
    ~Joann Gibbs

    • Love your humor, Joann. I’m still working towards getting a Fun Mom Award. I hope others will share fun ideas so we can all learn. 🙂

  4. Melody Holland

    OUCH!!! Those were my toes you stepped on!! What a great reminder actions speak louder than words!!!! Do EVERYTHING without grumbling or arguing. Phil. 2:14

  5. Mary Holley

    When she was talking about involving your kids, or whoever, in meal preparation, it made me think of whenever my adult kids come for dinner – I’ve got a 4 year old granddaughter, and she almost ALWAYS comes into the kitchen with me, and says “Momaw, is there anything I can do to help?” She LOVES to “help”! It’s so cute.

    • That’s awesome that she wants to help. Way to go on raising a child/grandchild who knows how to serve. 🙂

  6. Eileen Rohland

    Maybe if we had some of those maidservants to lighten the load we wouldn’t complain so much! 🙂

    • Eileen, I do believe there is great truth to that. 🙂

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