“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. . .
SERVING HER FAMILY.
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.
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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