Tonight, my friend Kevin was scheduled to preach at his church and then be commissioned as he leaves for the field of Zambia on Tuesday.
I wanted to go more than anything. But, I didn't.
Why? Oh, let me give you just a few reasons.
1. I was out for six and half straight hours yesterday and, as a home-school mom, it is against some unwritten law to leave your children for two days in a row. If you do, the penalty is a torrent of tears, wails of "Mommy!!!!", and, worse than any punishment, the feeling of guilt the entire time you are away. (We weren't all going to be able to go for various reasons.)
2. It would have meant that Eric would have to make dinner, get the kids ready for bed, etc. alone for the third night this week. He doesn't mind and he was willing to let me go. It's just that guilt-thing again.
3. My four year old got into a tube of orange acrylic paint. Need I say more?
4. I needed to feed my 6 month old.
5. My 2 year old held up a book and with her big smile and even bigger blue eyes, looked at me and said, "Weed it?"
Very pathetic reasons, I know, but all tied up in this last reason: when you're the mom of seven kids (even of just one), your life is not your own.
Am I the only one who sometimes feels resentment about this? Forgive me, but here were some of my thoughts tonight:
"This is the ONLY commissioning service Kevin will have and he leaves in 2 days. I would love to hear him preach and wish him the best. But, no, I can't leave because I'm supposed to stay here with my kids even though I'm here seven days a week. Not that they appreciate the fact that I'm staying home for them! I can't even go to church! I stay...for what? To hear children argue and to have paint explode all over my 4 year old and his surroundings?!"
I didn't say these things out loud. Only the Lord heard my cry. Speaking of crying, yes, some tears were shed. Sometimes, I get so weary of disappointment and having to "sacrifice" the things that I want to do.
These were my fleshly feelings. Praise the Lord, for His mercy endureth forever! The above thoughts did not last long because I knew they were wrong. I have learned enough that it doesn't pay to wallow in self-pity. What good would it do my family if I "sacrificed" my plans and just sulked all evening? Sulking cancels out the sacrifice.
Reading a book to my children, being a part of our family Bible reading time, kissing them good-night is what God wanted me to do tonight. Doing it happily took a bit of grace, and I'm glad God gave it.
I chose to have these children. They need me. My responsibility, my ministry, is to them and to my husband (who still made dinner, by the way!) - especially when it is inconvenient. And, for those of you who haven't yet found out, motherhood is an inconvenience. Truly. You just need to learn to deal with it - look beyond the inconvenience. Some day it will pay.
It did for Kevin's mom.
Maybe, one day, I'll be able to attend my own son's commissioning service - a service where one of his friends won't be able to make it because of children at home...and he'll understand.
I'll understand, too.
Wishing you the best, Kevin, and praying for you! May you continue to be used by the Lord. Keep fighting the good fight, keep winning souls, keep trusting our Saviour. He is a Friend who will ALWAYS be there!