So much competes for my time and my energy. Moving in 20 days. Packing a house. A garage sale. Saying goodbye. Getting ready to say hello. Wondering about the future. Doing my best not to worry. Finishing up another school year. Planning (with much excitement!) for the next year of homeschooling. Doing things that fill my soul so that I will have something to draw from. These things are all in front of me, all saying, “I am most important! Think about me! Dwell on me!” And the thoughts swirl and I struggle to focus. To focus on what matters most. On who matters most.
So yesterday I just had to stop. I had to stop all that was pulling on me and begging for my attention and to instead really see these precious children. They don’t understand the concern. They don’t see to-do lists. They just see a mama who they want to spend time with. So we loaded up on the motorbike and went out to lunch. Some yummy nasi goreng ayam (chicken fried rice), root beer, and an hour of silliness. I love these little people. They tire me, frustrate me, worry me, and often make me question my sanity, but oh how I love them. And I want their hearts. If I lose their hearts, it won’t matter what other good things I have done in my life.
The biblical mandate is clear. You must care first for your family, and do it well. And then—and only then—are you free to minister to others.
I’ll never forget the stinging words of a 14-year-old girl. I was working in a residential treatment home for troubled kids. Most were Christian kids from middle- to upper-class. These were kids whose parents took them to church, smothered them with gifts, and were active in their churches, ministries, and communities. Her words, spoken on a dark night upon her arrival, were life-changing for me. I wasn’t even married, and yet I knew those words were ones I would carry in my heart forever. Words that would be part of my battle cry, part of who I would be as a mother.
“My dad was too busy saving the world to save his own daughter.”
I don’t ever want to be too busy doing anything and lose my kids in the process. Sure, there will be ebbs and flows to life. There will be time when life demands more out of you then you really have the energy for. Thank God for the fruit of His Spirit! But for the most part, our boundaries in life need to be set in a way that we don’t lose the heart of our children. If we focus on good things to the neglect of the best things, we will have failed.
So yesterday, I chose to focus on my children. To give them my undivided attention and make sure they knew—in actions, not just words—that they are important. That they are loved. That they are cherished. The next few weeks will be busy. The next few months will be full of surprises. But I will choose to focus. To focus on my calling as a mother and to strive to do my best each day so that when I lay my head on my pillow at night that I can say to the Lord, “I did my very best to be a good steward of my day, my time, the gifts You have given me, and my children. I did the work and I will leave the results to You.”