My friend Jenifer has been writing a series on her blog about the meaning in the everyday tasks of a mother. I wish I had time to add my own musings to what she has to say, but instead, I leave you with some links and some of my favorite quotes.
I was blessed to meet Jenifer in person a few months ago and she's just as real and genuine in person as on her blog. You may remember that Jenifer from a guest post she wrote for me a few years ago. Since that time, she has been through a lot. While pregnant with her eighth child, she had placenta percreta, where the placenta grows outside the uterus, threatening the mother's life. She chose to sacrifice and risk her own life for that of her son, and in the process almost died. She's had a long road to recovery, and we're all so grateful she's still alive to share her wisdom about life.
The Value of Making a Home
There is grace in the daily opportunity to nourish again, keep feeding, keep teaching, keep filling. The moulding of both physical and spiritual happens over time and is a result of years and years of input. Thank goodness! I would not want my children's health to be determined by one boxed Mac n Cheese dinner or their social character ruined by one maternal tantrum. Daily nourishing to body and spirit, over time, yields beautiful results. It's pretty hard to "ruin" a kid because we are programmed to be quite renewing and resilient.
(Oh, I could write ten blogs on Christ as the ultimate nurturer and constant nourisher. How I cherish my weekly bite of bread and sip of water that symbolizes Christ becoming part of me. He nourishes and changes me day after day after day, in small and simple ways. I become like Him as I feed His lambs. And, they become like Him as they see me trying day after day to be more like Him. It's beautiful really.)
We need to stop fighting with each other and start feeding each other more! Believe me- it works. Make more cookies and your children will squabble less. Ha! Do not argue or fight with a cranky child!! Feed them or help them to sleep.
The stupidest advice we ever give newlywed couples is "Never go to bed angry." No!! Go. To. Bed!!! You are probably not even angry, you're just tired. (Please excuse my random rant. Sleep and food are so related in my mind and my role as a wife, mother, and homemaker.)
Regular, healthy, beautiful meals in your home will change things.
We hunger, our children hunger, our neighbors hunger. Hunger is a gift that helps us to take time to feast upon that which is good. Hunger draws us together. Hunger pulls us back to our Heavenly Father as it pulls our children back to us. Let's kill the fatted calf! Let's rejoice when our children come to us for food! Feeding others is a privilege that we would yearn for if our children were lost or wandering. I hope Heaven feels like a Thanksgiving family dinner.
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (New Testament, Luke 15)
My relationships are strengthened as I feed others.
From the moment I first bring my newborn baby to my breast to eat, I am bonding that baby to me. Children learn early that mother and father equals food, warmth, protection, comfort and love. I am teaching my children over and over and over again as I nourish them. I am blessing them with a secure foundation as I consistently feed and serve them.
As we feed bodies we are loving souls. Feeding bonds. It is beautiful. God must have known this when he created bodies and children that required food.
Can I tell you a thing or two about changing dirty diapers?It is a privilege!!It is a skill!It is an act of service that is healthy, bonding, and crucial.
I do not bask in poo, but I cherish the opportunity that I have to serve my baby often during the day.Keeping his bottom clean and healthy is important to me.
I teach so much as I clean him.I teach him to trust me.I teach him to lay still and be calm.I teach him to find his eyes, his hair, his ears, his nose, his tongue, his toes.I teach him animal sounds.This is the game of responding-- I ask, he answers. What an essential skill for him to learn.
As I change his diaper, his eyes are close to mine. We connect, we sing, we bond!!I choose to love changing diapers!!!I want my child to feel loved, not dirty and annoying.I CHOOSE to love changing diapers because I love the child I am cleansing.
I love cleaning dirty toilets.
For almost one year, I laid in bed unable to lift, clean, or even potty.I watched people I love serve me.I watched people I love clean my toilets.My body ached to work, my soul yearned to serve.I wanted desperately to clean my own toilets-- and today I can!!!The ability to clean my home is a gift.
As I read holy scripture, I find a God who cleans.
2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 8)
If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.Don't you love those words?
God doesn't ask us to repent because He expects us not to sin.We repent because we are mortal and sin is part of the plan.Repenting is a joyful gift, an opportunity for cleansing and growth.Cleaning is like repenting.
We clean because mess is inevitable.We clean because work is worship.We clean because we are hopeful and grateful.We clean because cleansing is holy.We clean because it is a service and a sacrifice.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven (New Testament, Luke, Luke 7)
I believe I clean because I love much.I believe that as I serve I am sanctified and cleansed myself.Yes, I find cleaning to be a holy sacrament.I feel privileged to be able to serve my family.I love to clean.In the repetition of cleansing I am purified.Life, with clean diapers, wiped counters, shining toilets and vacuum lines is good.Life, even with stinky diapers, sticky counters, ringed toilet bowls, and crumby carpets, is an absolute gift.
But really, you should click, click, click on those links, read what she has to say, and let it sink in as you perform your own everyday, repetitive, nourishing tasks in creating your own little safe haven in this troubled world.