A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So I Blow It... and Learn What it Means To Die to Self

Yesterday I blew it as a mother. I could blame the 3 year old but I know better. On the positive side, it led to me thinking of a biblical injunction that I know quite well but understand very little about. My application of it leaves much to be desired.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 ESV)
It's one of those verses I've memorized but not hidden in my heart. I've been guilty of muttering it glibly without comprehending the gravity of its words. I don't think I've really understood its practical implications until now. It is a difficult verse because at its heart, it defines in no uncertain terms what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
To follow Jesus is to deny self and to die to self. The idea of the carrying a cross daily suggests a commitment to hardship and even death. So what is the death that we are to die every day?

For me, being a mother is undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever done.  Reasons abound I'm sure. But the one thing underlying it all is that every single moment that I'm with my children I have to renact the death to self. It is a battle between my needs and their needs, my wants and their wants. At the back of my mind I know I could be somewhere else doing something else but instead I have to put their interests ahead of my desires.

The 3 year old with all her endearing qualities is a much less adaptable child than the 9 year old. She is extremely active and wears me out (and down) with her insatiable need to explore and lay her bullet-like fingers (fast and destructive) on anything and everything edible and inedible. The worse thing (for me) is that at age 3, she's decided that she only needs to nap 2 or 3 times (if I'm lucky) a week.

Yesterday, I became cantankerous with a child who didn't want to finish lunch and didn't want to have a sleep. I don't know why. I suppose I was tired myself and wanted a bit of peace and quiet before picking up big sister from school.
I dozed off in front of my computer and then woke up when I heard a "clang" in the distance. *Sigh* No rest for the wicked.
Later on in the afternoon, I pottered around in the bedroom, leaving the 3 year old under the supervision of the 9 year old (not my brightest moment). I emerged some minutes later to see afternoon tea on the floor... juice and yoghurt smothered all over the pearly white tiles.
More cleaning. Not my idea of paradise.

I was irrationally resentful and then later as I was getting dinner ready, those words of Jesus came to as an icy cold splash of  a reminder that mothering was part of my walk with Jesus. I am the adult in the relationship although at times I wonder about that too. But with more years behind me, I should know better. A 3 year old is self-centred, led by childish impulses and needs to be trained in the art of self-control.

But this adult needs to be realistic... to set aside self so that the child can one day become the adult that learns the meaning of denying self.


  1. I hear you loud and clear. Being a mum is so challenging in every way. Yet I feel it brings us closer in our walk with Christ as we look to Him as the ultimate example of a parent and also to totally depend on Him for strength as we relate to our children. We all have moments as parents we'd rather forget. God knows your heart - and it's wonderful that you're sharing that with us.

  2. Every time you write about mothering I feel like I'm reading about myself. It's comforting to know that other adults struggle with all these things too.

  3. it's amazing how a small creature can somehow give their parents some perfect days and some hellish days!


Let me know what you think!