The past several weeks have been interesting around our house.
On July 11, Peter underwent major surgery in which his heel bone was shaved and his tendon, which was on the verge of rupturing, was repaired. This surgery has required him to be off his foot for about seven weeks, which means he is on crutches, he can’t really do anything, and he can’t drive.
On July 14, Brienne underwent surgery on her knee, which had been giving her problems for several months following a basketball injury last January. Although she is now able to walk short distances without crutches, she is still recovering.
When Peter first scheduled his surgery the same week as Brienne’s, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about it. I knew I would be taking care of him, meeting his every need (like giving him a bath, y’all!) and then having to help Brienne with everything too. On top of being at the beck and call of Jonah and Vivienne, who are both still quite needy. I mean, they can’t exactly pour their own juice or fix themselves dinner.
At first, I took the whole situation in stride. I sort of liked being needed by Peter and Brienne because honestly, they don’t need me very much anymore. But as time crept on and I realized that I had NO TIME for myself, even to sit down for 10 minutes, it became more difficult to serve my family with a happy heart.
It all came crashing down one afternoon. I had taken the little kids to the pool because they were needing an outlet for their energy after being cooped up for a few days. As soon as we walked in the house from the pool that afternoon, Peter asked me to find a bill he wanted to look at and Brienne asked for a snack. (Since neither of them could walk, they had waited till I got home.) And as they made their requests, one of the little kids had run immediately to the playroom to play with Legos, asking me to look at something that had been built. And the other little kid had run immediately to the bathroom and began hollering, “Mom! Wipe my booty!”
Do you remember that old Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi? What I really wanted to do in that moment was to yell at everyone,
“No soup for you!!!”
Guess which spiritual gift I don’t possess.
Why is serving my family so hard sometimes? Is it also difficult for you? Am I alone in the way I feel?
I know this about myself: When I don’t have a few minutes to do something I want to do (whether it’s watch the news for 10 minutes or read a chapter in a book), I begin to get resentful. During Peter’s and Brienne’s recoveries, I was busy from 5:30 a.m. until after the little kids went to bed, and I didn’t generally get to sit down until around 8:00 p.m.
And let’s be honest. At that point, I was too tired to do anything I wanted to do.
I began to feel bitter.
Then one morning, I read these words:
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
That little scripture tucked away in the book of Hosea hit me in the gut. The Lord spoke to me through that verse, and I realized that I had become a “martyr” in my mind.
But I’m not a martyr.
I am blessed with an amazing family.
I decided to change my way of thinking from “I have to serve my family” to “I get to serve my family.”
That one change in thinking transformed my whole outlook.
“Father, please help me to be merciful to those around me. I don’t want to be judgmental or even a ‘martyr’ in my sacrifices. I want to extend mercy and love to my people. Help me to acknowledge you and turn to you when I am feeling weak and frustrated.”
How can you show mercy and love to your people today?
What is one attitude that is difficult for you to maintain in this season of your life?