You know, there's nothing that strikes terror into the heart of the mom of 5 like a puddle under the floor of the washing machine.
Visions of unwashed laundry mountains flashed before my eyes. . . . I was convinced (convinced I tell you!) that our washing machine had breathed its last. Fighting back waves of panic, I started surfing the local big box retailers' websites, pricing new machines. The choices were overwhelming; top-loader, front-loader, energy star compliant, high-efficiency, eco-friendly. Which one was right for our family? How in the world was I ever to choose?
Thankfully, I didn't have to make that decision - the puddle was a result of a faulty plumbing issue. But I was reminded of this moment because of a comment a friend of mine made at dinner the other night. "You once told me," she quipped, "that mothers are like washing machines. . . you have to know your capacity!"
The idea was not original to me, although I'd love to claim that moment of brilliance as my own. But it's one I've shared over and over again with many a friend and mother - truthfully, usually a homeschooling mother - when the beast named Comparison rears its ugly head.
You know the one. You've seen her, heard about her, read her blog, or heard her speak at a homeschooling convention. She's the mother who seems to Have It All Together. She rises while it's still dark, runs 4 miles, has incredible devotions, and then teaches her 9 kids from lesson plans she made up herself while grinding her own wheat for bread and keeping her house spotlessly clean. Her children are obedient, creative, and beautiful. Her husband adores her, has a successful job, and brings her flowers "just because". She's crafty, she's kind, she runs a home-based business, she ministers to orphans. . . . . . you name it, she does it. And does it well.
And you sink in your shoes, ashamed and inadequate, measuring yourself by a yardstick that will do nothing but throw your own woeful shortcomings back in your face.
But then . . .then you hear a voice. . . . . . the voice of Jesus. . . . .
"If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?
You follow Me!" (John 21:22)
Jesus was speaking to Peter; good old Peter, the one I can relate to, who just blurts out whatever he's thinking. He's comparing himself to "the disciple that Jesus loved" (John), and asking what John's future will hold. Apparently, the Comparison Beast is not new, nor even claimed exclusively by homeschooling mothers! (I don't think Peter even owned a denim jumper. . . . a little homeschool mom humor there for ya!)
But what was Jesus saying, and what can we take away, store in our heart for our times of need? In my mind, I imagine something like this:
"Peter. Have you not learned? Have you not learned to keep your eyes on Me? Not on the waves, not on the sword, not on other disciples, but on Me?"
And is that not what Jesus is calling us to as well? Dear sisters in Christ, is that not our challenge?
Keep our eyes on Jesus. Not on our circumstances, not on our curriculum, not on our husband or our children or our careers or our homemaking. . . . . .
But on Jesus.
Know your capacity. Know what God has called you to. And stay true to that calling.
To go back to the washing machine analogy. Some of us are standard washers. Others can handle a king-sized comforter with room to spare. Still others are apartment-sized compact machines.
Know your capacity. Know what God has called you to. And stay true to that calling. Not anyone else's. . . . . yours.
And it's okay, dear ones. It's okay that you can't do it all, and do it all perfectly. Jesus loves you. He died for you. Your worth does not rest in who you are, but in Whose you are.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. His grace is sufficient. His love is endless. And He - He alone - is worthy.