I know the busyness isn't going away anytime soon, and I've thought often these past months of the story in the Bible of Mary and Martha. Far too often I've been like Martha, scurrying around "distracted with much serving" (or sewing or cooking or planning). In light of Jesus' words "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." In another place He tells us that whatever we do for the least of these, His brethren, we do unto Him. I find it difficult to balance being with my "little ones" (I mean really being with them, paying attention to them, not just letting them roam the house) and getting my "stuff" done. Too often I, like Martha, am distracted and as a result they are getting into things they shouldn't or being unkind to one another. They I get frustrated with them, partly because of their behavior and partly because they've interrupted whatever I'm doing. I like what the commentary in one of our Bibles says on the verses about Martha and Mary. "Martha was distracted and troubled about many things in providing hospitality for Jesus. But the one thing needed was for her to listen to Christ, to hear His words- a priority which certainly does not exclude serving Him." How difficult I find it to keep this balance, to get "stuff" done but to keep my priorities in order!
I know that it's my job as Mama to keep my little ones constructively occupied, and to be continually loving, nurturing, and correcting them as needed. Both Erik and I have felt impressed to reread Raising Godly Tomatoes and to apply her principle of Tomato Staking our children. (Tomato Staking is basically keeping your little ones close at hand virtually all the time so that you can love, nurture, and correct, keeping them involved in what you're doing or otherwise occupied, and staying on top of attitudes and actions as they arise.) I've been especially impressed, and convicted, with her admonition to always consider the training of, and relationship with, our children as our top priority. For me this means that no matter what I'm doing, if something happens that needs to be dealt with, I need to stop what I'm doing and deal with it immediately. Too often I've thought "oh, it's not that important" or "I really want to finish up what I'm working on" or "I'm just too tired to get off this couch and go deal with that." These are all sad excuses to neglect the training of my children, and I'm afraid I've used them all too many times.
This is a big struggle for me, and this morning I remembered Jesus' words "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." I need to learn to choose what is needed, what is better. While my projects may be worthwhile- surely my family needs dinner- nothing should take the place of a loving and attentive relationship with Peregrine and Alethea. I need to learn to keep them close to me, to involve them in what I'm doing and to get involved in the things that interest them. I need to know when to stop what I'm doing and get down on the floor to play, to tickle, to cuddle, or when to sit down, draw them close, and read a book together. I need wisdom to discern what is needful at the moment, to lay down my plans, to set down my projects, and just to be with my children.
Please pray for me, as I seek to love and serve Christ, to sit at His feet and learn from Him by loving and serving my family. Pray that I will choose the better thing, that I will do the one thing that is needed and not get stressed out about all the other things, some of which will have to be left undone. Pray that I will not make excuses, that I will not neglect to disciple my precious little ones for less important things. Pray that I will have strength and resolve to get up off the couch when my body just feels too weary. Pray that I will put relationships first and have the grace to let other things go when necessary.
Thank you for your prayers. And if you too struggle with this, please let me know. I'd be happy to pray for you!