Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Labor of Love

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” ~ Hebrews 6:10

Katy, like my older sister, Shelly, is your typical left handed/right brained, brainiac child. She is just three and a half years old, and is reading small books. Being so far advanced for herself, she decided she no longer had any use what so ever for the church nursery and needed to go to Sunday school classes with her older sister Cora and the “big kids” . I told her that she needed to learn how to write her name so when she got to Sunday school, she could keep track of which papers were hers. With her being left handed, and me being right handed, this proved to be a tricky task, but after a few weeks of diligent practice, she had it.

One Wednesday night, I saw a friend at church who happened to be teaching Cora's class that night. She saw that Katy was sad and asked why. I told her that Katy thought she needed to be in the class instead of the nursery. My friend welcomed Katy to the class, and Katy thought she was 10 feet tall. However, then next Wednesday night, someone else was teaching the class. Katy walked right in, after all, she could write her name, you know. The gentleman caught Katy at the door and said “Wait, hon'. How old are you?” “Thwee an' a half.” Katy informed him. “You belong in the nursery; this class is for 4-6 year olds.” The gentleman was looking at me, so that I would know where to place my child. He obviously had no recollection of what “three and a half meant”. It clearly means you're at least four, probably going on six or seven; one is just simply stuck in a three year old body. Duh!

Crushed, heartbroken and refusing to return to the nursery with all of the “babies”, Katy sat with Tom and I. In silent, but very determined tears, she wrote over and over on a piece of paper: K A T Y. I felt horrible. What I meant was after she was four and writing her name she would be able to go to Sunday school and be in the bigger kid's classes, but she heard “When you can write your name, you can be in the big kid's classes.” She had done the work she thought was required to go to the next level, only to be turned away because of a few lousy months.

I feel like Katy sometimes, do you? I look around at mothers like me who have young children, and we're exhausted. Then I turn my head and look at women who have older children, or their children are gone to college, and they look refreshed, wise, they're teaching a Bible study, or doing something creative that requires the time and energy that I lack. They've passed through the tough stages of child rearing, and can see their offspring walking in the way of instruction, or at least understanding the consequences of their actions and taking responsibility.

Let me finish up with a couple more verses from Hebrews 6. “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” ~ Hebrews 6:11-12 I've read this many times, but God brought it to my attention again, at a time when I really needed it. I need to press through toward the goal, and not get lazy with my children. Like Katy, when I've mastered something but don't get the result I want, I need to keep honing that skill, loving that child, seeking the Way, and seeking council from motherly saints who have “inherited the promise” of raising their children in the ways of the Lord. Motherhood is a draining task, but I need to remember to ask God for extra grace so I can minister to my little saints, and in the mean time, remember that God's word never returns void.

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