I went to boarding school at a young age, and my parents traveled extensively while I was away. Families of the friends I made at school had to fill in a lot of gaps. One mother who took the time and effort to pour into me as a young lady was Liz Moore.
Liz was the mom of my dearest friend Beth. Liz was beautiful, head to toe. Hair always done, dressed to the nines, and full of southern grace and grit. She lived by example and preached with her life more often than her words.
Liz worked tirelessly to help her husband’s business, her daughters with schoolwork and also served ministering to her church and charities. But the priorities never got confused. I remember vividly a conversation I had with her as a 16 year old, and in many ways it has guided me through more decisions as a mom than anything else. “Lyette (said with three syllables instead of two -“LEE-eu-tt” – because as a Texan, it really does take three) just remember, lots of women love to do ministry, but they leave their first ministry at home. Then they wonder later why the children don’t love church and refuse to serve or follow Jesus.”
Ladies, I know there is always someone, somewhere, asking us for something. Can we help here? Can we volunteer there? Just for a few hours? Can we please serve just once a month? Can we give a little time to this charity, this ministry?
And I also know it is possible to do SOME of these things. I have definitely served my church and my community. David has taken some of them on missions trips. We have served as a family to those in our community in need of help. But I always check to make sure that the service FITS within the time frame I can easily work through, that none of my other responsibilities go undone BECAUSE of said service, and that my children are not in any way put aside. Because you see service can sometimes be a clever disguise for running away from issues we don’t want to face at home, in our marriage, our children, or even ourselves. Serving can become a placater of purpose, a side street to sanity. I recently counseled a wife whose husband said at the holiday dinner table he was DONE (and he LEFT). He was tired of all her running about and ignoring his needs. Thank you sweet Jesus they have since mended many of their issues, but this man was ready to leave his family because of the hopelessness he felt in part due to his wife’s inability to say NO when someone or some organization asked for help.
This reminded me of what Jesus said. “The poor you will always have among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:8)
Perhaps I am just super sensitive to this issue right now. I know I won’t always have all my children under one roof. I understand that our days are limited to be together and so every moment spent apart had better darn well be worth it. There will always be the poor and needy, but there will not always be another Friday movie night with everyone. The Saturdays with nothing to do but enjoy a sunny day at the beach with every family member will sooner rather than later involve plane tickets and months of planning and scheduling. Ladies, prioritize. Enjoy every minute you can together. They grow up faster than you think and then…you can serve until you drop.