not sure about you, but there are those things that my folks say that have stuck with me...
to this day, my dad still calls me "toots", which is pretty funny and cute. he also now calls my sweet little baby girl that, but she really is a little toot...i'm sure i was not. (ya sure)
my mom always woke me up in the morning with the exact same inflection in her voice as she entered my room, kinda sing-song-ish..."caroliiiine"...so fun. and yes, i sing-song the same to my girl..."abigaaaiill" it fits perfectly. :)
also, my mom always asked me when i got out of the bath if was "clean and sweet"? i'm not sure which one she wanted to be more true, the clean or the sweet? but i always answered with an emphatic "yes!" because i was pretty sure i was always both clean, and of course, sweet. :) so, i, without even planning to, always ask my kiddos that once they are bathed if they are "clean and sweet"? they, too, always answer with a yes. we are really quite sure of ourselves aren't we!?! :)
well....friend, today, as i lie here on my couch for the 2,924th day (a slight exaggeration) i have an empty house....a quiet house....well, fairly quiet, really. my sweet husband is happily banging around outside in the garage even as i type. our kiddos have been kidnapped. now, before you sound the alarm, it is just a metaphorical term i'm using....i know the kidnappers pretty well, so i'm good with it. :) the amazing members of our home group at church called me up last week and said they were going to be picking up our kids after church and taking them for the ENTIRE day, on sunday and bringing them back home in time for bedtime. huh!?! i didn't know what to say. i just cried. (i know, shocking!)
now, the "old me" would have panicked about the thought of other people driving my kiddos all over town town, watching them at a huge public place, feeding them (i have one with severe food allergies), just having all three of them for the entire day! ooohhhh, that would have been torture for me. literally. a day FULL of worry. actually, to be completely honest, i probably couldn't have done it. isn't that awful? what bondage worry and fear can be. uughh! it is awful!! but, thank God....that was the "old me". well, pretty much, it was. :) ok, it is pretty much the old me, but the old me doesn't live that far away from the new me and he sure does like to call up the new me and remind me of how i used to be at times like these! :( the "new me" has chilled out. some. i mean, the kids are gone, aren't they? :) i did put a little piece of paper in the boys pockets saying "if lost call this number", but is that unreasonable?? (don't answer that) i did have worrysome thoughts. i'm just being honest here. my first thoughts were on the awful movie screen that runs through my mind often enough of all the terrible things that could happen. uugggh! but PRAISE GOD i cast them down and replaced them with happy thoughts. man, my kids are going to have a blast! man, oh, man does ryan deserve these hours of freedom more than anyone in the world! and i hugged them tight, kissed them a bunch, covered their little heads with prayer and i....let...them...go.
yes, i trust the people they are with very much, i honestly wouldn't do this with just people i just"kinda" know. but, honestly friend, this is a big step for me today. and when i was talking about it to my sweet friend that would have the boys all day, she (an elementary principal and her hubby a police officer...i mean, c'mon, my kids are totally secure!) assured me that this was allowing them (my friends) to take part in a blessing as well. she reminded me, so wisely, about when Jesus was washing His disciples feet and how He humbled Himself to serve them. He wanted to serve them. He needed to serve them. to show them. little did they know...so they could serve other. but, good ol' peter insisted "no, way jose...Jesus, you're not washing my feet!" (see john 13) to which Jesus replied "unless I wash your feet, you have no part with me." and so peter replied, "then not just my feet, but my head and my hands as well!"
that is so me. not wanting to let people bless me. i am sure peter didn't feel worthy to have his Lord washing His feet. i am sure peter didn't think at all that Jesus should be humbling Himself like that, especially not for him. i find it quite ironic that the very man whose feet got soaking wet WITH Jesus walking out on that water, didn't trust Jesus enough, even still, to just let him get his feet wet this one more time.
oh, how i can relate to peter.
i don't feel worthy of people serving me. i am sure it is a double edged sword for me. and such an odd combination, too. for me, i think it is partly an insecurity thing...not thinking i deserve all thsi serving at all especially over and over and over like i am having to accept from people right now during this time. but, oddly, on the other hand, it is a pride thing...not wanting others to be in control of my life, my kids, they can't do it all as well as me. that probably makes no sense. welcome to my world. when i invited you here, i should have warned you it often makes no sense here. but, hey, the food is good. :) (or at least i think it is, but my food tastes are weird, and if you've read other posts, you know that...ha!)
anyway, i can sooooo relate to peter in the fact that he sat there and watched Jesus wash other disciples' feet...i close my eyes and imagine that it was a very moving sight. in fact, i know it was. i took part in a foot-washing ceremony once at women's retreat. it was unbelievable, and it wasn't my Savior doing it. i really cannot even imagine. but...still....peter says no. no, Jesus, you can't wash my feet. not mine. thankfully he had enough sense to change his mind when Jesus made His point clear. i, too would have said something like that..."bring on the dunking-booth Jesus, get me soaked, i'm yours! sorry for what i said before! i'm diving in!" again, i'm so visual, so i kinda picture Jesus shaking his head at peter (like i'm sure He does at me all the time) and saying (loosely translated by me) "no, you've had a bath, peter, you just need your feet washed, silly" in other words, to me, don't overdo it...you aren't who you were. you aren't that dirty. c'mon, i know you best. i know what needs cleaning. just trust me, here.
and when my friend described to me how they wanted to do something practical for us like Jesus did, it touched me. i love and appreciate SO much all the prayers people have been putting up for us. it is priceless to know how many people have been on their knees for us. talk about humbling. but, as my dear friend pointed out, Jesus also did the practical. and she was right. it was customary in that day for a servant to wash the feet of the men at the table because of the way they reclined at the low table, their dirty feet would be right in the face of the person eating next to them. their feet had to be cleaned. and Jesus wanted to be the one to do it. in fact, i LOVE how john says it in verse one "having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love." then he goes on to tell how Jesus humbled Himself to wash their feet. then Jesus asks them if they know why he did what he did. i am sure he wanted to make sure they didn't think it was JUST so they'd have clean feet for this meal. he tells them flat out in verse 16 "no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. " they loved Jesus so much and served Him, and now He was telling them they were to serve all. then, He takes a minute to call Judas out, cause let's face it, he wasn't paying attention anyway. Jesus knew that. but, to me, it's sad that the one with the dirtiest feet there missed out. but, then He tells them something new (verses 34-35) "a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
love. serve and love. THAT is how they will know you are mine. that is how they'll know. not the preaching. not the miracles. not the money you give. not the wisdom. love. that's how they'll know.
but, the two....loving and serving....they completely go hand in hand, friend.
and can i tell you how unbelievably loved and served i have been these last months and months. people have prayed. and people have completely and practically served and loved. i am so thankful that God has been stripping me of so much of this junk. and yes, it is still hard to be the one that people are still having to help out so much. i SO look forward to it being my turn to bless others as i have been blessed. but, for now, i just keep trying to humble myself and accept this blessing.
and my heart is SO full hearing my sweet husband banging around outside. he MORE than deserves this day. i can't even remember the last time he had six hours to himself to do projects, chores, or anything on his own, really. it has been waaaay too long. i am most thankful for that today.
so....where are you at with all of this, friend? are you like me...with feet that are "clean and sweet"? thank Him for that.
or are your hands wet from washing? may our great God bless you for that.
oooh, are you dry on all ends? i sure hope not.
but, if so. that can change. be practical. find someone to bless. it is easy. and more than rewarding. do it is His Name and be blessed. don't do it for the blessing. do it because He has already blessed you.
"oh, but i'm not creative, i don't know what to do."
fine, i'll help you.
put a $20 in an envelope for a friend and put no return address on it and just label it "babysitting money", and maybe they can then go on a date!
get a gift card to a restaurant near someone's house and leave it on their front porch, that will surely make one dinner easier for them.
flowers. plain and simple. daises make anyone's day brighter. they are, after all, the friendliest flower! :) (that was for you, dana!) :)
who couldn't use a wal-mart gift card!?! or target? or payless?
buy lunch for the person in the drive thru line behind you. that is one of my favorites!! that blesses the person working at the window, too. just watch their face when you tell them what you're doing and WHY! God gets the glory here, people!
maybe your budget squeaks it is so tight...i totally can relate. you can get a card of encouragement at the store for less than a dollar. look up a few verses for them, write them on note-cards so they can tape them up around their house or carry them in their car...and mail it. that is less than $2. you can afford that. if you can't let me know, i will send you the $2, and i mean that.
goodness, where did you get such great ideas?? i'm telling you, friend. my feet are VERY clean and sweet. they have been for months because of amazing friends and family.
God wants us to wash people's feet. maybe not literally. maybe so. only you know what He wants you to do.well, only you and Him, that is.
as for me...i lie here with a full heart hearing my hubby mowing the lawn now. i haven't texted once to check on my kids. that is big, people. big. and my feet are "clean and sweet". i am blessed. and friend, so are you.
proverbs 14:21 "He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy."
proverbs 22:9 "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."
jeremiah 17:7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him."
psalm 41:1 "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble."
psalm 89:15"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence"
psalm 119:2 "Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart."
psalm 128:4 "Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord."