Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
This Gospel has the disciples discussing who among them was the greatest. And Jesus tells them: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then to top it off, Jesus puts a child in their midst and says, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
I love Gospels with children in them. I am blessed to spend my days surrounded by my children so I can immediately relate! And, while I realize that this is a tremendous gift (to be home with my children all day), it is a gift that very quickly feels overwhelming and burdensome.
As a stay-at-home mom, I thrive on routine (and I like to think my children do too!). When the hours are unstructured (I do schedule unstructured time!), I start to get antsy and less than my best self. When we are on schedule and the day is predictable, I feel happy and fulfilled. I am confident in my abilities to take care of my family. Prayers of gratitude for this amazing vocation roll off my tongue easily and frequently.
Problem is, by their nature, children are very unpredictable! Mixed in with the sweet displays of innocence and affection that melt your heart, there are equal numbers of bad moods, tantrums, illnesses, and meltdowns. It is so easy for a mother to go from feeling competent and pleased to feeling completely defeated…in a matter of seconds! And this can happen many times a day.
During the down moments, it is helpful (if only I remembered more!) to reflect on the Gospels about children. Jesus knows that children are unpredictable and less than lovely at times, but it’s not despite these things that He loves them so much…perhaps it is it part because of these things.
Small children wear their hearts on their sleeves, they do not over-think everything, they do not judge people, and they are quick to apologize and to try to be better next time. Those are some pretty nice qualities that adults would do better to emulate at times.
And, as I hug my children (or at times simply attempt to deal with their needs with love and patience), I am receiving Jesus. And I will (if I remember to ask for it) have the grace to persevere…with happiness and peace!
As a mother, what ways are you most successful at putting yourself last? When is it most challenging to “be last”?
Thank you God for the gift of my children. Please help me to always receive them as Jesus does.
Copyright 2014 Trish Bolster