I wake up on a Saturday with many things to do. A house to prepare for a 3:00 PM Children's Bible study; a few things to write on chart paper as part of my lesson; a baked snack to whip up.
Up first is 4-year-old Beth, who wants to read a lift-the-flap book with Mommy.
We must own at least four of the detailed-type lift-the-flap books and all of them make up my least favorite reading material. I like a story or a rhyme with a few flaps, but going slowly through many flaps, looking for this and that? It's a maternal sacrifice.
I know how much it would mean to her but I think of the time and how much I have to do and I lament that parenting is so hard.
Perhaps a mother's most difficult task is to make the right choices with her time. Growing up I don't remember more than two significant conversations with my mother, though I know I was loved. There was the house and the meals and sometimes she worked outside the home. She was a doer and like all of us, she had her demons. She was human.
Life rolled along, the calendar always announcing a new year. At 18 I left for the college dorm.
I don't begrudge my upbringing at all, especially since being a mom myself, I know how hard the moment to moment choices are.
But I have my own ideals, like my own mother surely had. I want my kids to look back and remember significant things about their relationship with their mother. I want them to feel invested in. I want to be more than someone who is always switching the laundry and sweeping the crumbs under the table, though those things are necessary.
I wrote about organization just the other day and that's why, this morning, with Beth hoping for a Little People Noah's Ark lift-the-flap book, I lamented.
If I take the time to do this, something else will be neglected.
How do I make the right choices?
As if on cue, the Holy Spirit brought my thoughts back to something I read in preparation for Bible Study, from the Jesus Storybook Bible Notes for Teachers on the Text.
Second, we learn here of the interior nature of sin. Genesis 6:5 says, "Every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time."
Sin is primarily a matter of the heart. If we focus too much on behavioral violations, we will miss the internal forms of sin. Sin is first a matter of attitude and motives, and it can influence and grow even before it has broken out into behavior.
I read with Beth, leaving the preparatory tasks for later, because the answer came to me. It's a matter of the heart and of sin, which choice we make. The right choice is always the pure in heart choice.
Scurrying around making the house perfect for a Bible Study is about me looking good as a homemaker. If my motive is about me, is it usually pure?
And a heart that sees clearly, feels purely? It comes from prayer and Scripture reading. If at each juncture I pray about my choices, and if I'm faithfully washing my heart with the Word daily or mostly daily, I am walking in His will and I can choose in freedom.
Jesus came to give Life, to give freedom, and the truth is written on the tablet of our hearts. The detailed Law spelling out meticulous behavior? It has passed away, gone since Jesus uttered in exhaustion on the cross, "It is finished". Gone since the curtain tore in the Temple and a quake shook the earth.
We only need behavior spelled out for us when we're under the Law instead of grace.
Walk in His Grace today, my mothering friend.