In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to share a present with all those mothers who look well to the ways of their household!
I did a little math this morning.
If I have 8 people in my household and I serve each of them 3 meals a day, that equals 24 meals that I serve each day. (That part of the math was simple.)
Multiply that times 365.
24 x 365 = 8,760
That is how many meals (approximately) that I serve in one year. Wow.
Why am I mentioning this? Because all of that meal-serving takes planning. We mothers need to PLAN to serve healthy, delicious meals to our family. Whistling our way though our day expecting it to just happen is kind of like believing in the Big Bang. Wishful thinking.
Moms, we are the prime ministers of our homes. Meal planning is one way of serving our families on a daily basis. Let's do it well.
And this year, let's do it pretty with this weekly menu planning sheet. This will be available for download this week, in honor of Mother's Day! Download it for yourself or for a mother who is special to you.
Happy meal planning, Moms!
(If you will excuse me, I need to go make 8 breakfasts!)
My husband and I try to set goals every year.
We have been doing this for at least the last year.
Actually, we have done this before, but this year we took it a twist further. We actually (ssshhh. . . this is a secret!) READ THOSE GOALS EACH MONTH.
Yes, we do.
One of our goals is to read our goals. It is listed right there on our goals printout. Can I promise you that we have actually accomplished that goal for the first 9 months of this year? I can't remember, but I think we have come really close. I know this: some years I forget our goals by February. This year they are constantly on my mind. The result? We are not accomplishing all of them, no, but we have accomplished many.
Part of anyone's success with goals relates to how realistic and attainable they are. That is a subject for a different post. But a good part of that also relates to keeping them constantly in front of us.
Anyway, one of our goals for this year is to strengthen Christian marriages. After all, strong marriages make for strong families. Strong families will result in strong churches. And strong churches can change the landscape of a country!
So we decided this year to do something really big. We are renting the Araneta Coliseum and will be holding the first annual Metro Manila Christian Marriage Conference (MMCMC). Tim will be sharing some of his stunning insights on How To Be a Fabulous Husband, and I will follow him with a session on How To Love And Respect Your Fabulous Husband. We are splitting this 50/50 in an effort to show that "Marriages Take Two To Prosper." (That, by the way, is the title of our new book, which will be released in May, 2015.)
Here is a picture of our venue. We are hoping for a sell-out! Buy your tickets now at 1-800-MAR-IAGE.
By the way. . .
I really hope you didn't think I was serious.
There is no MMCMC. There is also no book. There isn't even a 1-800 number.
No. The reality is that we are holding weekly small group "Couples' Nights Out" at our house. We have 8 people plus us. That makes ten. Quite a difference from that stadium with the 10,000 seats. And Tim and I aren't speaking. We are using a set of DVDs that we have found very helpful.
Not very BIG of a thing, right?
Not something to plaster on the front of a newspaper.
Not something, hardly, to write home about.
But it is a big thing in God's eyes, and that is why we are doing it. And it is a success! (I know this because of the conversations we are having and the fact that we have to shoo people out our door just before midnight. Last Thursday night we were tempted to tell our guests, "Sige, we are going to bed. Have fun together and lock the door on your way out!") Everybody is enjoying these nights.
(If you are one of our guests and you are reading this, please know that we would be happy to have you stay until three o'clock, if you want to. Seriously. We love you guys and LOVE being with you! Just put another pot of coffee on and enjoy. Yaaawn. Oops! 'Scuse me.)
How many times do we think we have to do something BIG in order to accomplish something for the Lord? I grew up singing one of my dad's favorite songs, "Little Is Much If God Is In It." It is emblazoned on my brain that anything God asks me to do is big. . . to Him. I just need to be faithful.
And we all know that little things become BIG things when they are left undone.
For instance. . .
This is why smart mamas everywhere insist on doing the dishes immediately after the meal. That oatmeal that swishes right out of the pot at twenty minutes after 8:00 in the morning somehow morphs itself into a hardened gloppy monster by twenty minutes past 8:00 in the evening.
Okay, back to marriages. How many times have you watched a marriage fall apart and thought, if only I had. . . (done something).
How many fewer children would cry themselves to sleep at night? How many fewer divorces would litter the landscape of America? How many more family reunions would take place with 37 cousins all under the age of 16 running barefoot through the cornfields at dusk in the biggest, bestest hide-n-seek game ever? How many more watermelon-seed spitting contests? How many more happy memories for the next generation?
You see? Little things, if left undone, have big consequences.
And you can apply this to every area of your life.
Play a little game with your son.
Have a little chat with your daughter.
Give your husband a little kiss.
Clean that little bathroom.
Bake a little cake for a sick neighbor.
Pay a little credit card bill.
Be a little friendlier at the grocery store.
Have a little compassion for the beggar on the street.
Do a little witnessing for Christ at your workplace.
Use a little self-restraint at the dessert table.
I've mentioned before that the entire Bible is pertinent to our lives, even Zechariah. Zechariah 4:10 has something to say about this very idea of despising the "day of small things," and speaks of the eventual rejoicing that will result from these seemingly little things. Read it and see for yourself. This is especially pertinent when you are a mom of many small children, like me, and entire days can be made up of diapers, dishes, and dirty laundry.
Take the time to do something little today.
It is big to the Lord.
Can we obey Christ's example of serving others through our hospitality?
I forfeited a chance to model Christ.
I am grieving about it.
There He stands, my precious Lord, asking so little of me. "Wash their feet, Laura," He says, as He sends people to me to shelter or feed. Always it is my own family. Sometimes it is other people's children. Sometimes it has been a widow, or a foreigner, or another missionary. Sometimes it is a whole family, or a whole mission team.
Sometimes He sends large groups of people and, although I fall into bed exhausted every night and wake up again still tired, the fellowship with other believers is so stunning in all its manifold blessings that I frankly don't care.
Recently He sent me some guests and half of our household was sick with a stomach virus. I was busy emptying my children's basins all night long. I was tired. I was rather sick myself. Yet there is no excuse for my selfishness in refusing to help one of my guests.
When I saw his basin needed to be cleaned, I left it for him to empty. When I saw his laundry piled high, I left it for him to do.
After all, I'm a busy mom. I have my own children to care for.
So I neglected one of HIS children in their time of greatest need.
"Feed my sheep," my Lord reminds me. And, "You ought to wash one another's feet."
I don't think His command to wash other people's feet is really understood today. A few people today practice foot washing, but usually it is a token ceremony done in a pristine church building. We have clean roads and clean parking lots and socks and shoes in which to walk to those pristine buildings. Jesus and his disciples walked through muck. . .in sandals.
After one such journey the Lord Of All The Earth wrapped a towel around himself, filled a basin and knelt to wash twelve pairs of filthy feet. And when He came to the Betrayer, whose greed was in fact idolatry, Christ did not hesitate. He lovingly took those feet also and washed them. Surely He grieved as He watched the filth come off the soles of that man but remain in his soul.
Find those who need it most and wash their feet.
We love to serve others in fun ways. "You need someone to take the guest speaker out for ice cream after church, Pastor? Sure, we'll do it!"
But. . .
"House a family with four kids for a week? Er, sorry, we just aren't set up for that."
People have washed our feet in so many ways:
We will never forget these people. They are fulfilling Christ's command in a marvelous, self-sacrificing way. They are modeling Christ for the world.
"You ought to wash one another's feet."
I wish I could turn the clock back. I want another chance to model Christ in a difficult way. Maybe He will give me that chance.
But in the meantime, if you will excuse me, I have some laundry to do for our guests.
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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