Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I Learned From a Bar of Soap

This is the bar of soap in my bathroom.

We began our soap journey with the typical fun loving hand pump and foaming liquid. It's easy to see that object as a toy, though and we found ourselves wasting lots of soap. As well, Lazarus had a difficult time pushing down the pump which resulted in him neglecting to wash his hands altogether. Enter genius mom moment - Bar soap! Let's go back and do things the old fashioned way. You can't mess up bar soap, right? No more wasting and now Lazzy can wash his hands!

NOPE. They ruined that one, too. They soak the soap in water until it resembles playdough. They break off tiny pieces which get stuck in the drain, clogging things up. They poke holes in it. 


Why does soap have to be SO FREAKIN' HARD!?! This lead me to realize a cold hard fact : Kids are ruiners.

It begins in pregnancy. They ruin your appetite, your sleep cycle, your sex life. They stretch you (literally) and ruin your body. 

When they're born, they ruin your sense of self and take away your independence. They stain your favorite shirts and interrupt every quiet moment. 

As soon as they are able, they leave crayons in their pockets and ruin whole loads of laundry. They demolish that freshly baked banana bread when you're not looking. They can trash a room in 3 seconds flat.

They take away your dignity any time you're in public, loudly commenting on other people's appearances and throwing fits for no reason. Heck, they take away your dignity at home, too. I can't remember the last time I used the bathroom by myself!

Kids are ruiners. They are born this way-selfish and needy with absolutely no filter. But it's in the midst of their ruining that they teach us profound lessons about life. They take your "relationships and partnerships are 50 50" mentality and flush it down the toilet. They teach us that true love and service takes all 100% of us, even if we get nothing back. And {gasp!} it's not a waste!

Pouring yourself out for the sake of relationship is absolutely worth it. Giving all of yourself is what Jesus asks of us when he says "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

I find myself crumbling apart when the kids don't say "thank you" for dinner. Although we are teaching our kids thankfulness, it's not why I cook them healthy meals throughout the day. I do it to feed them, to love them and serve them. I do it because it's my privilege to nourish them and spend time with them while sharing a meal. If it all depended on their deep thankfulness and 5 star ratings at the end of each meal, we'd all be starving! No, we do it because they need us.

Everything we give to our children is worth it because God will use it. Even the things they take for granted,  the things they ruin and the ways they embarrass you, these things are being used to bring forth life and it's worth it. Our kids teach us how to serve our spouses, friends and family. They teach us that it's okay to give your all, even if things get ruined. Because whatever is ruined cannot compare to the reward received in giving.

My soap looks weird. My favorite jeans are ruined. Dinner is burned. My cd player is broken. Cookies which are meant to be shared with our small group are stolen and secretly eaten in bedrooms before 9am. But who cares?!

Whether you're a mama with an ugly bar of soap, a nanny, an aunt or uncle, a teacher, a grandparent - I encourage you to see these little ruiners and embrace the lessons they are teaching you. In this season of life, I am learning so much about what it means to serve others. Patience is not just waiting for something. It's waiting with a happy and peaceful heart. In the same way, true service is helping those around you with a peaceful and happy heart. There is freedom in embracing the fact that things will get messy. Your stuff, your plans and your reputation might get ruined. But these little hearts will grow when you serve them anyway. It's totally worth it!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this! Just what I needed to hear. I actually have met your sister once at a friends wedding. She was the photografer and I was in the wedding party. I live in Sweden and am a stay at home mom, which is really rare here. My youngest is 3 1/2 and I'm feeling the need to do something "more meaningful". But this just reminded me that what I'm doing is the most meaningful. I lived in Bellingham for 7 years and was a teacher at Sunnyland Elementary before moving to Sweden. I do miss teaching tough. ANYWAY!! Just wanted to say thanks for the honesty. Kate Nordmark