Many years ago now (and sorry I don’t know the source), I recall reading another Mom’s confession: becoming a Mom showed me how incredibly selfish I was.
Guilty as charged. Over many years of mothering, I’ve slowly become less selfish and more of a “servant” (in a good, “I want to glorify God” sort of way). I’ve come to terms with the fact that a full night’s sleep is over-rated. And that when I’m short on sleep, I still need to be loving...and patient. And as you know, Mom’s don’t get sick days. Not only that, no matter how hard we work compared to everyone else, we need to be an example to our children of how to “work with all our hearts as working for the Lord” and “having the attitude of Christ,” who did not come to be served but to serve. Motherhood has given me many opportunities to put aside my flesh and my selfish desires and do what is necessary and best for my family and for the Lord. I don’t do it perfectly, but after 13 years and counting…I’m getting there.
Or so I thought.
Being “on the mission field” here in Africa has just afforded me yet many more opportunities to work on my inherent selfishness and focus on pleasing not myself, but my God.
We’re “known” here. The mzungus who have come to share the Word of God. They don’t call first, they just show up. They want to talk to “Baba Isaiah” or “Missionary Marc,” as my husband is known. And it’s my job to greet them all and play hostess. If it’s a group of women, I try to take the lead on conversation. I have to admit, that’s a challenge for me. We’re still not fluent in Swahili, and many of them know little or know English, so it’s very often…very awkward. But more than that, the visits usually happen when I’d prefer they didn’t. Like when I’ve “finally” finished my morning’s work and can finally sit down and read a book to the littles whom I can’t help but feel like I’ve neglected for far too long. Or when the children are (for once) all enjoying some free time outside and I might just be able to read a good book for a few minutes. Or it could be that I haven’t even finished the wash yet, and if it doesn’t happen soon, we’ll miss the window of opportunity on the sunshine to dry them…and once dragged in the house, there’s never enough room on kitchen clothesline for the damp stuff, and it’ll just have to get brought out to the line again tomorrow. In the middle of meal preparation? Well, turn down the heat on the unpredictable propane stove and pray that it doesn’t burn. Burnt supper? Let’s see what we can do…
I still want it my way: my to-do list (however noble the tasks might be), my schedule, my convenience.
And if they’re not coming here…Marc is going “out there.” I look forward to those precious one or two days each week that he’s supposed to be “off.” But he rarely is. Phone calls, more drop-ins, unexpectedly scheduled meetings, baptisms, paperwork to catch up on…and sometimes (in my more selfish moments), I wish we could have more family time. It’s important to us, and we do what we can with what we have; we try to set boundaries…but I have to admit, sometimes my attitude about being “on mission” and about all of the inevitable interruptions, isn’t the best. I’m still selfish.
But I’m working on it.