Week 3, soon to be week 4, of kids home from school. School holiday, followed by several snow days, followed by sickness, and spring break is just days away. As one can imagine, life has been anything but normal here. I am non-stop canceling appointments, re-planning, cleaning (laundry and dishes I’ve never seen), nursing kids to health, running up and down stairs. Well, you get the picture. No different than your own life.
Prior to reading this book, I would have found myself day 2 into nursing sick kids, grumbling my way through the laundry, huffing and puffing by my husband in an attempt to receive sympathy or a pat on the back. (It’s embarrassing, but I can be so incredibly childish and selfish) You would likely hear me list all the ways I’d served my family all the long days long. Giving and doing but deep down wanting something back in return. A thank you. Appreciation, Recognition. Please silently nod with me that you do this too. It would make me feel so much better.
This time was different. The Lord has started something in my heart, which I’m still unsure about as He is only revealing it to me bite by bite. It’s all I can really handle at one time anyway.
Just as the snow days came to an end and school resumed, Zachary came down with something like the flu. Maybe it is, I’m not sure. Another day at home. Then another. Then the third day, Andrew came down with the sickness. Another day at home. Monday rolled around, and 2 are home again, and I wonder if they will even make it back before Spring Break begins on Friday.
On Day 2 of taking care of Zachary, I stood at the kitchen sink and felt the Lord’s presence. He spoke and stopped me right in the middle of vitamin prep and dish duty. A vivid picture of Katie Davis caring for these children in Uganda played in my head. I saw her bathing, feeding, nursing, teaching. Loving. I saw her falling into bed exhausted, yet elated and filled with a peace and joy I’ve never experienced in that way. A joy that comes from fully expending every ounce you have to love another because you have so much love for Jesus that has to go somewhere, so it pours on the ones you touch.
I saw these scenes in my head that I’ve been reading in her book. They were alive. Those scenes faded and the Lord turned the channel. This time it was a running list of the blessings I’d failed to recognize. The list of what I had to be thankful for. The Lord brought to mind the words of a friend who told me to remind Zachary how the Lord uses ALL things for good. Even our sicknesses. We’ll come back to this.
The list began to unfold.
1. I’m healthy enough to physically care for the needs of my family
2. We have stores we can get to within minutes and buy all the supplies we need to heal our bodies
3. We have fresh, safe food to nourish our sick bodies to health
4. I have friends the Lord has blessed with wisdom and knowledge to guide me in treating sickness naturally
5. We have running water
6. We have hot water
7. We have a car to get us where we need to go
8. We have doctors
9. We have money to buy our supplies
10. We have knowledge and skills to care for each other
11. At the push of a button, we have all the information we need to research anything
The list went on and on and on. Setting the dishes down, I gazed into the backyard, half slush, half snow.
My mind went back to Katie Davis. How does one live a life so selflessly, I wondered?
Here I sit in my comfortable home, and my mind threatens to whisper to me all the ways I should feel discontent. It tempts me to focus on the negatives, the sick kids, the constant barrage of the unplanned, the lack of time for me.
That is when it hit me. I’m the most selfish person I know. At the root of my negativity is my own unfulfilled desires. I just want to rest. I just want some quiet. I just want to sit and eat a meal. I just want to read a book. I just want. I just want. I just want.
So how does one combat selfishness? What is selfishness? Is it not a love for one’s own self? The best way to rid ourselves of anything is to replace it with the opposite. We can’t simply remove something and leave that empty space. We have to find the opposite to fill in the crevices.
To kill selfishness, we have to love another more than our own self. Jesus. When will the message of the cross stop shocking me? When will the gospel stop amazing me with its simplistic, yet unfathomable message? I pray never.
Jesus loved me more than he loved himself. To the point he died for me. He gave every ounce he had to save me out of love. He had so much love for me, there wasn’t room to love himself more than the ones he served. He loved me. And you. And the world.
I went back to the message from Kisses from Katie that the Lord is etching into my soul. Love. Each person the Lord brought to Katie, she looked on with love. She could only do that because she was in love with Jesus.
Eventually, my love for my family will prove to be inadequate. I will lack joy in serving them if I do it from my own personal storehouse of love. If I do it from my own strength and will. It dies. It gives out completely. I can maintain for a bit, but then it fades to misery disguised as servanthood. I will eventually attempt to paint myself a martyr for my family. Serving them because I love them so, but deep down true joy will be lacking. Then the guilt. And the list goes on.
The root is selfishness. That is where it all stems from. So I must kill selfishness. I must love Jesus more than I love me. Only when I’m filled with love overflowing, can anything pour from me into another that is sustaining.
He is ready to give us new eyes, a new vision. One that sees Him in all things.
Turning from the dishes, I slowly walked up the stairs, fully aware of this revelation God was planting in my heart. I have been praying to love Him more than anything else. And He is beginning to show me piece by piece how it will change everything.
I reached the edge of Zachary’s bed and gazed at him with a fresh perspective God granted to me. His weak eyes fluttered open, a tiny smile emerged through dry, cracked lips, and he whispered, “Thank you for taking care of me. I love you.”
The Lord fulfills every desire we have. If only we stop trying to fill them ourselves and give Him room to work.
Lord, thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you that even when we are blind, you continue to heal our sight. Give us fresh eyes to see you today. Give us hearts that love you so much there is no room to love ourselves too much. Let us love others out of love for you and not from our own storehouses, which eventually run dry. Fill us to overflowing. Amen
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