Friday, May 18, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Homemaker—den Boer

Tuesday morning I awoke promptly at 6:30 to the smell of bread baking in the bread-maker and the sound of the baby fussing in her crib. I shuffled down the hall to the baby’s room. Little Elizabeth smiled winsomely as she arched around to greet me.

Sixteen and one quarter hours later at 10:45, I filled the bread-maker with ingredients and shuffled off to bed. My question is, did anything in those 16 hours between emptying and filling my bread-maker produce fruit that would last?

I could rate my activities by how soon they would have to be repeated. Filling my cupboards with clean dishes from the dishwasher wouldn’t have to be done again for another eight hours. Washing a load of baby Elizabeth’s diapers was good for two days. Having the rugs shampooed and scotch-guarded would last up to a year.

On the other hand, something relational like my reaction to the question by the carpet-cleaning man when he heard baby noises, will possibly become what is called a lasting memory. “You have grandchildren here?” is not what this mother of a seven-month-old wanted to hear. I’m only 45. I told him rather pointedly that the baby was mine. He got embarrassed and mumbled something about his own grandchildren.

If I took an eternal measuring stick to the day, I would have to look at deeds done for others. What were my motives?

I like to think that each of the six times I fed the baby I did it out of love...or was it duty? And each of the half dozen times I changed her diaper, I did it out of love...or was it necessity? Genuine love caused me to wave at my eldest daughter Angela on her way to work as our vehicles passed each other on the street...or was that pride? Surely, love motivated me to let Paul stay home from school. He was covered with an itchy rash. Or was my motivation fear that he would contaminate his school mates?

Love certainly didn’t figure in as I spring cleaned behind the refrigerator. I did this to appease Marty who doesn’t like dirt. Then again maybe I did it out of love for Marty. I finished designing a two-page newsletter on the computer simply for money, although I did enjoy doing it. (Was this love?)

I drove a neighbour who doesn’t have a vehicle over to the Housing Authority so she could pay her rent. I did this because she asked—or was it because it made me feel good? Or was it love?

When Nora, whom I hadn’t seen for 20 years, phoned me to invite our family to her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I chatted for a quarter hour, I was genuinely interested in her family—or was I just nosey?

At the end of the day, all I can say is, “Lord, purify my heart.” I want love to be my motivation and I want to be pure.

I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last...I command you to love each other. (John 15:16b–17, New Living Translation)

A friend read this description of my day and immediately felt sorry for me. It seemed to her I was striving to become acceptably righteous. That is not the case. God chose me; I don’t have to earn His approval. I was merely examining my day for fruit that would last. I’ve been grafted into the vine. Now I want to produce plenty of excellent fruit.

As I complained to the Lord about my friend’s misdirected pity, I heard Him say, “How do you think I feel when people misunderstand My book?”

Excerpt from Blooming, This Pilgrim's Progress by Marian den Boer


Diana said...

Marian, I smiled at your recounting of your day. I am a grandmother, and enjoy references to being one. But I had to smile over the man mistaking you for one. I am 15 years older than my sister and more than once she has been mistaken for my daughter. (I have a daughter who is 8 years younger than my sister and when they are together I can see how one could assume they are sisters.)
I also appreciate your examining your motives and feelings. I have done that. But, in the end, we have to leave it all to God's grace, as you have done. What a wonderful Lord.

Peter Black said...

Now Ladies, I have to be very careful here ... I smile and appreciate the funny side of your day's experience as shared, Marion. :)
That said, the matter of what motivates us in doing anything that benefits someone else is a very complex matter. Some decades ago, I came to realize that so many choices I make and things I do involve mixed motives, and that if my heart condemns me I need to confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness.
But, isn't it great that God is greater than our conscience and our heart, and works through and despite the dust of our humanness, to bless others.
It's better to do good than not to do it; there's a grace to take care of our motivational weakness!

Glynis said...

Well, this post surely stopped me in my tracks. Yes, 'tis a good exercise to go over the day and check our motivation! I think I will ask for that same 'purify my heart, O Lord' direction. Good advice!

Popular Posts