Originally posted on March 5, 2012
I’d been a mom for just under two years when I got pooped on for the first time.
It turns out new babies can’t quite tell when the diaper is on and when Momma has removed it for bath time.
This is one of those things you just never anticipate happening to you. You go to college, study hard, earn a degree. Go back to school and earn a Master’s degree. Teach a classroom of highly intelligent senior high students.
Then two years later you’re cleaning yourself up after being mistaken for a diaper.
Every mom has Kodak moments of familial perfection. For a few minutes, it’s domestic tranquility. Kids are healthy. They used their manners at the dinner table. The homework is done. The laundry is put away. You cooked a delicious and healthy dinner in your Crock Pot, made homemade bread, and no one complained about it at the dinner table. Your chore chart and behavior reward system are working.
You are, in fact, Super Mom. You are June Cleaver, Betty Crocker, and even maybe Mr. Clean in one grand super hero package.
Until noses start running and children start fighting when you have a headache. A stomach virus shoots through your family. You realize that “dressing up” now means wearing the jeans without the worn knees and Sharpie stains from your child’s experiments with permanent marker.
Are you less of a Super Mom now?
Partway through last week when the stomach virus hit my home, the cleaning up of bodily fluids was beginning to wear me down. It was like being pooped on . . . all day . . . every day.
I needed a good cry, a scented bubble bath, a cup of hot tea, some rich chocolate—maybe hot fudge on an ice cream sundae, a hair cut, some time to myself, someone to tell me I looked beautiful even on a day it couldn’t possibly be true.
As it was, I prayed the only prayer I was feeling at the moment, “Can you help a girl out, God? It’s pretty hard to feel like the yucky humiliation and selflessness of this job has any eternal significance. Do you even know what it’s like to put other people first all the time?”
I forgot who I was talking to.
Oh, sure, Jesus was the Savior of mankind. He had the power of divinity at His fingertips. He could multiply the bread instead of having to knead it by hand and let it rise on the stove. He could command the fish into the nets instead of pushing a cart around Wal-Mart with a shopping list, a budget, coupons, and a toddler.
When we over-romanticize the life of our Savior, we forget the utter humility and selflessness of Jesus, who:
“though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV).
Jesus emptied Himself for us. He took the form of a servant for our sake. Stepping down from a heavenly throne, for a little while He “was made lower than the angels” all because He loved us (Hebrews 2:9).
The writer of Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t just that He died on the cross, although that is more than enough. The sacrifice began the moment He confined Himself to flesh and submitted Himself to a life of hunger, fatigue, and pain.
He suffered in this way so that He could understand our suffering:
“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:14-18, ESV).
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, ESV).
Jesus sympathizes with us on our hardest days. He loves on us and showers mercy down on our lives when He sees how we struggle. Christ bends Himself low to wash our feet and heal our hurts.
This is never more true than when we’re covered in mess because we’ve been serving someone else.
This means that the most beautiful moments of my motherhood to God aren’t the ones when the family is clean, happy, eating perfect food, at peace with one another and I look like a fashion model.
Instead, it’s when I’m serving even though I’m tired or sick myself. It’s getting up early even when you were up in the middle of the night. It’s cleaning up messes and assuring sick children that it’s all okay.
This isn’t just for moms either. God has called us all to a ministry of self-emptying, of inconvenience and mess, so that we all can share His love with others.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King