Loving The Least of These in my Home
I'm a multi-tasker. Because of this, I've been known to set a pot on the stove only to start on another few projects, completely forgetting about the stove until it's too late. I am ashamed to admit that I have ruined one too many pots from walking away to do something else (usually baby or business related) only to be startled out of my current task from the stench of burned food or worse, our fire alarm blaring.
Have you ever done that? I have vivid memories of sizzling drops of water at the bottom of a dry pot, choking out all that is left.
My patience seems to burn out in just the same way. I set up time with my family, only to be distracted by loving those outside my family first. When I turn back around, things are burning, they're not as they should be. I find it so much easier to turn my love switch on when outsiders enter my home – whether friends, extended family or strangers. I automatically have this patience and energy that seemed to have been bone dry before. When I do this I find that the energy left over for my child and husband are spent. My patience becomes brittle like the last bits of water drying up in an empty pot.
The problem is that this way of living is backwards. If I can’t even love the least of these in my own home, how can I genuinely love the people that come in from outside? I’m not saying this to try to evoke “you’re such a good mom!” from people. I know I’m doing okay, but this is a real issue in my heart and it needs to be uprooted. Loving those inside my home overflows out onto others, not the other way around.
If hospitality is about finding people in the margins and bringing them into the pages of our life, then how much more does that impact how we love our children and husbands? I often categorize the "least of these" as the poor, the broken, the hurting. But the most least of these in my life right now is my daughter, who relies on me to guide and train her. I honestly believe, as I've been thinking this over for the past few months, that loving her and my husband well will fuel me to be able to love those outside the walls of my home too.
It’s not that I don’t love my family, it’s that I love being good at things more than I love failing. There are many areas in life where I feel capable, but motherhood tends to not be one of them. When I know I'm failing at something, it's easy to want to fill my life with other things that come more naturally for me.
And this is where I come back around. It's challenging to press in to what I understand less, but I find that when I do, I grow more in humility and dependance on Someone greater than me to help me love my family fully and deeply.