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What are YOU doing?

Often, when I ask my children to do something, their first reaction is to ponder what their siblings have to do. "Peyton, can you clean the litter boxes, please?" Looking around, he asks, "What do Chloe and Lily have to do?" We spend a lot of time telling our children, "Don't worry about what other people are doing; worry about yourself." But I realize that a lot of the time, I worry about what other people are doing too.

Yesterday, we returned home from dinner with my family, and Brad put the children on various tasks; I went to do laundry. I hear them, "This isn't mine." "Why do I have to put this away?" "What's Chloe doing?" "What are YOU cleaning?" "Where's Mommy? Why isn't she cleaning?" Giggling to myself, I hear Brad say, "Don't worry about what Mommy is doing; she always cleans up after us." I love that guy. But I thought about how many times I've wondered what would happen if I only cleaned up the messes I made. I've even posed that to the kids. What if I only did MY laundry or washed MY dishes or picked up the toys I got out? I shudder to think about it.

I read a scripture, and I can't remember the scripture or the exact wording, but the gist was: A man was a faithful follower of Christ, yet he was poor, hungry, and generally physically suffering. He looked at another man, who was a big jerk but had money, fine clothing, a big house, and more. He asked Jesus why the discrepancy. Here he was a good and faithful disciple going without while this other guy had so much. Jesus basically responded, "Don't worry about him; just follow me."

Ugh...just like my kids. Moreso: Just. Like. Me. How many times I have bean counted. How many times I have looked at others and wondered why their life is so easy when they go about screwing people over, lying, cheating, and so forth. And here I am, trying to love God, love my family, be honest, do the right thing, and I never seem to catch a break. I guess I should clarify that by break, I mean a big pile of money falling into my lap. I am very blessed and grateful for my marriage, health, wonderful children, but we have always struggled financially, and it seems like we always will. The light at the end of the tunnel is dimmed significantly by trading bankruptcy payments for tuition.

Recently, reading the story about the prodigal son, I realized I could identify quite clearly with his brother. The good son, who stayed and helped his father and felt taken for granted when his low-life brother finished gallivanting about sowing his oats and returned home to feasts and celebrations. While his brother felt put out feeling that he'd been there the whole time, doing the right thing and nobody ever threw him a party. I have felt like that brother too many times to count and begrudgingly attended more than one celebration for more than one prodigal son.

So in this whole round about way, I think I came back to Jesus. Always cleaning up our messes. Always answering our prayers. Always there faithful as we bring drama after drama and lay it at His feet. A few weeks ago, a couple of my facebook friends got in an argument that resulted in a lot of judgment, name-calling, and questioning of each others' beliefs and even morals. All I could think about, as I read their disparaging remarks was that He died for all of us. Who are we to put ourselves above anyone else or judge their beliefs or to tell someone else that God doesn't look favorably on them when we are all in the same boat? God sent His Son to die for all of us.

So, I am trying to remind myself of that, when I look at certain people whose actions seem deplorable, in my estimation, and I tell myself, "Jesus died for her too." The people who go through life never doing one thing to better themselves. He died for them too. The people that lie, cheat, and steal their way into better jobs, or positions of power or whatever. Yep, them too. The people who are mean and judgmental and nasty and treat other people badly. Them too. Overwhelming. Who am I to even consider what someone else might get when I have so much? Who am I to wonder why someone doesn't treat me better, when God sent His Son to die for me? Who am I to question how many lavish vacations someone takes, when I have been promised eternal salvation?

I think about loving with no expectations. How I love my kids. No matter what they did, what they believed, how horribly they messed up, I would never love them any less. But I can't imagine ever loving anyone so much that I would give one of my children's lives to save them. And that's how much God loves us? Every last screwed up one of us? I just can hardly fathom love like that.


  1. Great post. A good reminder!

  2. As one of those prodigal brothers, I can only say...where's the fucking pie?


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