When I first began this blog last fall I mentioned that I would one day write a post about why I named it “I get to!!” I wrote the blog but never posted it….mostly because I was waiting for a day I couldn’t think of anything to say. And well, (I’m sure this comes as no surprise to Bill) I’ve never run out of things to say. Just kept writing blog after blog without giving the “back story”.
One of my friends has a website called “Moms Material” which has lots of great advice for moms, childrens book reviews, toy and game reviews, etc. She asked me to send her the story behind the blog and she posted it on her website. That got me thinking that quite possibly I should let y’all in on the story too.
So, I have posted it below. It’s a little longer than a normal post, but now you will have….the rest of the story.
A Get-to Heart in a Have-to World #
When I got married and began having children, I imagined how my life was going to look. I envisioned things like a beautiful home, wonderful meals which I lovingly prepared on the table each night, and sweet sounds of children playing as I helped another child with homework. I really wasn’t sure even Norman Rockwell could have painted a picture as beautiful as the one I had in my mind. It didn’t take long however until reality set in. Laundry piled up, my meals never looked (or tasted for that matter!) like I thought they would, floors constantly needed cleaning, children argued, and to be honest, it started to not be as fun as I had once imagined.
I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I would never get ahead. And even worse than that, I didn’t even really want to do it. I was tired, frustrated and burned out.
During this time, we took our family (ages 2,5,6 and 8) for a weeks vacation to a Christian family camp. Little by little I began to realize how much fun I was having - how much I was enjoying my family. Life seemed easy there…wonderful counselors were helping with the kids, all our meals were prepared and best of all….they swept the floor when we were finished!
The problem was that I was dreading the trip back home. I knew when we got there it was back to me again. Back to the laundry, carpool, homework, cleaning, cooking life I thought at one time I was going to enjoy so much.
Towards the middle of our camp week, the parents were given a “free day.” We could do whatever we wanted (and that included doing nothing!) from 9 AM until 3 PM. The counselors enertained and fed the kids and called “enjoy your day!” to us as we left.
I decided about mid-morning to go to the ladies Bible Study. During this time we went around the room sharing our prayer requests. Many women shared very troubling things going on in their lives….marriage problems, sickness, etc. Although I felt somewhat silly voicing my request among those, it was truly what I was struggling with and wanted desperately to resolve. I shared with the women how I felt I had lost the joy of serving my family. I felt like I had so much I had to do and never knew if I could really get it all done. It wasn’t that I was hoping Merry Maids would show up at my house (although that would have been nice!) and to be honest, I truly didn’t know how the prayer could or would be answered. I just felt I needed to share it.
Just a few hours later I went to pick up my son. I thanked his counselor and she left….and I assumed that after spending 6 straight hours in a room of 2 year olds she was off for some much needed rest and relaxation. I put my son’s bathing suit on and we immediately headed over to the camp’s lagoon for some afternoon fun.
When we arrived, the first thing I saw was my sons counselor….up on the lifeguard stand!
I called up to her….”Hollywood (her camp name), what are you doing?!”
“I’m on lifeguard duty” she replied.
“Do you not get a break?” I asked incredulously.
She responded…..”oh, this is my get to.”
“My get to….you know I “get to” do this, “ she said as she pumped her arm in the air as if to say “whoo hoo!”
It was then that I asked her…..”but do you have to?”
“Yes, we have to” she said. “They assign us our jobs, but we call them get-tos because they are opportunities we have to “get to” serve the families here. I “get to” serve on the lifeguard stand today so you can enjoy time with your family. And by serving you, I am blessed.”
I stood right there on the edge of that lagoon that day, tears welling up in my eyes, knowing God had just spoken to me through Hollywood. He had answered that prayer of just a few hours earlier. He had said to me….”Darla….you are looking at everything in your life like a have to. These aren’t have-tos….these are get-tos! You get to serve your family each and every day and by serving them you are serving me.”
I was reminded of Colossians 3:23 which says, “Whatever (the laundry, the floors, the homework help) you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (your family), since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
That experience and that verse have changed not only my attitude, but my life. I do “get to” serve my family…..the husband and the children that God gave me. And by serving them, I am serving Him. Now don’t get me wrong….it’s still hard sometimes. I still have to remind myself that it’s not my family I’m serving as much as it is my Lord. And yes, there are days that through clinched teeth I say….”I get to do this!” but when I do that…. and pump my air in the air much like Hollywood did, I am again reminded that when I serve them, I am the one who is blessed.
2 Corinthians 9:12-15 states….”This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people (your family) but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service (you know….all those things you do!) by which you have proved yourselves, men (your family) will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
Yes! Thanks be to God for the gift of His Son, the gift of our families, and the gift of getting to serve them, each and every day.
Enjoy serving your families this weekend!!!