Have you ever been trying to get laundry done, the to-do list made, dinner cooked, the lesson taught and been interrupted by, “Mom, I’m all done in the bathroom!” or “He took my toy!” or “I can’t find my jacket.”? Of course you have! How do you respond? With a huff, an eye roll, exasperation, annoyance, anger? Motherhood is a life of interruptions.
Last week I was teaching the Bible, the BIBLE, to two of my kids about the love of GOD, when I hear from the bathroom, “Mooom, I’m all done!” I wipe, wash, and return to teaching, you know, about loving others. Then I hear from my 3 year old, “Mommy, I spilled my water.” I clean, dry, change his clothes and return. Then I hear my 5 year old say about her little brother, “He just drew on my baby with marker!” My head fell back, annoyance arose in my voice. I’m trying to TEACH! The BIBLE!!! And I started to lose my patience when I look over at my 6 and 7 year old. Their little eyes watching me. Watching my facial expressions. Watching how I will respond. Then it hit me, what exactly am I teaching them? Am I telling them to love others while I am SHOWING them something different? Teaching them the Bible is one thing, teaching them to actually walk in God’s grace and extend his love to others, especially when we are interrupted and annoyed is an altogether different thing. My flesh wants to react because this is an INTERRUPTION.
Our kids are always watching. When we think they’re not, that they won’t notice-they notice. It’s realizing that during this interruption we can truly demonstrate the love of Christ. That’s when I look to Jesus and see that he also had a life of interruptions. But it doesn’t call it that in the Bible, because Jesus didn’t see them as interruptions. He saw them as opportunities for self sacrifice and to bring glory to God. Here are 3 examples:
- One day Jesus was walking to heal Jairus’ dying daughter, and a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years reached out and touched his hem. He could have seen this as an interruption. “I’m on my way somewhere, why are you bothering me?” But he didn’t, he saw it as an opportunity to bring glory to God. She had a NEED. He could have just kept walking, but he didn’t. He could have said, “Someone is dying! I must get there, don’t bother me.” But he didn’t. She wasn’t a “bother” to him, nor was Jairus. Jairus received word his daughter was dead and was advised, “Don’t BOTHER the teacher any more.” Luke 8: 49 But did Jesus see him as a bother? NO. He stayed WITH Jairus. He told him not to be afraid.
I don’t know how many times I have a child with a need, and they reach out and touch me and they pull on my pants. But I am “going somewhere,” headed to do something, and I see this as an interruption. Do I stop and meet their need? Do I see them as a bother? Or do I address them, help them, be with them? Maybe it’s not a need, but it’s them trying to have a “be with me” moment. Be with me while I pull out my loose tooth. Be with me and watch me ride my bike. Be with me and color this with me. Be with me while I blow bubbles. Just slow down and be with me. What all am I missing in my “I have to get stuff done and you’re interrupting me” attitude?
2. One day Jesus was TEACHING people, the Pharisees and other teachers who had come from every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. Sounds important. There were LOTS of people there listening to his teaching. All of a sudden, a paralytic man was being lowered through the roof by four friends who wanted Jesus to heal him. They couldn’t get in the door because of all the people, so they went to the roof. He was in the middle of teaching! He didn’t stop and huff and say, “I’m in the middle of teaching! I’m just trying to do this one thing and I can’t because I’m getting interrupted.” NO. He STOPPED. He allowed the men to lower this man down and then he healed him. He didn’t see it as an interruption. (Luke 5:17-39)
3. Lastly, in Matthew 14 Jesus withdrew by himself by boat and when he landed there were CROWDS of people waiting for him. Was he annoyed? Did he say, “I’m trying to get me time!” Nope, he had compassion on them. He healed their sick. Later in the day the disciples said he should send the people away so they could eat. He didn’t say, “Oh good idea, I need some peace and quiet.” Instead, he said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
Sometimes I get time away and selfishly, I just want more. And when I return there is a little crowd of 4 who are ready with their needs. I do not always have compassion on them, but reading this about Jesus opened my eyes to how he wants me to respond.
He showed us how to live a life of interruptions.
We can teach God’s word all day long, but it’s what we DO that matters. I can tell my kids they are supposed to love others, put others first, be slow to speak, and slow to get angry, but it’s what I’m doing that’s going to matter. It’s what is “caught not taught.” Am I doing the things I’m telling them to do? Or am I telling them one thing and doing another? That’s a hypocrite. We are the first image of who God is to our children. “ “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Our kids are made in the image of God. They are worthy of our love. They are worth the investment. They are worth seeing these “interruptions” as opportunities. These opportunities are precious! Opportunities to teach. Teach them about God, about loving others, about LIFE. Will they look back and see a mom who was angered easily, who yelled a lot, who was short on patience, who was huffing at all the interruptions? Or are we equipping them to look back and say, “I know how to respond in this way in life b/c I saw my mom do it. I saw her get interrupted, and I saw her time and again choose restraint. We will make mistakes. We will blow opportunities. But keep pressing on and wait for the next opportunity to arise to try again, because the next interruption is just around the corner.
*I am honored to get to write for Raising Godly Children where this article was first published.