Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boasting About My Weaknesses

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  You will be blessed if you do them.  ~John 13:15, 17

She came in to tell me what she had learned at school today.  "Mama, what figurative speech is this?  The fireworks went Crack! Boom!"  Of course, I can't remember the word, nor do I feel like being bothered.  "Mom, its an onomatopoeia! Don't you remember!?"  "No, I don't remember," I say.  Ashlyn continues, "Okay, Mom, guess what this is!  I'll give you choices!"  She is so excited about what she has learned: alliteration, idioms, personification, metaphors, similes, hyperboles and that long 'O' word that I can never remember.  

At the moment, I am not interested in what my fourth grader has to say.  My foot aches from an old injury, and I am angry about overdoing it, once again with the day's activities.  I really want to be left alone.  "Ashlyn, I just don't feel good right now.  Can we do this later?"  She senses the agitation in my voice, and I wonder how many times I had said that phrase to her in the last month.  Seemingly defeated, she stands up and walks out of the room.  I don't even care to follow her.  I can barely walk and am annoyed with my own weakness.

She goes to her room and empties a plastic container that holds her treasures; a small rock collection, perfume bottles, grandma's necklace and the big hoop earrings that she likes to wear with high heels around the house.  I hear her in the bathroom when she shouts, "Mom, come here!"  Frustrated because she wants me to get up and come to her, I say, "Ashlyn, can you just please come here and tell me what you want?"  Inside, I am screaming an English lesson of my own, "Do you really expect me to lug this ball and chain of a boot to the bathroom, when you can run and jump!"  I am surprised that somehow I had the strength to keep that idiom to myself.

Ashlyn comes in quietly and says gently, "Mom, I want to rub your feet.  I got a box and filled it with warm water and soap.  I got my favorite lotion to rub on your hurting foot."  Instantly, I know the one from Bath & Body.  She loves the little bottles of overwhelming fragrances.  In her sweet eyes, I can tell she really wants to do this for me.  My girls often want to play beauty salon or school, so spa was no different.  I didn't have the heart to say, "No," again.

I drag my orthotic boot that feels like a bucket of concrete to the bathroom. I see that she has pulled a chair from the kitchen and has placed two pillows for comfort.  There sits her little plastic box, emptied of her special things and full of soapy water.  Still with a remnant of annoyance, I wonder who on earth would want to touch somebody's feet?  Feet are so dirty.  Nonetheless, I put my injured foot in the water.  As Ashlyn splashes water on my foot, she comments that my Cotton Candy pink painted toes are pretty and that she doesn't recall ever seeing them painted.

My recent pedicure was cheaper than physical therapy, I justify.  I rationalize to my daughter that I hadn't had a pedicure in probably five years, when her little sister was born.  I explain that all women get pedicures before delivering their children, because we are about to be up close and personal with our doctor.  I laugh out loud as to why I even worried about such a thing.  Had I worried he would think my feet were ugly, or had I hoped he would be distracted by the bright nail polish, since I saw him once a month at super club?  We laugh at the silly things people do.

Ashlyn says, "Mom, what does the lady do when you get a pedicure?"  I tell her how she rubs my feet with some bath salts and lotion and then paints my toes a pretty color.  She does her best to recreate my spa experience.

As I sit there staring down at my precious daughter, the Lord tugs at my heart.  In our laughter and her sweetness, He reminds me of one of the last things Jesus did before His crucifixion. He washed the feet of His disciples.  I am immediately overwhelmed by this humble act of kindness from my daughter.  I am ashamed of myself and my behavior and am quick to recognize that I do not deserve this.

She could have filled the bath tub with water for my spa treatment.  Instead, she emptied and used her own little plastic box that held the things precious to her.  I am not sure she understood how powerful this innocent act was or the impact it had on her mama's heart.

She dries my foot and gives me the heavy boot that I hate so much.  She asks, "How does that feel?"  "Much better," I answer and am sure she thinks I am just talking about my foot. 

For the first time, I understand the verse, "God's power is made perfect in weakness."  His Word came alive in that moment!  His power was made perfect in my weakness.  The face of Jesus had just shown through my daughter with compassion, humility, patience and a sweet, tender love for me.  God's grace is sufficient.  I look down at the ugly black contraption that surrounds my leg and, for the first time, I am thankful for my weakness.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  ~2 Corinthians 12:9

"Who on earth would want to touch somebody's feet?"  I had wondered just moments earlier.

  Jesus would, and I saw that today.

Ashlyn and I went on a canoe ride the day after the above story took place.  We were pretending that we were lost at sea and finally made it to an island (Lake Wylie has one about two miles from our house.)  Life is more fun when you add stories to your adventures! 
Later that day, we saw this beauty from God's own hand.  You can't see here, but it was a double rainbow.  God's grace is so sufficient!

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Sue said...

Beautiful ~

Nothing But Blue Skies... said...

Brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet daughter you have.

Breathing In Grace said...

This is absolutely one of the most touching posts I've ever read. What a precious daughter you have!!! HOPE your week is full of lots more blessings....and that your foot gets much better!!!

Allyson McGuire said...

This is such a great post!


Maryann said...

I love how God uses the most unexpected things to show us our hearts...this was beautiful

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Hi Christy!

So nice stopping by to meet you and read this wonderful post of Ashlyn showing love and thoughtfulness to her mom. I am thrilled you stopped by Think on Theses Things and shared this wonderful post!

I have enjoyed perusing several of your posts and getting to know you a bit. I have a love for dogs and Drayton melted my heart :)

Looking forward to visiting often!
Kindly, Lorraine

A Thrifted Market said...

Beautiful post!! Made me cry..what a beautiful heart she has for you her Mom!

tawn said...


Thank you for this beautiful post.

I love how God uses our children to open our eyes and our hearts to His.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story..

Misty said...

This made me daughter is sweet and tender hearted like yours and like you, sometimes I'm short with her and then I wish I hadn't been. Then I beat myself up for being "a bad mom". I'm glad to hear it's not just me than can sometimes forget to count their blessings!

Holly said...

I'm thinking you have the Most Precious daughter!!!! Wish she were at my house!!!
I've just gotten out of a boot myself and over did it yesterday...Still achy today. I also think feet are pretty disgusting!
What a "Jesus" thing to with everything that is in us.

Bridget said...

Thank you for this post. God knows just what we need. You needed that time with your daughter, and I needed to read that post.

Laurie said...

My almost 4-yr.-old granddaughter, Maya, recently asked me the meaning of the word "speachless" - I think I should point her to your post, although she is too young to understand why I have tears in my eyes. She will be with me on Tuesday, and I will remember and not feel annoyed when she calls me to show me something for the 100th time, or asks me what another word means, or wants macaroni and cheese (ugh) again for lunch. She wil do these things, perhaps, but she also has a heart full of love, and she loves to hear Bible stories before her nap. She gets it ~ she gets how to love like Jesus. Your beautiful daughter has shown us all what the love of Jesus is, and I am so blessed by your post ~ thank you!

Pamela said...

Such a precious story. I'm blessed to read it. Your daughter's heart is beautiful.

Aimee Porter said...

I have just sat at my desk and cried! You are so blessed:)

deb mills said...

what a lovely story. i'm sitting here with tears running down my cheeks. our heavenly Father is so good about reminding us gently of our many blessings. this precious daughter of yours must have had a very good example to follow. good job, mom.

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