She Did What She Could

matthew 11:28-30

These last few weeks have been just…wonky. My sister-in-law is in town with her husband and 4 kids (and she’s got one on the way!). They are missionaries to Mexico so when they are in town once a year it’s a big ordeal! We have birthday parties, go swimming almost every day and go to museums and basically try to see each other every day for 3 weeks. But acting like you’re on vacation when really you’re at home can make for a messy house, an overflowing inbox and waaay too much on your to-do list.

I’ve been feeling like I haven’t done anything of very much importance lately. In fact, if you just look through my posts the last 3 weeks, you’ll see that we’ve hardly done a craft, we aren’t memorizing any Scripture and we’re not doing anything fun or creative or even educational!

This made me think of a conversation I had with one of my friends. Her sister-in-law reads Impress Your Kids (*waving*) and was overwhelmed that I did “all” this stuff with my kids because she thought I worked part-time out of the home. And she was trying to do what I did, but just couldn’t because she worked, too. My friend quickly informed her that I do not work and have way more hours than she does to stand in front of my craft closet and think!

Y’all. If for some reason you think that I do it all, or even more than you, let’s fix that assumption now.

I do not do a craft with my kids every day. Or even every week. Honestly, sometimes I do a craft with them just so I can show it to you.

I do not have a one-hour quiet time that brings me to my knees and to tears every single day. This morning I woke up 30 minutes late and read my devotional book while Asa and Lydia were running around in the living room. Sometimes I spend half my quiet time on Twitter before I realize I’m supposed to be reading my Bible.

I do not exercise. Period. Unless you count running up the stairs to tuck in Asa fourteen times in one night.

I do not have a clean house. I mean, I’ve seen messier. But I have certainly seen cleaner. Right now one of my chairs is filled with toys the kids still have not put away, a laundry basket that actually has two loads that need to be folded in it, my floor hasn’t been mopped in two weeks and Lydia’s kindergarten papers are still stacked in our playroom.

I don’t homeschool my kids. Well, I do. But only because I’m part of a hybrid-homeschool that picks out all my curriculum and tells me what to do each day and grades all the papers.

I don’t do a devotion with my kids every day. I hardly do one ever. We have devotional books all over the place. We have Bibles sitting on every shelf. But sitting down EVERY DAY and reading something profound with them? Not happening.

I do not answer all my emails, check in on my friends regularly or keep my car clean. There are so many little things that need to be done and weigh heavy on my to-do list. But friends, it’s just impossible to do it all.

I can’t do it all.

You can’t do it all.

No one can do it all!

The problem is I read lots of blogs of women who seem to do it all. I know women who seem to do it all. They make me feel guilty for watching So You Think You Can Dance while they clean up for two hours after their kids go to bed. They make me feel discontent when their walls are covered with hand painted canvases and my walls are empty. They make me feel jealous of kids who obey, husbands who speak their love language and blogs that turn into hardback books. I’ve had to stop reading some blogs because their seemingly they-do-it-all life is a weight on me.

As usual, God spoke to me about this ickiness in my heart. I recently started re-reading Take Flight by Robin Jones Gunn. I read it a few years ago and this exact chapter jumped out at me then. This week, it felt as it was written just for me. In fact, I posted the scripture from the devotion on Facebook after reading it…

rejecting guilt

Isn’t that such a relief? Just keep company with Jesus so you can learn to live freely and lightly. So you can live without discontent, guilt or jealousy.

The whole devotion was about not letting guilt take over your life. Women, especially, mutli-task so they can DO. IT. ALL. And even after we’ve done all we can, we still feel guilty for not  doing enough.

In the book, Robin tells the Bible story of the woman who pours perfume on Jesus’ feet. When the woman gives this gift, she experiences criticism from the Pharisees immediately. But Jesus turns to them and says, “Leave her alone! She has done a beautiful thing to me…She did what she could.”

She did what she could.

Robin Jones Gunn identifies with this woman and writes, “I had been listening more attentively to the accuser’s taunts…than I had been to the Lover of my soul. The enemy did in my heart the same thing he has done since beginning of time: He broke in, stole, and destroyed. Christ, who is my advocate with the Father, defended me… Jesus told my accusers to leave me alone.” (page 45)

I have been learning to do the same–to let go of the discontent, the guilt, the jealousy, the “you’re not good enough, you don’t do enough” and listen to the Lover of my soul. To rest in “she did what she could.”

Friends, be encouraged, “remember that the enemy accuses and condemns us…But the Spirit of God comes quietly, speaks gently and points us to Jesus…tell that old dark-winged vulture of guilt to fly!” (-RJG)

What’s something you don’t do? Will you rest in “she did what she could” today?

bible craft

photo source: d sharon pruitt

Comments

  1. I LOVE this post. Thank you for making me feel normal! Thank you for being real.

  2. Thanks for this. Really.

    I don’t home school.
    I don’t stay home with my kids.
    I don’t like cooking for my family.
    I don’t wake up cheerful.
    I don’t clean my house myself.
    I don’t always have patience with the people I love most.
    I don’t trust God as well as I should.

    But….I do love Him. Oh, how I love Him.

    Glad I popped in to check your place out!

    • Thank you for commenting, Sarah! Ooooh, I should have added that patience one to my list, too.

      Isn’t it good to know HE has patience w/us and loves us more than we know?!

      a

  3. One more little thing…I {heart} Robin Jones Gunn. Her Christy Miller series? It introduced me to Jesus and my need for a Saviour.

    • Then we are to be BFF b/c I still love Christy Miller! :)

      • I did cry (bawl) when I read the last book in the college series. I was way too old to be crying over a series ending. Then I gave the entire series away because I thought surely someone else needed to read them. A few years later I bought the entire series again just so I had it in the house. LOL

        • Ha! I bought the newer edition since mine have Christy buying Todd a TAPE for Christmas. I just feel like I’ll run across a pre-teen/teen who NEEDS to read it. And then of course, I’ll probably have to buy the newest edition when Lydia is a teen! ;)

          a

  4. Wow – I really needed to hear this today. Thank you.

  5. Amanda, Your words are such a great reminder that NONE of us can do it all! Oh, how I wish that I could at times, but you are right… the ugly jealousy, envy thing has got to go! Now, sometimes it’s my laziness that gets me in trouble, when really I “could” be doing something… say, folding clothes instead of checking facebook… and that I need to lay before God and beg Him to help me choose what is best. But, oh, the freedom when we can stop looking at others and wishing we were like those who “seem” to do it all! I appreciate your honesty as well as the incredible ideas God has gifted you with.
    Jessica

    • I actually cut a paragraph from this post with that exact idea—yes, I pray that God would expand my territory and dislodge laziness & selfishness from me! I want to DO MORE for Him and be an example to my children that I am always following hard after Him. So, I’m w/you on that!

      Thanks for reminding us, Jessica!

      a

  6. It is so easy to own those feelings of “falling short” when the enemy whispers accusations to us again and again. I love the song Voice of Truth (Casting Crowns?) which illustrates how we choose to listen to God’s truth or satan’s lies. The example you gave was a simple but powerful one. Jesus was satisfied with the actions of the woman who “did what she could.” That means he expects the same from me and I don’t have to listen to the lie that my best was not good enough because others do more. Thanks Amanda for such encouraging words!

  7. Let’s see, I won’t mop today…even though it’s well over do. I won’t pick up the dog poo…trying to decide if it can wait four more days until the hubby gets home, probably not. I won’t put my daughter to bed on time, and I’m not cooking dinner tonight. That’s just today. I think you have it right, we are all doing what we can, and that we have to be enough for today.

  8. Danielle says:

    This post my friend, that is why I love you. You are so amazing. Hugs.
    Danielle

  9. Kirsten says:

    Oh, how this mama needed to hear this today….thank you!

  10. Colleen says:

    Thank you! I bet so many women needed to hear that today–myself included!

  11. Seriously – never thought you would compare yourself to others….you do a lot…we all do a lot. We do what we can with what we have been given by our Father…. We are all different…our families are different…why do we need to feel that need to keep up with the Jones’s….me..I quit reading perfect blogs…they’re not real….and they set others up for failure…like you feel here.
    Yep,I homeschool…nope, we don’t get to our devotions daily…nope, I’m not a perfect Mom and I don’t dare tout any perfection to the world…’cause it doesn’t exist here…and as others have said….this is one reason I do read your blog and I do know you are real….you really love others…and you really want them to know it…evenif you don’t call or keep up – um, I don’t do that, either.

  12. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts and inspirations. They are such a blessing to my life!

  13. I just purchased Robin Jones Gunn’s devotional you mentioned. I was thinking I needed something to do before the Hello Mornings Challenge started in August and I think this will be a nice change of pace. I used to read all her books (Christy Miller and the Glenbrook Series) and still love them today. Thanks for the recommendation! And great post — definitely can’t do it all. As a full-time working mom and wife, I think it’s harder on yourself to even think you should try. Do what you have to do and every once in awhile throw in something you want to do.

  14. Thanks for this. I think the blog posts that I always love the most are the “truth in advertising” ones. I’ve been in a major slump lately. I’m sure a great deal of it is just plain old laziness with a generous helping of Midwestern heat and lack of sleep. Or something like that.
    I’ve been letting the enemy whisper too many “you’re not good at anything”‘s in my ear and not listening to my Creator who made me just the way He I need to be for what He’s called me to do.

    And can I just say, thank you for mentioning your jealousy over other peoples seemingly obedient kids. That’s one of my greatest struggles, feeling that I must be doing something drastically wrong b/c my 6 year old can be so sassy and defiant (while my 4 year old is hitting the 2 year old who is running around naked).

  15. Thanks Amanda, needed to hear that today! Hope you are well, miss seeing your sweet smile! Ashley

  16. Great post as always! :) Mary and Martha come to mind…
    I don’t wash my windows, but we have awesome dance parties. I don’t clean my blinds, but I tell my kids that I love them every single day. I rarely have clean counters, but I take my kids on adventures.
    When we are free to be who God has made us to be, He gets the glory. But when we try to be someone else- to compete with women who have completely different strengths- we make it about us. Why do we do this?!!!
    Thanks for the great reminder. I appreciate you so very much!

    • Yes, Becky! I love this –>”But when we try to be someone else- to compete with women who have completely different strengths- we make it about us. ”

      Thank you!!

      a

  17. Holly Sloan says:

    Thank you for this article. I am always trying to express this to friends. I wrote something that I accomplished on facebook. After, I worried it was looking like “I do it all”. I sat down to write this out (while my kids made their own sandwich :) I am not a writer and I didnt have time to finish. I just shared your article! I cant do it all,right? Thanks for being real! I feel we all need to encourage each other in this. Woman seem to be too competitive about what “we do all day”. Love your blog! God Bless!

  18. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!

  19. Thank you for this, sweetheart. I love your transparency.

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Like many, I’ve been caught in the web, the whirlwind of “Who’s the better mom?” or “What does the best mom look like?” Thank you for your transparency with us, your readers and friends. I REALLY needed to read these, your words, today.

  21. Natalie says:

    THANK YOU!! I needed that reality check.
    “Come away with me to a quiet place”. I have that verse in my toddler’s room in his “quiet area”. This evening he went to it an “read” it, he said: Go away God, it’s time to sleep. I have to laugh and keep explaining the come away with me part is not the same as go away!

  22. Thanks so much for your honesty and transparency! It funny & encouraging. I recently decided to stay at home & still shocked at my inability to keep a clean house & car. I could totally relate to everything in your blog. We cant do it all or have it all. I told my now 5 yo a few years ago at his 3rd birthday party when he was hbhappy that the cake I made was not to his specifcations that mommy did the best she could. You hit it right on the nail.

  23. Shannon Culpepper says:

    THANK YOU. Seriously. I was reminded recently of how Martha like I am. “Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42). Thank you for reminding me that even though we may think one is doing it all, it is NOT the case. I pray that I can have a good balance in my life and just let the little things go. Thanks again.:)

  24. Shannon Culpepper says:

    LOL! I JUST read Ashley’s comment above. :)

  25. Diana Castellanos says:

    Dear dear lady…. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing Christ to use you in such an awesome way! Thank you for writing this honest blog. I needed this so much that I cannot describe what this means to me. This is the second time today that I have read thi from Mark 14 and the same words that jumped out at you, jumped out at me earlier! In the rush of the day, I didn’t have time to let it sink it. The Lord brought me to your blog to reread them! He has something important He is trying to get through to me! Thank you!

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