I randomly saw a facebook status a few weeks ago about a Little House on the Prairie Musical. I had never heard of this and given my new obsession with the books, I knew I had to take Lydia! So, Saturday night my mom, Lydia and I went to the Little House on the Prairie Musical at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta. The show didn’t even start until 8pm and that was after a week of VBS and Performing Arts Camp. It was a very long day but a sweet and special Mother-Daughter outing for the three of us.
I just saw Broadway’s Mary Poppins which was the most sparkling breath-taking thing you’ve ever seen. So, I wasn’t sure if a non-musical musical would be that great but I loved it. It captured the feel of the Ingalls family, the beauty of their life, the prairie, the music, the costumes and the story. I loved every second of it and Lydia was wide-eyed the whole time, too.
Lydia wearing her new Laura Ingalls bonnet at the Little House Musical at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta!
The play focused on the stories of the last four Little House books. The main thrust of the story and Laura’s character is about how she’s a “wild child” until Mary becomes blind as a result of Scarlet Fever. Laura immediately sets her heart and mind on being the “older sister” and she is determined to “be good” and to help Mary succeed at everything–including going to a college for the blind. It was beautiful to see their sister relationship on the stage.
It is a theme taken straight from the books. In Little Town on the Prairie, the Ingalls family has been silently hoping that they could afford to send Mary to college. Suddenly, Laura is offered a job of sewing shirts for the men in town. She spends six weeks in town with a woman she doesn’t know sewing shirts all day long. She earns $9 in those six weeks. And she is overjoyed because she has made $9 for Mary’s school.
She hands Ma her money and Ma says, “I feel bad taking all of it Laura. You should keep some of it for yourself.” To which Laura replies, “Why? I don’t need anything.” She is literally perplexed that Ma would consider not taking all her money. Laura sat in a high backed chair and sewed men’s shirts for hours a day so that her older sister could go to college. And she didn’t expect even ONE penny in return.
Yes, Laura loved Mary. Yes, the Ingalls had a tight-knit family. But there was even more–it is a selflessness and a sense of the important. This is something we have not cultiavted in our culture—or in our families.
When I was a little girl, I used to listen to Psalty. He’s an old-school Christian kids’ singer who had numerous albums about a great big blue singing songbook. Anyway, one of my favorite albums he had was called “Sing-sational Servants”. My brother and I could quote every line of that entire CD…er, tape. Years later when Les and I first got married, we found that tape at an old bookstore and bought it. We listened to it for laughs and memories—but I started crying when I heard it. The lyrics of one of my favorite songs went like this:
Make me a servant, humble and meek. Lord, let me lift up those who are weak. And may the prayer of my heart always be: Make me a servant today.
I pictured a myself as a little girl singing that song and not even realizing that I was asking God to make me a servant. Being a servant is a lens that is over my life. My dad has always been the example of a great servant. It’s how our family has tried to behave. It’s something that I’ve tried to instill in my children. And to model.
But when I read this part about Laura being surprised by Ma’s question about keeping her own money, I felt jealous. I want to be THAT kind of servant. Not just the servant of a stay-at-home mom who does the dishes and makes dinner before her husband comes home. I don’t want to be the mom who “gives up her life” to stay home with the kids.
I want to be a WILD servant. One that gives time, energy and money freely. One that doesn’t view time, energy or money as MINE.
This is so hard for me. I talk about needing “me” time. I get irritated when my husband doesn’t contribute to our household they way I think he should. I feel my temper rising when my kids do something that changes my pre-conceived schedule for the day. Everything in my life is focused on me and on how I want things to be.
This is especially prevalent in my marriage. I want to serve and honor my husband. But if he doesn’t do the same, then I change my mind and withhold that honor from him. My servant attitude is always dependent on if he serves me first! It’s the you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours-mentality. And it is COMPLETELY wrong.
Mark 10: 43-45 says this, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
If I want to be great (have others love and honor me) then I must be a servant! If I want to be first (respected and important) then I must be a slave to all. A SLAVE! Slaves don’t work because they know they are going to get a paycheck at the end of the day. They just work. Slaves work knowing that even if they do their best they may still get whipped and be starved at the end of the day. Slaves just serve.
Can I be a slave to my children? Not an attached coddling parent. But a parent willing to put down my computer, my book and my clean house to discipline my kids, to teach them godliness and to bring the best out in them?
Can I be a slave to my husband? To do what he wants first? To expect NOTHING in return from him? To give all of myself to him (my emotions, my love, my body, my time and my desires) with no hidden agenda?
Can I be a slave to God? To serve and honor Him without asking for anything in return? Without thinking about what my church or friends might expect?
I so want to be that wild. I want to be seen as someone who serves. Ugh! It’s hard to even write this and not be selfish. I struggle every day trying to find that attitude of servanthood. Practically speaking, I’ve been working on taking the words “me time” and “alone time” out of my vocabulary. I’ve been trying to say “yes” to my husband…if it’s about his schedule, his leadership or his wishes. I’ve been stopping what I want to do to get into my kids’ world—through discipline, play and interaction.
I don’t know if this sounds wild to you or not. But it is to me. As a capable strong woman, it’s hard to give myself away. It’s hard to expect nothing in return. It’s hard to focus on the IMPORTANT and not the IMMEDIATE. I hope you don’t hear me saying I am doing this all the time. Or that it’s a romantic “i love my kids and husband so much” attitude. It’s about changing my attitude to one that gives and desires nothing in return.
It hurts to even think about being that wild.
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See the whole of the I WANT TO BE WILDER series: