Dirt On My Shoulders

This morning I read the story of a farmer whose donkey fell in a well.  For hours he tried to figure out how to get the donkey out, and finally decided the donkey was old and the well was dry, so he’d just bury the donkey.  The donkey of course started braying loudly as the dirt came down, but then he got really quiet, and the farmer looked down to realize that the donkey was shaking off the dirt, and using it as a stepping stone to get out.  With each bit of dirt, the donkey stepped higher and higher, until finally it stepped out onto the ground next to the farmer.  In Joyce Meyer’s devotional (New Day, New You: 366 Devotions for Enjoying Everyday Life {aff link}), she tied this story to the verse from Hebrews 12:1, where we are told to shake off our sins and to keep persevering, running the race that God has for us.  (NIV 12:1-3: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”)

Just before reading that, I had spent time reading 2 Timothy (it’s really a short letter), and I was struck by Paul’s encouragement despite being imprisoned and all but one of his friends had abandoned him.  He knew that the end of his days was near, and yet he says in chapter 4, vs 7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
I think as a mom it’s so easy to look around my house right now and see the dirty dishes, the coffee pot that never gets washed – just rinsed and reused, the laundry piling up and washer buzzing, the art work long since dry still laying on the counter, the blanket wadded on the couch from last night’s tv watching before bed, the library books I had to renew online because I missed the due date… I could go on and on and on.  And yet, I must make myself stop.  I’m doing something important here, around all the clutter.  My desk is overflowing with client information and travel quotes and requests for more.  One of our bedrooms is overflowing with clothes being prepped for a consignment sale.  All of it is for a purpose.  It’s for what resides in the other three rooms.  It’s for my family.
I’m not supposed to focus on the stress or the anxiety or the clutter.  I’m supposed to keep pressing on.  Running the race.  Fighting the fight.  Teaching God’s children that He has entrusted to our care.  They are beautiful.  Despite all their flaws.  And despite all of my flaws.  They are beautiful.  They are gifts that have been handed over for a few short years by a Maker who believes that their father and I are somehow the best Earthly parents He could give them.  He is equipping us, even when we feel so helpless and clueless.  He is teaching us how to deal with anything and everything they can throw our way.  And He is teaching me to be like the donkey.  To use every pile of laundry, every stack of dirty dishes, every piece of artwork waiting to be hung on the wall as a stepping stone.  They aren’t to be weights on my shoulders, pushing me down, but rather I need to view them as BLESSINGS from above.  A sign that I have a home full of love and laughter and paint and spit up and food.
We have money for the special formula our baby needs.  We have supplies to keep our little brilliant mind always thinking.  We have clothes.  We have dishes.  We have a dishwasher.  We have a coffee pot.  We have a beautiful home on a gorgeous piece of land.  We have.  We have.  We have.  Every single thing we have is not meant to be a burden on me, but rather to be a stepping stone to THANKFULNESS.  It would be easy on a rainy dreary day at home in a messy house to just get bogged down and not want to leave the couch.  Super easy.  Like way, way too easy.  But I was created for more.  I was created to celebrate the fact that THIS is the day the LORD has made.  I was created to REJOICE in all things.
Will I always rejoice?  Will I always feel a lack of stress over these blessings that can become dirt weighing down my shoulders?  No.  But I pray that I may face life as Paul in his 2nd letter to Timothy, and remember that when I am faithless, He remains faithful (2:13) and will be by my side to rescue me from every evil attack. (4:18a).  May I not let the blessings God has given me become my worst enemies.  And, as Paul said (4:18b), “To HIM be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”coffee and Bible

Author: travelwchristy

I am a work-at-home travel agent who is mom to two beautiful children, a wife to a fabulous man, and blessed beyond compare!