If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

A Humbling Experience

It wasn’t quite what they bargained for.

When the girls in my Mother/Daughter Bible study spied the tables of nail polish, lotions, scrubs and other spa items, they could hardly wait for the pampering to begin.

Then we pulled the old bait and switch: “Girls, tonight you’re going to wash your mom’s feet and give her a pedicure. Then she can do the same for you.”

After a moment of stunned silence, the reaction from the girls was immediate and nearly unanimous:

"Oooo… that’s SO gross!"

"Really? I'm not going to wash your stinky feet!"

"Do we have to use the same water?! Yuck!!"

Okay, time out, girlies.

If we’re going to talk about gross, let’s take a little walk down memory lane, shall we? Now, remind me, who was it that changed your smelly diapers? Cleans up after you after you get sick? Does your dirty laundry?

So, let’s see … scrubbing and wiping your mom’s feet after they’ve soaked in a tub of scented water? Doesn’t even register on the ‘ick’ meter.

But I chose to keep those thoughts to myself. And after a little prodding, the girls soon succumbed to the intoxicating lure of scented bath products.

My daughter Molly’s first words after we sat down? “I get to go first!”

Yep, the object lesson on servanthood was clearly making an impact.

Within a few minutes, though, an amazing thing happened. I looked around the room to see moms and daughters laughing and enjoying each other. Both seemed to be equally enjoying serving and being served. One even commented: "This is the funnest thing we've done yet!"
This is no small feat when it comes to middle school girls.

One of the most vocal dissenters was actually soaking her feet in the same tub with her mother! Gasp.

There’s something about serving each other that breaks down barriers.
It's supernatural. Because left to our own humanness, we’re inherently selfish.

Even moms.
True, I’m always doing things for my children. But I don’t always have an attitude of service.

I sometimes catch myself doing things for my kids grudgingly or out of obligation. Or, more often, I unconsciously expect something in return – gratitude, love, cooperation. I deserve it, I reason. And I can become disappointed or resentful when they don’t comply.
True service, however, is a gift without strings attached. And when I deliver it humbly, it always leaves a pleasant aroma.
And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. John 13:14-17


  1. Love the pedicure slippers LOL. A very funny but thoughtful blog post...thanks for sharing :)

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  3. LOL! While right now nothing is gross to Lily (who is 6)I can easily imagine her having that reaction as she gets older! It sounds like a really great evening. I should break out my pedicure machine and have a fun girls night right here at home! They would love that. Thanks for the inspiration!


  4. I love this idea. My daughter is nine and would probably love it now, but definitely the object lesson must have had an impact. :O)

  5. Sounds like fun!

    But coming from a boy mom -- NOT an idea I'd use with my sons...

    What IS a girls night out, anyway?


  6. Melinda, oh boy, zap between the eyes hit. I love my parents, but I do grumble about the care taking I have to do at times. Ouch, that smarted. I needed this "tude" check, thanks.


  7. What a wonderful idea! I never thought of it before but serving others does break down barriers!

  8. Wonderful & yet convicting. Thanks Melinda for being honest about a servants heart...I'm learning more & more how important it is to do that with our children daily while they are still young. Thanks for setting the example!

  9. another great post Melinda. I am going to ask daughter to give a pedicure today, and see what her response is. She is not a middle schooler yet, but I must start bonding with her before she gets there.

  10. How wonderful--sounds like a great time! I have a middle school daughter, so can picture the whole thing.

    True service, however, is a gift without strings attached. And when I deliver it humbly, it always leaves a pleasant aroma....LOVE it. Convicting!

  11. Sounds like everyone really connected and got to the "heart" of the matter. How wonderful!

  12. What a great bonding session! I love this idea. I must remember this when my daughter is older.

    Love your blog! I'm your newest follower.

    Stopped by from SITS.

  13. I really really like this idea and you painted a great picture. thanks Clella

  14. Ouch! I needed an attitude adjustment and you just served it up! Thanks!

  15. I think we'll have to try that one here. Sounds like a good experience for all.

    Your message of service couldn't have come at a better time. I've been a grump all day, complaining about all I do for the kids and how little they do. Whoops. Glad I stopped by.

  16. What a cool way to bring Mother's & Daughters together! My daughter is 5 but it is already starting :)

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