I got a different kind of Easter basket for the boys this year. It was a plastic tub. From Walmart. And I used the same one for all three of them. And for my husband, Sylas.
See, the other day I was plucking my chin hairs (NO LIE) and praying the boys would know their identity in Jesus and not in sports or their earthly accomplishments. If you look at where we spend our time, it would seem that sports are our God. That bugs me. I told the Lord. And the Lord said “Wash their feet.”
So between basketball games today I ran to Walmart (along with everyone else and their grandmother) and bought a plastic tub for $2.88. I came home to clean our master bathroom and get it ready before I went back for the championship game. As I was putting dirty clothes into the hamper, I raised up quickly and slammed my head on an open cabinet door. It hurt so bad I fell to my knees in tears. So I figured while I was down there, I would pray. Pray that God would receive my offering of this foot washing as a sweet fragrance. I wanted Him to see me as an obedient mama with a heart after His whose main goal in life is to point her boys & husband to Jesus. Obviously I’m a mess so this was a weepy and unpretty prayer. But He said “SHARE THIS.” I thought “OH no…they will all think I only did this so I could boast about it.” He said “No ma’am, I’ve given you a voice so you can show these weary, teary mamas that every act of service can point their kiddos to Me. Share it. I put it in your heart so you could OBEY and share. It’s your gift. It’s what I’ve called you to do. I will empower you to complete it.”
After the tournament was over, I headed home alone to prepare the soapy water and my heart for this offering. In my head it was going to be so beautiful, so perfect, so well planned out. Because GOD HIMSELF had called me to do it.
Reality was much different.
Ty and Kyle got home first because Sylas dropped them off on his way to get a Red Box. (I hadn’t told him) So I invited Ty into the bathroom and he saw the water and said “OK Mom….you’re not Jesus….what are you doing??” I said “I want to wash your feet.” He said “Mom………only if you let me wash yours too.”
I was not prepared for that. But I also was not surprised. That is the heart the Lord has given Ty. A servant’s heart.
As I washed his feet (he played 3 basketball games today), he apologized that they were stinky. That gave me the opportunity to tell him how we can come to Jesus DIRTY. (to see my passion for this click HERE). I told him I wanted to wash DIRTY feet, not clean feet. That I wanted him to know my goal in his life is to point him to Jesus. I'm not scared of dirty because Jesus isn't scared of dirty. I told him that I show up at every game, every event he is part of, I read everything he writes, I take him to school and practices with the desire that he would BE LIKE JESUS to the world. That my heart is to raise him up as a disciple of Jesus Christ to influence the world in an effort to make MUCH of Jesus.
He got it.
Then Kyle walks in and says “My turn!!!!!!!” Yes, Kyle. He already had his socks and shoes off. Ty stays to watch. They giggle. Kyle felt so comfortable with the whole thing. Feet in, eyes locked in on mine as I charged him with the same thing I told Ty. I want you to be like Jesus to the world, bud. Every pair of underwear I wash, every shirt I hang, every hug I give you…I’m motivated to do that because I want you to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I want us as a family to make His name great. Not ours.
So then we wait a bit for Jacob to get home. I order pizza for dinner. It’s nothing like I imagined it would be. It’s better. It’s so real and so me and so Jesus. I can feel Him here. Jacob gets home and I ask him to come into the bathroom. He’s totally weirded out. I understand. He grabs a piece of pizza because he’s starving and walks into the bathroom with pizza hanging from his mouth, sees the tub of water and my knees soaked from washing the other two boy’s feet and says “Me, mom?? Why me?”
Because, Jacob. I want to serve you.
“Ummmm….ok.” He takes his socks off and puts his feet in the water still eating his pizza…and says “this is weird.” Yeah, it’s not natural. So I tell him why I’m doing it. That God has called me as his mother to equip him with the heart of a servant and it starts with me. It starts with me praying for him and getting low and washing his feet. His dirty feet. I tell him I want him to know more than anything else that he can come DIRTY to Jesus. He can bring him his fears and his hungers and his lusts and his anger and his frustrations. All of it. No need to clean himself up before he comes. Just come. To Jesus. And let HIM do the washing.
It was awesome. Short and sweet. He got it.
So then Sylas gets home. I send Kyle to get him and tell him to come to the bathroom. Sylas just wants to know “WHY.” So I tell him. I'm just being obedient. It’s hard to argue with God. I crack up as he says “OK…..but my toenails are LONG, Shea.” I know. Put ‘em in the water. I tell him how I want to serve him so he can point his students and athletes to Jesus. He knows. I read John 13:1-17 out loud. I’ve read it over and over today. But it’s still so amazing to me. That Jesus rose “during supper” (verse 4) and "girded himself with a towel.” He filled a basin and began to wash the disciples feet. I can imagine how they each responded differently according to who they were and how well they knew Him. Peter reminded me of Ty. He didn’t feel worthy. He missed the point at first. But Jesus lovingly explained it. “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand….if I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” and Peter goes “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and head!” Yes, Peter. I SO get you.
Then there’s Kyle who just sees the opportunity to be clean and says “MY TURN!!!!” I love that. I love the days I come to Jesus and am living in the understanding of the gospel and I say “WASH ME and USE ME LORD!” I believe He loves that heart. No fear.
I want to wake up daily saying "MY TURN!! Clean me and USE ME!"
Then there’s Jacob. He says what I have said to the Lord so many times. “ME?? Why me? Why are you using me, cleansing me, changing me? I’m so dirty….” And the Lord says “For your good and for My glory.” And He draws me near and reminds me that it is finished.
I am clean.
So Mamas….I want to encourage you this Easter. Maybe it’s time for a different kind of Easter basket for your little chicks. Fill up a basin of water and add some soap and tell them to bring their dirty feet. Have them put them in the basket. While you’re washing them, share your heart’s cry for their little lives. The Lord will empower you to do this. They may not respond right away but I believe it’s something they will never forget.
Get low with the Lord and pray. Know that every thing you do for the least of these (your children in this case), Christian mama, is an opportunity to point them to Jesus. To wipe their hineys is to wash their feet. To make their lunches day after day is to wash their feet. To hug their hurting hearts when they are disappointed is to wash their feet. To pray for them when they are afraid is to wash their feet. To hold their tiny newborn bodies and nurse them all night is to wash their feet. To pray them through the college years and trust their independence is to wash their feet.
We have the opportunity to raise mighty disciples for the Lord. And as Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Go in the strength of the Lord and look to Him for the power to obey in all things. He will equip you for every good work and honor your obedience to Him. Sometimes it starts with just plucking your chin hairs and listening to His voice.