9.23.2019

Learning to Serve SelfLESSly.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

This is the theme verse for our school year.
Love. Affection. Honor.
Lovely sentiments, yes?
Unfortunately, when selecting this verse, I failed to take into account the incredibly competitive nature of the Eastman family line. A competitive mindset reads the word "outdo" and interprets it as "WIN! WIN! WIN!" Sometimes coupled with the lovely image of an Olympic athlete crossing the finish line in glory, and sometimes attached to the image of an MMA cage fight.
In the Eastman house, of late, it was the latter.

Instead of looking for ways to honor each other best, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie decided that to "outdo one another in honor" meant competing over who could care for Baby E best.
They fought over who would sit by him in the van. They fought over who would help give him a bath. Who would warm his bottle. Who would get him after his nap. Who would change his diaper. (Yes! I am serious!) And on and on and ON in went. <insert long eye roll and slap to the forehead>
At first, I thought it was funny that they were fighting about who could out-serve the baby. For about a day. And then I realized - they were being selfish in their serving. Selfish. In serving. The irony was great.

So, this morning, we spent our devotion time focusing on a different verse.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 
I explained that while it is absolutely wonderful and honoring to the Lord that each of them wants to take care of Baby E, hip-checking your sibling into the wall so you can get to the crib faster is not the best way to go about it.
The desire to serve Baby E?  Fantastic!
The desire to be first - the desire to get your own way? Not so much.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 

After a long discussion, prayer, questions, examples, and some laughter - they got it.
If we are going to serve foster babies and their families, we must also serve one another.
It will not always be easy. It will not always be fun. But it will always be right. ❤

In order to add ACTION to our new thinking, we sat at the table with a notebook and pen and wrote down the ways they had been selfish in serving Baby E. (They surprised me by adding two more items when I thought the list was complete!)
After listing all of the ways they can serve him each day, we created a "Serving Schedule" - together - each choosing (and agreeing on) the days of the week they wanted for every task.
And we had FUN!
(As Mary Poppins declared, "You find the fun and SNAP! The job's a game! 🎶And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake, a lark, a spree, it's very plain to see! 🎶)
When all was agreed upon, I made a final copy, we placed the sheet on the kitchen cabinet, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie read through the entire document (I love this photo!), and they walked away smiling and excited about the new "Serving Selflessly Schedule."
Friends, today was a ♥GREAT♥ day!

I am present during each of these tasks, of course, but if I am not careful, I could put Baby E to bed at night without ever having actually touched him during the day since there are three Eastmans constantly competing for his attention and affection.
I am not complaining, I assure you!
Witnessing the joy my children have for these foster babies and watching them mature and learn valuable life skills through the process makes my heart overflow with gratefulness that the Lord has called us to this ministry.
It makes me laugh that 'serving selfishly' is one of our foster care "problems."
But it also blesses me because it reminds me of something a wise, godly woman once said.
"God does not just call parents to foster care. He calls the FAMILY."

As unpleasant as it is to listen to selfish bickering as our kids throw elbows to feed oatmeal to the baby, I love that they WANT TO. Their zeal to serve may outweigh their compassion at times, but I will take a passion for serving over apathy any day!

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

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