I reeeeally don’t like to cook. I mean, I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it much. Cooking is a chore. I like to eat but I just want my food to show up magically, kind of like Katniss’s lamb stew in The Hunger Games.
That would be awesome.
There are so many other things I’d rather do than cook—and need to do, really, like writing, laundry, volunteering at school, taking my girls to karate, plucking my eyebrows, whatever. I’m a busy woman, okay? My to-do list never ends.
So when my husband pops his head through my office doorway and says something rude like, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” I’m all like whaaaat?? Dinner?! Make yourself a sandwich, man. I’m on a deadline.
Not really. But I confess the thought does cross my head.
And don’t even get me started on my children—my precious, precious children whom I love so much my heart bleeds. Mom has a curfew, right? 8 p.m. is my time. I’ve done the tucking in, the bedtime prayers, the read-aloud chapter of Narnia. And then as soon as I settle into my family room chair for some cheesy popcorn and Gilmore Girls, my six-year-old starts calling for me from her bed because she’s scared of the dark. Every. Night. And I have sympathy, really I do, but it turns into a half-hour battle of the wills when inside my guts are screaming Mommy needs some alone time noooooowwwwww.
My capacity for serving my family only goes so far. I’m faulty. And human.
Dang, am I ever selfish.
Here’s a sticky truth. Women are designed to be helpers. I know you hate that term, “helper,” because in modern society it implies belittling, weakness, less-than. Yet when we dig into Scripture, we discover that’s not the true meaning at all. In Genesis 2:18 God says it’s not good for man to be alone, so he creates a helpmeet or a “helper suitable” for him. That term helpmeet in the original Hebrew means a helper that meets the man’s needs, that is just the right fit for the man. Someone who complements him and can serve the family in ways he cannot. In other words, woman completes man. We’re half of a two-piece puzzle.
And—here’s the crazy part—that same word “helper” or “help” is also used elsewhere in Scripture to refer to God himself. God is our help. He is our strength. So if to be a helper is a weakness or insult, why would God ascribe this role to his own character? He wouldn’t. He can’t. Weakness goes against the very nature of who God is.
And do you know what that means?
As women, we have a God-granted opportunity to be a little bit of heaven to our families.
We can’t be God, obviously (nor should we want the job), but we can be like God. We can be compassionate, kind, generous, forgiving. We can get over our stinking selves and cook the tuna casserole already.
We can pray for a few final shreds of energy to ease a child’s fears.
We can choose to be grateful rather than grumble.
Why? Not necessarily because it will bless our husbands or our kids—although that is a perk.
But most of all, we should act like God because it blesses God.
“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God” (Hebrews 13:16, NLT).
If you’re familiar with this verse in Hebrews, then perhaps–like me—you’ve read it and thought it was talking about the general community. As in, do some service projects and donate your used shoes to Goodwill and you’re golden. In context, that interpretation certainly does apply.
But look a little closer. Who are “those in need”? Only the poor and downtrodden? No. My husband has needs. My children have needs—Lord knows. Some days I think they are the neediest people alive. So I ought to share with them—my time, my attention, my agenda. My mad casserole skills.
Do I always feel like it? Of course not. That’s why God calls it a sacrifice.
And it pleases Him.
So next time my husband wraps up a work day and starts rummaging through the fridge for sandwich fixings, I ought to make the man some dinner. Or maybe he’ll make dinner and I’ll do the dishes, fine. Whatever it takes to complement and serve one another—that’s where my heart needs to focus.
And when my kids want to talk about their school day or give me one more hug before they sleep—even if I’m tired or thinking ahead to the next task—what would it really hurt to give them that attention?
What would it hurt not to?
Because this might sound shocking but, I am not the most important person in my house. And you’re not the most important person in yours. Ouch, right? But get this—neither are our husbands. Nor our kids.
The most important person is God. And we are called to “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” (Ephesians 6:7).
So I’m going to cook tonight—for my family, yes, but above all for God.
And I will snuggle in my daughter’s bed for ten minutes while she falls asleep, to comfort her in the dark—not only for her but especially for God.
And whatever comes my way tomorrow (and the next day and the next) that requires me to step outside of my selfish zone and help my family thrive—I may not want to do it at the time, but I can choose to do it for God.
And so can you.
That’s my goal this year. Be a better helper. Will you make it your goal, too? Let’s do it together. Send me your casserole recipes and I’ll send you mine. We can do this—for the love of God.