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Blog: How do I care for the things and people in my life?

by Ashley Estes

Oct 04, 2020

I am a wife and a mother. I have a full time job and a passion for ministry. I also have extended family and friends, a home, three dogs, and a God who loves me. Please, do not judge me by the state of my flowerbed. One thing I do not have is a green thumb. I, like many, have quite a few things to manage, to run, to communicate, to care for, and there are more than a few times that begin to feel overwhelming. These things seem like something I am supposed to have so much control over. How do we care for all the things and the people in our lives? Some days I’ll admit are harder than others. Some days we totally rock the to-do list and others we miss by a mile. It can feel relentless and tiresome, and we wonder if we are failing. I know that even my busyness is only a fraction of another’s, but how many times have we had a to-do list for the day that was so excessively long, it would be impossible to complete? How can we face tomorrow confidently if we don’t complete this? What do we do if we’re constantly saying the words “I don’t have time”?

I’ll first say this, our job is not a to-do list. Our job is to love. Yes, there are things to do in order to love, but in the moments where our tasks are insurmountable, we need to stop, take a deep breath, and ask Jesus where it is He wants us to be. What does He want us to see, whom does he want us to talk to? How can we love in the best way? A simple redirection of intention, and we will produce fruit.

We are called to tend the landowner’s vineyard, and to do so lovingly. To do so we must recognize that these things, these people, are not burdens, but gifts. It is so easy to take our lives, and the things and people in them for granted. Some days I can’t fathom cleaning another inch of my house and still making dinner after I get home from work, but I have to remember that I have a roof over my head, and food on my table, and love in my heart. There are people who don’t have these things. What great poverty it is to live without the love of Jesus. So we vacuum our homes and open them up to our neighbor who needs some company, we pray out loud with our children so they can hear and learn how to love, we pause and look inward in times of stress. Because the gift of my home isn’t a burden of more to be cleaned, rather an instrument to serve our Father.

We must ask to see through the eyes of the Father. We take a look inward, recognizing there are parts of our own selves that are not perfect, yet despite this our Heavenly Father loves us desperately, so desperately He was nailed to a cross for the sake of us, for our whole selves, not just the parts that are appealing or successful. If my Father in heaven can love me despite the less appealing places, the ones that look more like my wilted sunflowers, can I not love the things he gives me the same?

-Ashley Estes

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