I Gave All I Had

 When I was 21 years old, I was walking down the road in the little community I grew up in, which is where I’ve always lived, and someone hollered out their window as he was driving by, “Go to college!”.

I knew who it was. I had went to school with him since kindergarten. Apparently he didn’t think I should still be in this small town. Apparently he thought I should be pursuing a career. It’s not the first time I had heard that, and certainly not the last. He didn’t know that I was newly married and living the life I was called to.

Out to breakfast a few years back, I ran into a former school teacher. He looked at me and my four kids and said, “You know, I always thought you’d be teaching other children.” As if to indicate that I was wasting my teaching ability by just homeschooling my kids.

Someone at my church once told me, “You are an incredibly intelligent woman. Don’t waste that.” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that one. I think I said that I wouldn’t. He came back later and apologized for how his comment sounded.

None of these men were trying to be unkind with their words. They were all trying to tell me that they could see my potential and value. I think their belief in me is flattering, but their worry is misplaced. It made me think of some other men that had unhelpful comments.


“Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than 300 denarli and given to the poor.” The Bible says that the disciples who watched the woman anoint Jesus and wipe His feet with her hair “criticized her sharply” (Mark 14:3-9).

Can you imagine??? This women has just humbly and lovingly given Jesus everything she had in such a beautiful way and these guys are watching and reprimanding her for her sacrifice. They are criticizing her for the way she has chosen to show her love and devotion to Jesus. 

It’s no wonder that Jesus essentially tells them to shut up. Actually, He is kinder than that and explains that she’s preparing Him for His burial. I just think of how I would feel if I were Jesus. Here I am, God‘s only begotten son, bringing salvation to the world and the kingdom of heaven to earth, and my followers don’t think I am worth a year’s wages. 

On the other hand, I do need to give the disciples some slack. They didn’t know the whole picture. And think about how embarrassing it would be to have all of your mistakes written down for the rest of the world to read for generations and generations to come. John clarifies that it was Judas who instigated these comments, so there is that to take into consideration, too.

But back to the woman who anointed Jesus. Have you ever felt like that? Have ever been giving it your all, doing what you know you have been called to do, and still had people criticize you? Of course you have, we all have. Because people, like the disciples, are just people. They make mistakes, they make the wrong judgement, and they even sometimes have really good intentions while doing it.

Is selling oil to feed the poor a bad thing? Certainly not. Just like going to college or becoming a public school teacher or pursuing a career alongside your motherhood: those can all be really good things...if you are called to do it. They just aren't my calling. 

Maybe you've been criticized because you do have a college degree but have decided to stay home with your children. Maybe you've been criticized for working outside the home alongside mothering. I'm just going to drop this quote and leave it at that:

If you don't know what Jesus has called you to do, ask Him. He can use other people, the Bible, worship songs, or just a gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit inside of your spirit to guide you. Sometimes our calling changes to suite certain seasons of our lives, too. The best way to know what to do is just to stay close to your Creator.

Your sacrifice is not unworthy or ill-timed. Don't let others decide how you choose to worship Jesus. Whether you are wiping bottoms and snotty noses, serving in Africa, or running a major company, pour it all out for Jesus. It is a pleasing aroma to Him.

Much love, mamas!


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