There are some things that women need to do regularly, faithfully. It's what we call maintenance. It takes a huge cut out of our lives and could be painful at times. 

Surprisingly,  in the age in which we don't do most things on our own but instead pay others to do it for us, we could choose to happily spend our whole lives doing it. The better word for this is, pampering. The rich and famous indulge themselves this way and professed that it drives stress away. And we, who are not, could just not help but try it ourselves. When we get into the habit, we become high maintenance. We enjoy it so immensely that we couldn't live without it... or leave the house without all the works.

For many mothers, however, it can be just one of those chores that you have to do like dishwashing or ironing, and that we wish there is somebody or someone else to do it. All right, maybe other mothers don't feel this way about maintenance, but I do. It is one of those things that I have to do but don't have the time for. There are more important things that crowd my days but if I totally neglect this routine chore, I would start looking like that overgrown, wild bush at the side of the road where the doggies sniff around at first and then decide it's a good place to take a piss or a dump. Eww! 

So I do maintenance, just so when I go into the grocery store and run into somebody I know, they wouldn't have a worried frown on their face and ask me if I'm okay, but instead have a delighted-to-see-me smile and ask how I have been doing.

My usual maintenance is insubstantial. My approach when it comes to this is to "glide". I don't do it, if I can help it. When brows are bushy, nails are chipped, hair is awry, and skin is scaly, is the point of "I can't help it". That's when I do the routine, sporadically. The routine includes trimming nails, shampoo, a blow dry and an occasional haircut, super dry skin care, and wishing unwanted hair away.

When it comes to nails, I take the simple approach--- trim trim trim. I wonder how and when we started to think that women had to absolutely have a manicure. It is so enslaving. Imagine having to spend that much time on a manicure, every week, every month, when you could have spent it shopping online for a box of diapers for the baby or change the children's bedcovers, pillow covers and blankets.

Unwanted hair for me includes a mustache. It used to go undetected but it seems to be growing more obvious every time I look at a mirror. I don't know what to do about it. I don't want to shave it off because a new patch will grow in its place, looking darker, longer, and healthier than the last one. I did try to shave it a few times when I was in my vain-est point, but I regretted when it grew back and I was looking more like a man. So the most I can do is to wish it away. Some days it is unnoticeable, but believe me, it's there.

I have super dry hair and super dry skin. The former is good news, but the latter is bad news. Having dry hair keeps me from washing my hair everyday, which saves time; and which also saves me from many bad hair days. But the dry skin... oh, how it has given me much distress. I have to pile on lotion or oil to get relief from the itch, the scratching, and the ugly scales. There was a time when somebody asked me what one thing I would demand for in case I am marooned in an island, and given a chance to have one thing, just one thing. I didn't give it much thought then, but I answered, "Lotion!" Only later did I realize that if I am in a shipwreck and left in an island, I would probably not be needing lotion that much. Well, that just shows how lotion became such an important part of my life that I thought of it as something essential for living.

There is a thing far more essential and worth maintaining in our lives. Many think it's a waste of time and not worth the huge cut out of our lives. You see, it has to be done regularly and faithfully for it to make a difference in our lives. Another thing is, one has to do it personally for it cannot be done by just paying somebody else to do it for us. However, if you get into the habit of doing this kind of maintenance, it will become such a powerful force in your life that you would happily spend your whole life doing it. You get so much enjoyment from it, it is more than just stress-busting. It is growth-boosting. It is life-giving. 

Many famous and rich people miss this maintenance, but many over-stretched mothers who are doing their humble duties, get their daily dose of energy and strength from this. It gets them through many hard days when the kids are sick and sleepless nights are the norm. It gets them through discipline issues that could have turned damaging to both parties. It gets many mothers, who also work outside their homes, through a day of work and worry over their children, and gives them confidence and the resolution to make the best of every situation. In fact, all women could greatly benefit from keeping this maintenance in their lives. It could change the direction of many people's lives, whether married or single, man or woman, boy or girl. It could help them make wise choices, think better, relate better, and live better.

I am talking about bible study and prayer. This is one maintenance that many people have taken for granted. Overgrowth of jealousy, pride, greed and self-absorption are left uncut, which prayer and the reading of God's Word could have put an end to. These traits are left to grow in abundance and are making lives miserable and people desperate for peace. If only they know that the way to achieving peace is Jesus... If only they know Him... If only they find assurance and the promise of peace in His Word... If only they know that the Peacekeeper is just a prayer away... They can decide to undertake this maintenance, and then God's power can shine through their lives. 

When it comes to this kind of maintenance, a trim trim alone is not enough, a manicure has to be done. Wishing unwanted and unsightly traits and habits off, don't make them go away. They need to be 'shaved off'. Daily application of essential oils will bring relief and avoid brittleness. Reading God's Word after a prayer of invitation for the Holy Spirit's enlightenment is what we all need. You see, it is by daily absorbing God's Word and having daily contact with heaven through prayer that my life will avoid or cease from looking like an overgrown bush, wild and cluttered with sin.

This is one maintenance that is paramount to life. The negligible approach will never work. It needs commitment. 

And that time when you run into somebody at the grocery store or anywhere else? Well, looking at you they will see that you "have been with God" and may want to know how you got that radiant glow. You know the answer, it's not from pampering. It's from being with God, the Light Himself.

Lord, "turn my eyes from worthless things,and give me life through your word" (Psalm 119:37). May I meditate on it day and night and find my strength in You. Let no sin hide itself in my life, for in Your presence it cannot endure. May my time with You be sweet for I delight in You. Amen.


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