Help for the Weary Woman – Encouragement for Today – April 17, 2023

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Brenda Bradford OttingerApril 17, 2023

Help for the Weary Woman

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"Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him." John 13:5b (NLT)

Rise before dawn for an hour of Bible study and a 5-mile run: Check!
Fold laundry and order groceries while attending an online meeting: No worries!
Cook dinner and load the dishwasher while helping with homework: Easy peasy!

Said no woman ever.

Many are the seasons of a woman's life, but I've yet to hear anyone say life is always easy.

As for me, I'm often a weary woman wondering why I'm trying to make a difference when I can't even make a meal some nights.

But, oh, how my soul is encouraged to know that the Lord Himself understands the demands of life, for during His time on earth, Jesus knew what it was to live a full, poured-out life.

The Apostle John records this beautiful example for us: "Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him" (John 13:3-5, NLT).

In Jesus' day, it was common to provide water for guests to wash their feet after they'd walked in sandals along dusty roads. Foot washing, though, was considered a servant’s task, not a leader’s. Yet despite Jesus' authority, while His disciples reclined around the Last Supper table, Jesus served His beloved friends by cleaning their feet.

Afterward, Jesus explained: "And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you" (John 13:14-15, NLT).

Though Jesus was physically spent from His journey to Jerusalem and mentally anguished by the impending cross, He humbly cared for His people, setting the ultimate example of servant leadership.

Oh, friend, in seasons when we wearily wonder if all we're offering our people and our communities makes any difference, may our spirits rest in the shadow of the Savior, who humbly served His world and ultimately made the greatest difference of all. (Isaiah 53; John 1:29)

This doesn't imply that we neglect healthy boundaries by adding more to our to-do lists than God intends. Jesus also set a beautiful example of withdrawing for prayer and rest, affording Him wisdom to know when and where to apply His limited human resources. (Luke 5:16)

Likewise, as dawn's warmth strolls across the eastern sky each morning, may we follow Jesus' lead and seek God for wisdom to know which tasks belong to today and which do not.

And in seasons when the demands of life leave us feeling weary and spent, may we steal away for moments with the Lord, and may we rest in the company of the Savior who understands life's seasons of sacrifice.

Dear friend, your God knows what it is to be human and weary. The sacrifices you make amid challenging seasons aren't lost on Him; He understands.

When you feel like your energy is spilled upon the ground of long days and weary nights, take heart - God sees your service and the quiet legacy you're leaving as you impact the lives of those around you.

Even when you can't always sense it, God is moving within your story as you step into the shadow of the Savior's example and mark the world with His love.

Dear Jesus, thank You for being a trustworthy example for every season of life. Please give me wisdom and strength to do Your will as I seek to serve those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 


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For more encouragement, connect with Brenda Bradford Ottinger on Instagram or on her website.

Our Encouragement for Today Devotions Community on Facebook is here to encourage you to follow Jesus' example daily! Join the community of devotion readers today.


Matthew 11:28-29, "Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'" (NLT)

If you're feeling weary today, steal away for a few moments with God to rest in His company, just as Jesus did. Ask Him to be your source of strength as you follow Jesus' beautiful example.

Let us know your thoughts about today's devotion! We'd love for you to share in the comments.

© 2023 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106