Eloise tells me at least once a day that she can’t wait to be a big sister. Her excitement over my growing bump is palpable at all hours. Both Henry and Eloise stop what they’re doing in random moments to talk to the baby, to lay a hand on my belly or to give it a kiss. If I react to baby’s movements within their earshot, they’re like moths to a flame. And it’s beautiful.
Tonight before bed, after we’d gone around sharing what we were each thankful for today, Eloise asked if she could pray. She remembered Daddy and Henry and baby and all of the usual things, but then she said this, “And for mommy’s heart and Jesus. Amen.”
I must just be in a very hormonal and weepy space, because I almost cried right there. Really? After all of the craziness of this week and my poor attitude at times? My unwillingness in moments to act with a servant heart toward my children, and the grumbly nature of things here in the little blue house? Thank you for mommy’s heart?
This is the epitome of grace as best as I can define it. And it’s also such a reminder to me of the weighty and incredible responsibility given to us as parents–that we must steward our influence over our children oh-so-carefully, and with intention as much as absolutely possible.
I ask myself how my two and a half year old can be thankful for my heart when I’ve felt so depleted of my energy and ability to express love lavishly? When I feel like I’ve been getting it all wrong?
How important and edifying it is to recognize afresh that our children’s desires are actually quite simple: quality time, basic needs met, affirmation, presence. God spoke to my heart tonight through the words of a not-yet-three year old, which is perfect when my world at present centers on motherhood and the well-being of our still-small babes here at home.
They don’t need perfect. They just need me.
They do need me to respond to their physical needs. They need to me to initiate and reciprocate loving words or hugs or snuggle time. They need me to affirm them more than I correct them, and they need to know that I am consistent, present, and a place of refuge.
Yesterday I did not feel like a place of refuge, and, as I mentioned, we all limped along.
There must have been beautiful souls praying for our little family this morning, because today’s wake up was so much different. (Thank you, by the way, whoever and wherever you are!) I sat on the couch soaking up some quiet time for reflection while the kiddos played well together, and I could breathe deeply. There was so. much. peace.
All day today, the still small voice in my head and heart reminded me to temper my words. To encourage. To wait until it was necessary to exercise correction. To be the gentler version of myself that I so often aspire to and quite frequently overstep. There were sweet spaces in the day and I felt them. I prayed that Henry and Eloise (and even baby) would feel them, too.
So, tonight? Tonight when we were past bedtime by about 45 minutes and still up sorting through story time and sore ankles and missing lovies and family prayer? Tonight, God used the littlest of our household to remind me afresh that it’s my heart I have to offer above all else.
It’s the best thing I can give freely to our children–not just our two here with me now, but also the third well on his or her way. It’s the best thing I can offer Jason in this season and always, even when our focus is easily drawn toward our young family, baby preparations, life decisions, and the daily grind. And it’s the absolute thing I’m called to offer God in the daily, whether I’m rejoicing or hurting, in awe of him or in doubt.
My heart is the thing, and it always will be. Yours is, too. Just ask your favorite two year old.
grace and peace,