It is dark and early morning. Hush hangs gentle over the house, with sleeping sounds of five children and a husband deeply resting. Peace lives here, and I whisper thanks in my heart for the honor of living it.
The baby stirs in the next room, and I go to her, tenderly lifting her close so our cheeks might touch in a groggy silent hello before cradling her in my arms the way mothers do. She is warm and I remember how cold life once was, a lifetime ago it seems. I feel her weight in my arms and in my soul and squeeze just a bit to tell her so. Good morning, little one. She reminds me daily that this humble, simple life is one of joy, not just an endless list of mundane tasks to complete to keep the four walls standing.
Mothering is a joy. It is a trial, a heartache, a sacrifice, and a journey, but with the right spectacles on, I see how giving more of myself brings me more of the good stuff in life. It’s one of those odd, upside-down Jesus things that make little sense at first, and all the sense in the world when you’re in up to your ears, which I am.
For years, I have straddled the fence between control and surrender, but control quietly put itself in the closet about the time this fifth child showed up, and I breathe out the relief. Living with fists clenched tight is just not worth it. If we can stop and be honest, there is very little we control, and if we control anything, it should be our attitudes, our tempers, our thoughts. The rest of what we think we control is an illusion. We can influence. Direct. Decide. Do. There is freedom for all of that. But control? Control is not what we have, despite our best attempts to grasp it. It is what we grapple for. Naturally. We think if we write our stories our own way, we will be satisfied, but…
The joy is the surrender. It is the open hands. It is the walking faith with eyes on nothing else but the Word made man. The joy is receiving what He gives. It is the trusting and seeing how personally and intimately God loves us, and letting that love wrap around and grow and spill out. It is the yes we say, even when we have no idea how the yes can happen. It is the giving what we have and seeing it returned ten-fold. It is the face of a child that every day reminds me that to surrender to God is to discover the life of joy.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrew 12:1-2
“We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b
411. parenting victories, 412. help from God, 413. excitement over handmade halloween costumes, 414. productive meal prep for the freezer, 415. a quiet week, 416. kind words from my husband, 417. cuddles from big kids, 418. encouragement from my oldest, 419. seeds, 420. the tender heart