Tonight during family prayer time, my sweet Hannah prayed this prayer:
And God, please help Mommy love us better.
Honestly, I don't know if those were her exact words, but that is what I heard. Talk about dagger to the heart and a terribly sinking feeling in my stomach. Immediately, I held her close.
Do I not do a good job of loving you, Hannah? My eyes plead and my heart hinges on the "yes" that escapes her lips. She smiles, gives me a kiss, and crawls into her bed. I slink out of the room, no taller than the Barbie leaning up again the toy chest. Is it so obvious that I need help showing love to my children?
I throw this question up to God. I don't expect the answer that immediately imprints on my brain, one similar to a neon OPEN sign in a storefront window. OPEN! OPEN! OPEN! These words simply say, Did you not just pray these words yesterday?
I try to explain to God that it doesn't matter if I prayed it. The fact that she prayed it is what is important here. It's much like me realizing I should lose weight and someone else telling me I'm getting a bit chunky in the rear. Perhaps it's that I'm okay knowing my flaws, but I detest other people recognizing them, too.
I think of other possible promptings for this prayer. Maybe she recognizes that some days, it's hard being a mom. Maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking through her and she is lifting me up in prayer. Maybe she likes how so-and-so's mom dishes out the lovin' and she's hoping I'll follow suit. I don't know. The whole thing hurt my heart, but I'm determined to not drown in guilt and to, instead, let these words provoke some thoughts about changes.
- I will recognize that during this season in my life, I am easily distracted from my parenting. I will ask forgiveness and I will continue to pray that God shows me when and how to be more intentional. I will put the iPhone down. I will not rush to the phone every time the email *dings* to see if it is another comment on my blog. I will not wait with anticipation until it is my turn again on Words with Friends.
- I will give up the things that God has asked me to lay down. Even if it means forfeiting extra money and a title of which I might be a bit too proud.
- I will lay down my fear of things not getting done. Perhaps in my quest to tidy up every last loose end, I have left my own children dangling in the lurch. Oh my.
- I will not idolize my time in a quiet house. In fact, I will not call it "my time." Really, it's God's time and He knows how it would best be spent. He knows when I need to work. He knows when I need to rest. He knows when it is time to clean the house. When my house is noisy and full of boisterous children, I will rejoice and see God's love and grace in the moment, no matter what is within the present situation.
- I will give myself grace. I am a parent. I am not a perfect parent. I am not perfect. Period.
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