I inch open the door. Two teeners are playing. I’m so happy to see them playing, taking life by the reins. Like they used to. When did life get so serious?
One’s perched on the other’s back, having turned into some type of cowgirl. The other’s on all fours, and somehow I’m waiting for a “neigh” to bellow out of her mouth. Instead, all contagious laughs, giggles, smiles.
“What?” I nearly fall over laughing.
They jump up, place sweet hands in mine.
“Do y’all want to start reading together through the New-Testament-in-a-year?” I ask the girls, switching gears and interrupting their Lone Ranger and Silver moment. But it’s been weighing heavily on my heart.
Both nod so eagerly.
Whew! Because I’m going on fumes right now.
And I need to get at least one weight off my heart. Taking something off my shoulders would be nice, too.
We always did pretty good at family devotions when the girls were small. But things shifted somehow. I tried to get them started on Bible Gateway, helping them establish their own routine. No more “we” but God in thee. That went good for a while, but like with all things, discipline tiptoes out the door, and we’re left crumpled on the floor. And that’s a complete disservice to my girls.
I need jumper cables. Um, okay … spurs kicking into my sides.
Because when serious sickness enters your home, even teens can only go on fumes for so long. Anxiety hugs the heart, pinching in the night, demanding conversation.
And one daughter wraps her arms around me. My teetertotter emotions …. “I understand, Mama. Shh. It’s okay.” I adore her motherly way. What gave it away? Hands that I used to hold everywhere—once so tiny with tiny nails that I used to clip with the baby clippers—soothed over my face, wiping away the moisture. Tight hugs. My other daughter gifts me with one, too.
Life has been so busy. Where has my time with them gone?
Is it okay for a mama to admit she’s scared? She’s scared of the present, the past, the future. She’s scared of every day she tried to make it on her own and failed miserably. She’s terrified of the scars etched into her heart from days without holding her Savior’s hand. She’s scared of every reminder, every memory. She wishes for white-out, do-overs, the delete key for her heart.
What does she yearn for more than anything for her girls? A clean piece of paper, a clean heart. One prepped and ready to type God’s beautiful future, beautiful present on their hearts, to accompany their beautiful pasts.
But we can’t pour out our heart’s desire on that blank page what we aren’t pouring in. The page will be written on, but it won’t be desirous, the Godly way. It’ll never sell.
And when I’m too tired, I’m reminded I’m too tired not to. I’m loading dirty dishes in the dishwaser, and I don’t think I have the stamina to finish, but I will. That’s my disciplined, determined self talking. And I’ll collapse into that bed.
And a brush of wind swirls past me, sweet arms envelope me. “You ready to read our devotion?”
“We better do it now, while I can.” Anxiety only falls away when we fall into the arms of God.
We plop down onto the floor, circle around, maybe hit the couch, maybe climb into my bed …. She takes my phone, hits the Bible Gateway App.
“The verse of the day,” she says, “is Ephesians 4:2—‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.'” She clicks on “Begin A Reading Plan” and continues right where we left off. “Matthew 20:1-16,” she says.
Verse 16 ends with, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
We all chuckle. “I used to say that to you when you were small all the time,” I say. “I wanted you to be giving. It feels good to give.” And I didn’t want them to fight. But my version usually came out like—“If you want to be first, you have to be last.” And that’s where I might blow a raspberry, if I were that kind of mama.
|fishing in the swimming pool … caught a plastic fish each and every time|
|floaties in the shallow end|
They laugh. Then nod.
“I remember, Mama. I say that to all my Sunday school kids,” one daughter admits.
Yes. They haven’t forgotten. Full circle. God is writing on their hearts. The giving has been received. Because when we give, we always receive. An honest servant is always rewarded in time. It might seem like a rough draft, but it’s the real, published deal, where purchases are final. It’s sitting on the heart-shelf, waiting to be taken, to be given to their friends, anyone blessed enough to receive from their hands, maybe their future kids.
We take the limited time in this life together by the reins.
A return to family devotion.
Do you have a family devotion? Have you had to take life by the reins recently?