Ok, I'm going to give this another shot... I was SO disappointed to have lost this post immediately after publishing it! I pray it's just as encouraging as it originally was!
The other night, as the kids and I walked into the door after a long day of school and work, I immediately went into bedtime routine. It was nearly 8 P.M. already, and I hadn't seen them since 8 A.M. I'm not going to lie, life as a single mommy isn't easy for the mom nor the kids. As a mom, I have to sometimes step out of routine and be intentional with my time with my four children. Because, let's be completely honest here, a full-time mom who has a full-time (paying) job also is stretched thin, and can easily get caught up in just getting through the day! I thank God that my children are so graciously forgiving of me. They may not be aware of that, but I am.
This particular night I just missed them. Talking with them. Breathing with them. Sitting still with them. I missed their minds and hearts. So, I directed them to do their bedtime prep with the promise of some devotion time as soon as they're in bed! My kids love devotion time, so nobody was dragging their feet! I was tired, yes, but the LORD refreshed my spirit and renewed my strength because my will was in line with His. After reading devotion, we had discussion time. I do realize they use this time to push the time limits, but it doesn't bother me at all! It's never time wasted when talking about the LORD with your children. Getting to hear their thought processes is a treasure hunt in itself!
Then, bedtime prayers following such discussions are so inspiring and fulfilling! We all said a genuine, out of routine, heartfelt prayer... except my oldest. I, then, reminded him how much he used to love praying and how I love hearing his heart when he prays. I found myself feeling a bit discouraged when he decided not to pray. But then, his confidence and security in who he is and his relationship with the LORD filled me with such a peace! He told me that he does love praying, he just didn't have anything on his heart to pray at that moment. And hearing that made me so proud to know that he doesn't have a religious mindset of God and his relationship with Him. Our relationship with our heavenly Father isn't one of routine, but intentional. And sometimes we just need to rest in Him and soak.
As they were finally ready to go to sleep, my daughter tells me, " You're a good mommy." ever so sweetly. My children constantly speak words of affirmation to me, so naturally. It melts my heart each time and I also take it as whispers from heaven. I know you mommies out there can relate to the times we feel that we're not being good mommies. We are our worst enemies. We see all our failures and blow ups. But their eyes see our love for them and others more than our mistakes.
It's quite interesting, actually... how we can experience God's love for us through our children while, at the same time, we can understand how deeply he longs for our hearts in the way we long for our children's hearts. It truly was a revelation to me!
During a difficult time with my middle son, as he was resisting me and beating himself up with his own words, I experienced such a frustration that fueled my desire to pursue him with a mother's relentless love! The more he pushed, the more I went after him. Because, really, isn't that how we all act when we want someone to prove their love and faithfulness to us? Don't we all push the people we love because we want to know they'll push back? Not to say it's right, but it is indeed human nature. Nobody wants to be loved routinely, lacking passion and joy. That's not love, and we all recognize it. My point is that it was truly in that moment that I realized that if I am so willing to fight for my son and completely drain myself of energy in effort to break through to him to show him I will never leave him and desperately love him, no matter what he does to try to push me away or hurt me, how could I ever even think my God wouldn't do the same for me?!
In conclusion to yet another long post, I want to leave you encouraged. Love your children deeply! Love yourself, too, because they do and your heavenly Father does. Be intentional with the small windows of time you have with them. Teach them well, and understand that God is teaching you through them , too! Receive the gift of grace that is constantly handed to you, and give it, too. Rest. Love deeply. Laugh constantly. This is the life you were called to, so enjoy every moment of it in real time!