Finding a Moment of Thanks

As I woke up this morning, I immediately was thankful for a new day.  To say that almost all of the 24 hours of yesterday was horrible would not be that much of an exaggeration.  Even after the day should’ve been over, Hannah Grace repeatedly came downstairs while Matt and I tried our best to unwind; she didn’t go to bed until 11.  Chloe cried on and off all night until Matt gave up and brought her in bed with us.  She became our first child to roll out of our bed and onto the floor, giving me a mild heart attack in the middle of the night.

As I struggle through exhaustion this morning, I look back on yesterday and still do not know what I should’ve done differently.  The two oldest were blatantly defiant all day. They didn’t merely find trouble numerous times; they repeatedly sought it out, doing the same wrong things over and over.

By 6:00, I was done.  I was hot, and after hearing ‘no’ and that my children no longer loved me numerous times during the course of the day, I was physically and emotionally tired. It was 86 degrees in our house, thanks to the energy-saving plan I chose to participate in during what will surely go down as the hottest summer on record, and Caleb was sitting on the step, refusing to go up to his room as I had asked.  I had no more energy and no more ideas–I had already taken away every privilege I could remember–and Matt wasn’t going to get home for another hour-and-a-half.  I felt like I was going to lose control in any moment, and I didn’t want to.

In the middle of the floor where I was sitting on my knees, I grabbed my face and squeezed my eyes shuts.  I started to pray a desperate prayer: God help me. Show me what to do!  I don’t know what to do! I sat silent with eyes still closed waiting to hear an answer.  I heard nothing.

And when I looked up and saw my son still sitting on that step, laughing with his sisters, the rage boiled within me. “Go upstairs NOW!” I yelled louder and longer than even I knew I was capable.

Chloe cried, Caleb looked at me in shock, but Hannah Grace’s reaction I will never forget.

She smiled, not a mocking smile, but a genuine smile.  And in the softest voice, she spoke the kindest words I have ever heard:

“Mama, I like you.  I like you, Mama.”

Somehow, this little girl no longer seemed like a little girl, almost three.  She sounded like a wise teacher, a teacher who knew exactly what her student needed to hear.

She walked over to where I was sitting and put one hand in mine, the most gentle touch I have ever felt. “I love you, Mama,” she said, emphasizing her choice of word, and then she kissed me on my lips while wrapping her arms around my neck.

The other children noticed and began to follow her lead.  Chloe toddled over and opened her mouth.  She kissed me, leaving a trail of wet all over my mouth, totally disgusting and totally wonderful.  She wrapped her baby arms around me, surprising me by the actual hug she was giving.  Then Caleb got off the stairs.  He came, adding his embrace to that of his two sisters.  I could hardly balance, three children hanging on me at the same time.  As Caleb pulled away, he, too, kissed me on the lips.

Chloe toddled back to the steps, Caleb following behind her, but Hannah Grace remained. Taking her soft hands, she gently slid them down my cheeks and said, “I love you, Mama.  I really love you.”  She continued to repeat her words, cupping my face, as if trying to ensure I believed her.

A few, short minutes later, I was still waiting for God to tell me what to do, as the disobedience continued.  The night ahead was long, and I didn’t get the rest I needed. However, in that brief moment on the floor, God answered my prayer, differently than I had hoped, but in the way He knew I needed.  My spirit was lifted as I had never experienced before, and for that, I am thankful.

Starting today, I’d like to use Fridays as a way to reflect on the week and find at least one specific thing for which I can be thankful.  I’d love for you to join me, as well! You can list your thanks in the comment section or provide a link for your own post.  We’ve all had different kinds of weeks, some wonderful, some stressful, but let’s all choose to end them the same–thankful.

13 thoughts on “Finding a Moment of Thanks

  1. Jennifer, I was led to your blogs via a post bt Marcus Buckingham & I believe I’ve read them all now! I’m in love with your writing. My little ones have grown into teenagers now and although life can be much different now, the basics are still there. Just this morning my 2 (young men) boys were quite affectionate after being gone for a couple of days. There are times when feeling needed is something I miss (believe it or not!) & when they show me they still “need” me, I’m very thankful! Your blogs vividly take me back to times when I had a houseful of little ones & I can honestly tell you that although I can remember times of desparation, the memories are sweet ones. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

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    1. Linette, thank you for reading and sharing your kind words! Even though mine are small, I can imagine always wanting to feel needed. I think that feeling is common to many, whether or not they are mothers. Thanks, again, and have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. This is so touching and brought tears to my very swollen eyes. How i wish we lived closer so i could give you a much needed break more often. i think you need to start a mom’s club even if with one mom. Oh how that Hannah Grace knows when to pour out her love. I will never forget when she held my face and said i was her precious and beautiful grammy. First, i’m thankful to my Lord, for calming my soul and saving me. This week, i’m so thankful for my precious husband, daughters, “sons” and grandbabies. You all always light up my life.

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    1. Trust me–you wouldn't have wanted to come over yesterday! Was it a full moon by any chance? Yes, God has definitely given Hannah Grace a gift; I've never met anyone like her. I hope you're feeling better today–is the swelling going down at all?

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  3. Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much I can relate to this post. Been there, big time! And like yours, my children have showered me with love and acceptance, in spite of my flaws. It's truly a humbling experience.

    Jennifer, I want to thank you for your very thoughtful comment on my blog today. I appreciate your thoughts, and am grateful for the conversation you have helped to continue there.

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  4. I'm catching up on posts, and this one touched my heart. Once again, I can totally relate with you. I've been in the same exact position, on my knees, crying, begging God for some sort of help or sign of what I should do. I hate yelling at my kids, and when I do, I always feel horrible and pray that He would help me to not do it again(or as much).
    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability on this blog. It truly is a comfort to read your stories and know that we are all in the same boat.

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    1. I'm glad the post brought you comfort. Sometimes parenting is tough, and I know I am encouraged to hear that I'm not the only one who struggles! And knowing my children still love me, in spite of my flaws, brings me even more comfort!

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  5. You asked Mom if it was a full moon. If you see hair growing on my grandkids hands and fangs coming out, it's a full moon. If not, it's kids just being kids and'
    pushing you as far as they can until you reach what you think is your limit. And then that smiley little girl who marches to her own tune, marches back to you with a dimpled smile and some words to let you know, Your didn't reach your limit, you
    just had a much needed time out and they came over to reassure you.

    It's tough and I know it's hard to find humor in it but keep writing your thoughts and
    as you look back, they might not look that bad and you may, just may be glad that you had the experience so you can write about it. Think so? Nah! but it sounded
    good.

    I love you,
    Dad

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