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.