It’s past midnight now, yet I sit sleepy-eyed in the too quiet house. Our four children are all tucked safely into bed and my husband snores beside me. An extra chill hangs in the air as temperatures outdoor have dipped below zero once again.
I should have gone to bed long ago, but the quiet is so peaceful and I’m feeling so thankful. Not for any one thing in particular, really, but for many small things all at once that pile up to one pretty spectacular life that I just don’t deserve.
And it’s because of Him, our Creator God, that I am gifted with this one life, this one year, this one day never to be repeated again.
So, I’m thankful because in the midst of trial, I’m finally seeing some of the good. I don’t always see it, don’t always “count it joy,” but today I can see the progress.
Today I realized that this time of trial has greatly strengthened our marriage. I’m able to appreciate my husband in ways that I haven’t been able to before. He’s been my comfort in times of need and my encourager in times of weakness. We’ve regained that sense of companionship that so easily gets lost in the daily urgency of parenthood and of ministry. I’m counting that a victory!
Even more, after finishing only part of the laundry and part of the coupon clipping, I felt free to stop and just “be” with them, those fabulous kids who amaze me with their zest for life and their love for others. And again I’m thankful because I don’t always take the time to stop and read books or play legos or look at drawings or dance. I can’t always resist the desire for domestic perfection, but I’m never sorry when I do. Another victory I’m claiming!
And I, I walk away the richer for it. I fall even more in love with these creatures the Lord has entrusted to us.
I notice the way my daughter’s bedtime hugs and kisses always come with compliments like beautifulest or sweetest or nicest or bestest. And when I pay her a compliment in return, her face fairly glows with joy. She’s my enthusiastic encourager.
I notice, too, the way our youngest son really hugs me back, both small arms around my neck and a nice squeeze (but not too hard), maybe even a few pats on the back. He lingers there, not old enough to be embarrassed yet by sitting in Mommy’s lap. He’s my sweet snuggler.
I can’t leave out our middle son, our macho man, who seems unusually happy and eager to please this evening (bedtime is normally met with his frowns). In fact, he asks me to stop reading before his bedtime story is finished so that he will have time to pick up his blankets from the floor (shocking!), the leftovers of a massive tent-fort built on this unexpected snow day. It delighted me because…he’s my energetic entertainer.
The only one left is our oldest son, quick to help, slow to anger. His shoulders seem to grow broader by the day as his voice deepens. He’s developing a hunger and thirst for the Lord that thrills this mama’s heart. He’s my gentle leader of the pack. 🙂
What really struck me this evening, though, was the sense of peace that pervaded the air here. The transformation that love in action has on our children is profound. When they know that in this moment right here, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are incredibly loved, that they are valued for who they are, then they blossom right before my eyes.
No tears at bedtime, no scowling, no stalling…
I can see it on their smiling faces, that in just a few lovely hours, they’ve been filled to the brim so much so that it just overflows in return – love and joy and peace.
Suddenly, I realize that it’s no different for me. How much easier it is for me to obey my Heavenly Father when I’ve taken time to revel in His love for me, His perfect, unfailing, unconditional love for me. Not for everyone else, but for me.
How quick I am to chose right instead of wrong.
How strong I stand in the face of temptation.
How peaceful I feel.
And in me, the joy is unspeakable because it’s true. My Father God loves me. He’s patient with me. He comforts me. He rejoices in me. He blesses me with an abundance of good things.
And even on the tough days, when I act like an ungrateful child, He waits for me. And when I sink to the ground in absolute despair, He sits beside me. And when I’m ready to press on, He helps me stand.
Isn’t it the same for all of us, sisters? If we could just live every day with this soul-deep thankfulness for who He is and for who we are because of Him, then being the women of faith we should be, the ones we really long to be, wouldn’t be half as hard!
Instead, the work-in-progress would come easy to us. The victories frequent rather than few and far between. It would spill right over the edges of our very selves and stream out to everyone around us, this supernatural love.
All of those good things that we cannot manufacture on our own? They begin with Him, through Him, from Him.
Because He is good and His love endures forever.
We can be confident in that Love, sisters, for it tells us who we are.
It brings us victory!
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