I was scrubbing lunch crumbs off the placemats, just in time for supper. (Most days, we eat right on top of those leftover crumbs!) I had hamburgers frying on the stove, a baby sleeping in the other room, and the rest of my kids playing in the basement. I heard footsteps on the stairs, and then, “Mommy?”
“Please don’t yell at me. I just wanted to know if I could help you.”
Oh good Lord, I’m right back there again. Right there where my patience snaps in half. Right there where I look and sound just like I tell my kids NOT to look and sound like! Right back where I thought maybe I’d left, for a new lesson in Motherhood.
Nope. It’s me being harsh again.
Can I crawl in a big cardboard box? I know we have one or two floating around.
I get this way when the stress comes. When I start freaking out about, say, Christmas? Un-bought presents, un-planned menus, un-cleaned house, un-packed suitcases, un-established traditions, un-mailed packages…
Now tell me, is that not foolish? My friend Mary Behrens said something wonderfully freeing on Facebook: “December 25th will come and go whether I’m ready or not!”
I don’t want to be ready for December 25th. I want to be ready for Jesus! And Jesus is here now, our Immanuel. He doesn’t go home in between the holidays! And I can’t be ready for Him if I’m stressing out over a pending, government-issued day. A made-in-China toy craze.
Jesus is wrapped up in my children. My children, they are here now! They don’t need a stressed-out mom. The need joy and patience, peace and laughter, love and memories. My kids can’t sit and wait on the back burner until I get my life in order.
My kids and I, we were having a talk the other day. Kirstyn wanted to know, “Do I have to love God more than I love you, Mom? Because I don’t want to!” Tricky question. I told her that technically, yes, she needed to love God more than she loved me. But, right now she was loving God by loving me, and obeying me, and hopefully I would never ask her to do something that God wouldn’t like.
(She came up with a hypothetical situation: “Like if you asked me to kill a cat.” Me: “I would never ask you to kill a cat.” Kirstyn: “Well, if it was sick, and had a broken leg, and a broken neck, and broken everything, and it was going to die anyway.” Me: “I think God would be okay with the cat dying then.” Kirstyn: “Yeah.”)
I also explained to the kids that I love God by loving them! How I’m treating them is how I’m treating God. (All those mean faces? Yeah… not good.)
For example, non-hypothetical situation: If I huff, “What, Kirstyn?” because I really don’t want to be bothered right now, and please just leave me alone, then I’m breaking God’s heart.
Breaking God’s heart is not something I want to do. Ever. But during this season when we celebrate His birth? I should be hugging my babies especially close, pointing out the stars, and the manger, and the angels, and the baby boy who was born to save us. To bring hope back to the world. To rip aside the veil to glory. To give us justice and mercy simultaneously.
My gift back to this Baby should be love spilling over on the ones He has given to be Immanuel played out in my life.