Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting it

This past December, I did Advent with the girls. Can I be honest? While there were some sweet moments of reflection, it was not something that I looked forward to every night. Now, I know that I should embrace the childishness of my children... but in my head, it was so much more solemn. Contemplative. Holy.

In reality, it was chaotic. The big girls fighting over who got to blow out the candles. Cana wanting to sing the ABC's instead of O Come, O Come Emanuel. Ruby, who I had just gotten to sleep in the other room, waking and crying for mama to come cuddle with her. I am embarrassed to admit that I lost my cool and snapped at my kids... more than once.

The Christmas season is over. We have packed up our Advent wreath for next year, me-- perhaps a little more cynical and world-wise about what to expect for Advent with three small children. And truly, it was a bit discouraging. We left the season without my girls having attained any Biblical truths, or any spiritual renewal. I left the season without gaining any Biblical truths, or any spiritual renewal. We didn't get it.

But God is merciful, and He showed me a glimpse of His kindness the other day.

Continuing a tradition that my parents began, every night at Advent we pray individually for the families who sent us cards and letters. This, too, usually dissolved into fits of tears (theirs and mine), as Evie and Cana fought over who got to hold the picture of the baby... and a cross reprimand from me, "Girls! We are PRAYING to JESUS! BE QUIET!!" (I know, I am an amazing mother. Don't hate.)

The cards, which were displayed on the post in our dining room, have long since been taken down and discarded. (Can I say that without offending? Yes, I throw them out recycle them eventually.) One must have slipped out of the trash pile recycling bin and wound up in some dark corner of the house which never sees a broom.

My sweet Cana found it. The other day, I stopped what I was doing and looked over at my wee girl. She was seated at her little art table, the card in front of her. Her eyes were closed and her little babyish brow furrowed deeply.

"Jesus," she prayed, "please keep them safe. Oh, Lord, please help them to love You more! Be close to them, Jesus."

What a tender mercy for me to hear this!!

I long for the salvation of my children. I long for them to love mercy and to seek justice and to be passionate about the things that Jesus is passionate about. I long for them to love each other, to serve each other. I long for them to have wisdom.

And I beat on Heaven's doors with these requests-- but I know, despite any kind of good parenting or bad parenting on my part-- it is only the Lord's mercy that can save my children. And so I beg for it.

But I also want to be diligent-- Oh, God! help me be diligent! To love these girls, to plant seeds of kindness and compassion and service-- seeds that only Jesus can make grow.

Jesus, I cast my children on You.

I cast myself on You, failures and cross words and impatience- You know them all.

Help us to get it.


Michelle said...

Love it! That's a pretty involved prayer for a 2 year old! :)

Julie Garner said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Your not a terrible mother at all. And I love your honestly. Who can't relate to yelling at your kids AS your praying?! (Not me...ha ha ha!)

By the way, you will be getting FAR less Christmas cards next year. I hope you know that.