In the four years he's been with us, there's been a lot on our plate. It's easy to feel guilty about all the moments lost to other things - things more difficult or stressful than this fairly easy little boy who entered our lives with a bang, who fills our home and our days with a little more noise than we've had in the past.
At t-ball, the other little boys come running to tattle - he's always throwing sand, or casting someone out of his "castle" atop the playground, or taking on some much bigger boy for the title of king. I'm not sure where he got all his bluster, and I'm not always sure what to do about it. So when we're at the beach and there are no other little boys around, I let him toss sand until he's content, and I just sit there and we belly laugh together as the handfuls catch the afternoon sun.
His needs come in great big tidal waves that wash over me and throw me off balance - 24 hours of cuddling at a time, regression so severe that I literally throw my hands to the heavens and tell God I don't know what to do next. And in the dark of the night, when I'm confused and I feel malnourished of both sleep and wisdom, I go to the kitchen looking for the prescriptions I forgot to take that evening in my rush to get him to stop crying. I can't find anything I'm looking for except for the leather bound Bible on the counter. About as a far from Christian Science as you can get, my hand falters over the cover. I keep looking for my meds. But another 20 minutes, and I'm still coming up empty, and I stumble back to bed thinking 12 hours can't make that much of a difference, Bible in hand.
I read four Psalms that night, Psalms 74, 75, 76 and 77, four in which I had underlined nothing in my red Bible in which almost every chapter there is something underlined. One line jumped out at me, and I remember falling asleep murmuring that line, a holy prayer from the Word. But I read those four Psalms today, to quote that line to you, and I cannot find it. I don't know what caught my heart in the hours of the long night.
It's a mixed up story, this. A mother's heart all worked up over her children. I have so many fears about how I'm parenting them and schooling them and how it derails. Especially during these times of anxiety over health concerns. I have fears about the disproportionate amount of time I spend thinking about, praying for, weeping over, and planning for Amelia's needs. How do I tend to the others well when things like this are going on in our lives?
The one thing I know is this: in the most difficult season of all for me as their mother, these children are shipwrecked with me on the most amazing island of all - Grace. We are discovering together, me as if for the first time, the unsearchable depth of forgiveness and second chances that await all of us when we take hold of the forgiveness that is ours through the Cross. And while I have taped to my kitchen wall Ephesians 5:14-16 ("redeem the time"), I am coming to define it differently. There is always a tomorrow for times tables and not-throwing-sand-ever and learning your alphabet, but for character and love and Grace? That time is today, that season is always now, and I cannot afford to waste one moment.
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.