There is no calm like the calm of a clean and cozy house after a day full of squealing, screechy, squabbling, scrumptious children.
That calm is here tonight. The soft piano Christmas carols playing to lull children on toward sleep bring peace. All one hundred counted messes are put in their places and the dishes are drying and please, sir, can I have some more of that chocolate caramel pretzel bark (which turned out delicious in spite of the fact that two ingredients were altered and it was made anyway in the smack middle of the loud and rowdy afternoon)? The soft tree lights twinkle in the dim room and I remain baffled over how the home went from wake-of-tornado to tidy and warm in just an hour.
If you know our story, you may remember that last winter and then especially in the spring we had care of a darling little girl for a time. Though we longed for her to stay permanently and the ache was great when we no longer tucked a fourth dearling in every night, we knew it was next to impossible, and sure enough, she left us after two months. I did not think the story was over, but since then I have felt and heard the Lord saying to my heart, "Not yet, not yet, wait, child." I am slowly learning to heed that voice of patience and calling. I still don't claim to know the reason for this quiet holding and can only trust that the Spirit has been leading, guarding and moving.
This week, that leading to wait suddenly lifted from both Jesse and I simultaneously and changed to, "Now." We did try and we have been blessed to have this beloved in our home again this week. It has been a week full-
Full of... well... what can I say? Joy and gratitude. I know my daughters would say the same thing as they extravagantly open their arms and hearts to this dear child that they love as their own sister. The list of things that make them happy at the end of each day have included her each night. I don't know anything. I don't know what will happen tomorrow or the next day or next week, but then, you don't either. All I know is that for tonight, I am grateful.
Oh, mothers of young children, listen, my friends. Don't fall into thinking there is nothing you can or should do to minister to a lost and hurting world beyond the immediate care of your children. Be earnest in prayer for opportunities to come to you and be watchful to make the most of every opportunity. Sometimes I hear and read from the Christian community that our ministry as mothers is simply to our own children and husbands and oh yes how very very important our ministry to our families are and I would be the last person to diminish the importance of caring for the little flock that God has given us. But please, please, my friends, be discerning of your own heart. Do not hide behind your children as an excuse from all of the courageous and small or even great acts of love you can provide to the Least-of-These you encounter. It will not be easy, it will likely be pain-full, but it will also be beautiful and joy-full. You will be a warrior busting down the gates of hell that hold captive the Least of These in despair and you, even you, can bring the hope and light of Christ Jesus, often in ways you wouldn't be able to do as well if you were not a mother.
Be not afraid, says the angel to young Mary and to the cast-off shepherds - for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.
Be not afraid. Seek the Savior. To do that, you must run to where He is, and that place where He resides is always downward and upside-down. Go there and you will rejoice and ponder.