It was one of those dreams that was so real, the tears were too. I woke up with a wet face, in the middle of night, my heart pounding. “It was just a dream,” I repeated. But my body was still shaking, and my soul still needed to calm down. I stretched out, searching for a cooler spot in my warm bed.
As I turned over, so did the doorknob to my bedroom. In padded my youngest son, sleepily dragging his worn stuffed lion behind him. Silently he climbed in bed with me, burrowed close, and put his face next to my face, his little tiny hand on mine. We snuggled together, relaxed, and drifted off, each thankful for the other.
The word “ministry” is related to the concept of “pouring out.” If you were to ask me my definition of motherhood, I’d say the same thing. As mothers, we pour out all day long. We comfort, we correct, we care. We are shuttles, counselors, referees, chefs, administrators, and artists. The ministry of motherhood is all about emptying out. Not to mention what happens when we add quarter-time, part-time, or full-time work. Pouring ourselves out is all we do.
But God has not forgotten how much we pour out. He sees. He knows. And He sends. During those moments in the night when our body unexpectedly pours out tears, He sends comfort. In all kinds of beautiful little ways.
So often I forget that motherhood is a mutual priesthood. I teach, love, and minister to my children, and my children teach, love, and minister me. Sometimes they teach me that I am the entitled one. Or the one who needs a serious time-out. Or the one with the messy heart. And I don’t want to miss those precious lessons.
Let’s not be naval-gazing mothers who think we are the only ones pouring out. Let’s be moms who keep our chins up and see the ways our children pour back into us. The way they sense momma had a bad dream and needed a snuggle. The way they invite us into their ideas, games, and stories. The way God pours His love into us through them.
We have so many opportunities to open up our hearts and let the love of our children fill us up. Let’s not be too proud or perfect and so block a child’s inpouring. God has set up a process of giving and receiving in motherhood—what a gift.
God, show me today where You pour Your love out on me through my children. Thank You that You have gifts to give us through little hands and big love. Amen.