I see you, Mama.
I see you on the side of the pool with children clinging to your legs. They scream, then run away from you, and from the swim instructor waiting to guide them out of fear. I see your pasted smile, your clenched jaw. I see the what-do-I-do-now look in your eyes as you chase fleeing little feet.
And I hear you Mama.
I hear you in the restroom at the grocery store, voice a little too loud, a little too harsh as you berate the small person on the toilet for not telling you sooner, as you wonder what on earth you will do with these soggy pants and a half-naked child.
I feel you tremble, Mama.
I feel your shoulders shake as I wrap my arms around you for a gentle hug after you tell me how exhausted you are, how the baby is teething and your husband is working overtime and your house is a disaster and you need to lose the weight but you just can't get off the couch.
Some days it all feels just too hard... doesn't it, sweet weary Mama? Some days it's all correction and breaks and spills and tears running down cheeks. Everyone's cheeks.
Those people, those tiny little sinners given over to your care, oh they wear you right out. Yes and how.
And the day ends and you look in the mirror and wonder what you got done and think how pretty you used to be in the old days. But now your face sags and your hair is limp from the quick wash and ponytail. Your clothes are stained and wrinkled and you don't even care.
And you wonder if what you do matters any more.
If you matter.
So let me tell you this, Mama.
Those little sticky smelly people? You are their world.
You are their Queen, their teacher, their Julia Child. You are master of their domain... exquisitely beautiful... everything they want to be.
You are their best friend.
With fat crayons they scribble love notes to you that look like so many scratched lines, because they are your secret admirers. The crushed handful of flowery weeds is a giant bouquet for their beloved.
You're it Mama. You're the only mama they have. You are The One. You matter in their lives more than anyone else right now. More than anyone, Mama.
What you say to them today will mold and shape them in ways you can't comprehend. How you live love for them will teach them what it means to be God's girl, what it looks like to walk that right out where you walk every day.
Every giving, every offering makes a difference. Each time you take a deep breath and speak cheerfully instead of shouting blesses. You're being refined by fire Mama. Fire.
This. Is Worth. It.
Get right on your knees when you feel like you can't take one more moment. Go squeeze yourself into a closet, lock yourself in the bathroom, find a place for a moment and cry out, cry hard, Mama.
Cry out to God and tell Him that it's too much. Tell Him how much you need help. How they make you crazy and you're afraid you'll mess up and you're just plain worn out.
He is faithful to hear you. You're His girl. He will hear and He will help.
Lay it down. Lay it all right down at His feet, Mama, all that fear and worry and exhaustion and loss. Choose to be a servant. Choose to walk in His shoes and give it all. Give it all to these little wild ones growing in your house.
This is forever work. It doesn't look glamorous, but this service has fruit that lasts for eternity. This is soul shaping and mind growing work that matters.
As you raise those little people and continually, gently point them in the right direction, you are continually and gently being pointed in the right direction yourself. You can't do this without Jesus, Mama.
He's your direction.
Wipe your face, beautiful daughter of the King. Stand tall, stand firm. Walk in love. It matters.