Fractured and shortened sleep often leaves me in a sour mood.
We had a good run for a while there, but we’re back to one or two of our four young children waking up at night for random reasons. Sigh. In spite of my reduced energy level this week, I’ve worked at my various tasks faithfully, making sure everything that needed to be done was done on time and with care.
I’m finding, though, that if left unattended, the coals of resentment will burn long and low. All week I’ve been asking the Lord to help me to love my family the way Jesus has loved me – sacrificially and extravagantly.
It’s tough to do. I don’t want my golden years to be defined by the bitterness of a personal ledger filled with names and ways I’ve been wounded. I want my life to be characterized by selfless love. But if I can be completely honest here, it takes work not to let that resentment build and the roots of bitterness to take hold.
My prayer has often simply been, “Lord, help me to love my family the way You have loved me.”
This morning I was in the kitchen with my back turned to the table. I had just set down cups of milk for the kids and was returning to put the jug away.
Within a few seconds, my four year old announced, “Mama there’s a spill!”
I spun around quickly to see her entire cup of milk tipped over, the rich white liquid running onto her chair and the floor below.
My heart sank.
“Oh!” I replied, springing into action with a few cloths from the drawer. As I knelt down on all fours and began to mop up the spill, I felt frustrated. It’s not just one thing – it’s all the things. All the little things I do every day that no one ever says thank you for…
My internal rant was interrupted by an unprompted announcement from my almost 2 year old son.
“I yuv you!”
It stopped me in my tracks. Did I hear him correctly?
He shouted again, “I yuv you!”
When I realized what he was trying to say, I laughed and replied, “I love you too!”
He said it over and over again. “I yuv you! I yuv you!”
With each time, I felt a little lighter. His adorable voice was a soothing balm to a heart scorched by resentful thoughts.
Something so small and seemingly coincidental – an expression of love from my youngest child who is just learning to speak – was the work of the Lord in my life today. In that moment, a gentle reminder that Jesus loves me, He sees me, He knows me.
When I feel forgotten, He is the One who remembers His children. When I feel unappreciated, He is the One who whispers His love in a thousand ways. When I feel exhausted at the thought of getting down on my knees to soak up one more spill, He is the One who knelt down to wash the feet of those who would later deny and betray and abandon Him.
Lord, let Your great love never be lost on me. Let it transform me from the inside out, so that I can love freely and fully, even in the smallest acts of service again and again and again.