We have a little friend here this week and she is precious, it is a house full of girls and sweetness and tiny things. Add a fourth little girl to the mix and things just become sunnier and quieter and noisier and more alive. Her parents are at a youth camp, serving other people's kids, and I am glad they trust me with theirs.
On Sunday we left Cak-Cak at church. It is Annie's constant companion, and when I called our pastors to check on the fate of Cak-Cak my pastor-friend Nan offered to go hunt for him . .. and only a true friend or a really great mother would offer to go search for your daughter's ratty, terrible-looking beloved creature, understanding, and Nan is both. And when we swung by her house yesterday there was Cak-Cak, and then she offered to watch my kids so I could get groceries and she saved me twice yesterday.
And this is the beauty of moms, we need each other. People always need people, everyone does, but children make us know it and admit it.
I love that our kids are growing up in a warm community of other moms who love them, who know their quirks and obsessions just as they know their own kids', and will nurture and protect and be gentle with my kids just as they are gentle with their own.
There was a morning at church once, we had been attending only a short time, and Jim was working and something was happening- I don't remember- but one or more of my kids was being especially terrible and finally I gave up, in the middle of the service, packed them up and we left, four of us trying and failing to slip discreetly out the back. And at the door was my friend Cara smiling and nodding and and saying We-have-all-been-there . .. no judgment, no narrow eyes, only kindness, only motherly support and grace and I pulled out of the parking lot thinking this is my church. We are safe here.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. and there is no greater test of gentleness than children and I know now, deeply, where there is gentleness the Lord is near. The most gentle people I know, I see God; places and environments and communities strong enough to be gentle- the Lord is near.
It is such small work, being a mother, but the Lord is near.
Mothers who are gentle with their children, and mothers gentle with other mothers. In my own calling to daily, impossible gentleness I find the Lord. I am so imperfect and sometimes I think I don't know what I am doing but I keep trying, and I am learning to be gentle with myself too.
I keep learning that when I want to snap but I drop to my knees instead to whisper I find the strength of the Lord, and when I lean in, when I draw closer and smaller, quieter, I find the joy of the Lord.
Because learning to be gentle with my children I am learning how to be gentle with others. I learn that we are all a bit tattered, all falling apart somewhere, all painfully vulnerable, all deeply beloved.
My kids have taught me this, gentleness, and when I am gentle I find I am at the Lord's feet.