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She Dances

October 15, 2007

Today was another day of failure as a mom.

I just don’t understand what happens some days. I try to live surrendered to Christ. I wake early and soak in His Word and in His Presence. I pray for my children and my parenting decisions. I even pray over my tone of voice. I am so intentional about how I want to mother my kids – and then they wake up.  And it’s all out the window.

Sometimes my children wake up irritated. Sometimes they come down the stairs unhappy with each other and with me. They don’t want to do their chores, they don’t want waffles, they don’t want to go to preschool. “I can’t believe this,” I think. “I’m already tired of parenting today – and it’s only 7:45 in the morning.” I glance at my scripture for the day as I herd them towards the van, hoping I didn’t forget one of the nine hundred things I need to take with me. His Word refreshes me for a moment, and then reality hits as the kids began yelling about shoes and lunches and toys.

Today we didn’t go anywhere and I was still tired and worn out as a mom. I wasn’t busy today. We didn’t rush at all. But I still had to deal with the attitudes and the sibling conflict that are so deeply discouraging. I am pouring out everything for these kids. Where is the fruit? Where are the tiny sprouts from the seeds of my discipliship? I’ll take any sign at all.

I fed my children an easy dinner and numbly took them through our evening routine. I was by myself tonight, my husband was out – it doesn’t happen often, but the timing tonight was hard.

I sat down in the middle of the living room floor and got out my guitar. Immediately, my children’s faces lit up. “Oh, Mommy! Can we sing….” and they started rattling off their favorite worship songs.

“No. I’m going to choose,” I said. I started playing three chords over and over – a spontaneous song about each of my children and how much they love Jesus… I closed my eyes, and the music washed over me. I’m not a musician, but I feel confident in front of my children. And so I played on.

Then all of a sudden, my four-year-old daughter, Hannajean, stopped singing with me and went to the middle of the room. “Jesus! Jesus!” She started dancing and spinning around the room with her eyes closed. She threw her little arms in the air and kept twirling and twirling. Over and over and over, she kept dancing as we sang. Her own sacrifice of praise, her heart abandoned before God.

I may be struggling in a million ways as a mom. With guilt, with the struggle to find the balance between ministry and rest, with my schedule, with patience. But, somehow, in the middle of the waffles and bad attitudes, I have shown my children how to abandon themselves to Jesus. They have witnessed my desperation for His face; they have grown up seeing me sing and weep and dance before the Lord. And in this, I am the mother I want to be. Because if I can point them to Jesus – even if it’s through my own tiredness and weakness – if my children know that God is real because they have seen how real He is to me, then I am satisfied.

I can let go of all the other expectations that I have for myself – the ways that I feel like I don’t measure up as a mom. I have failed as a mother and I will fail again. But tonight my daughter was dancing in worship before God and singing His name with her arms lifted high. He is real to her. And I have been the one to introduce my daughter to the Jesus I love.

And it’s enough.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. holly permalink
    October 16, 2007 3:57 pm

    It is enough indeed. The purest and most fulfilling joy there is– to see your children completely enthralled in worshiping your God. To know that He has become there God also–it is enough. You are doing it, Jess. God is using you and Hugh to create a heart of worship in your children. What a blessing on this side of heaven– to get a glimpse of the legacy you are creating.

  2. October 16, 2007 11:16 pm

    fantastic testimony…it is amazing seeing the Love of christ in your kids

  3. October 17, 2007 3:00 am

    Ya know what….. As I read that your little one didn’t want to leave your presence I am reminded of God’s presence. When you’re alone with Him, don’t you desire to stay too? There were times when I’d feel way to exhausted to have those moments with my children late at night, but I felt God tugging me in that direction. We get our kids and they get us, after we’ve all had a busy and tiring day. Now I homeschool(Praise God we can) and we are SO much more at rest and peace with one another. Now they LOVE going to Sunday School and kids club. (Not to get away from me mind you) lol but I feel it’s because they’re more secure in our relationship now. Just as when we spend time with God, we feel a bit braver to face each day. ((hugs)) to you!

  4. October 17, 2007 10:04 am

    Hey– I love that image of you singing with your kids… and I love the thoughts you expressed here.
    As for my favorite thing you have ever written?? This is very good indeed. But my heart still belongs to the post you wrote on still feeling like you are living in the projects (can’t remember the name of the place). I will always love that one best I think!! Ü

  5. October 21, 2007 10:22 pm

    My mom use to get her guitar out and sing to us when I was little, it is one of my favorite childhood memories. This was a beautiful post! Your children are blessed to have you as their mother!!!

  6. November 21, 2007 1:32 am

    I’ve just stumbled across this article and was swept away by the depth of what you were describing… Thank you! It’s late, but I will return again to read more…

    God bless you and your willingness to share!

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