Last night, my wife and I were praying together in bed. But then my spirit groaned as I heard small, tentative footsteps climb the stairs. Moments later, there was Henry standing in our room, asking if he could sleep with us.
In my head I thought, “Absolutely not.”
Toby, however, told him it was all right. So in a zigzag of lightening, Henry bounded up and bolted toward our bed. Our bed.
Supposedly, there was a caveat. “You need to be quiet, okay?” she said. Right. She’s making a contract with a four year-old — and well past bedtime, mind you. I’m sure that I muttered something under my breath about the certainty that this was not going to work. And given the other certainty that interrupting prayers with muttering generally doesn’t work positive wonders in our prayer time, I felt bitterness quickly encroaching upon my spirit.
(Yes, I know: “Warning.” “Not good.” “Prepare to get your spirit checked.”)
Fortunately, God spoke gently with me.
As my wife and I attempted to return to our moment, I heard Henry’s voice insert his own prayers into mine, dropping words and phrases like colorful berries from a vine growing and abiding in heaven. Then, just as I was “praying” that God would surround my wife with love and peace and melt away her anxieties, Henry crunches his body even closer against hers. “Mommy,” he told her, “when I put my hand on your chest, I am sending God’s love from my body right into yours.”
Yep, those were some powerful berries.
Mother’s Day is tomorrow. I cannot think of a more fitting example which honors my wife as the mother of my children. For four years, she has poured a sacrificial love into the lives of our children. Truly, there is no other way to see the heart of God — because He touches us in sacrifice. And He longs for our lives to be used as instruments in His sacrificial touch.
This experience last night highlights my profound gratitude for the personality and character of my wife — for how she serves as a balance to me as we raise our children. Where I seek to control from the head (i.e., get the kids out of the room so we can do “holy work”), she seeks to move from the heart and create room for the Spirit to move and touch us.
In moments such as these, God amplifies His signal to me. I hear it loud and clear: she is the one that God has sent me to raise His children. She’s beautiful and, truly, what she does is beautiful.
After that prayer ended last night, I remember those tiny footsteps coming up the stairs a little bit differently. Now, they sound more like the feet of some joyous angel who has something so important to proclaim.
Praise God that He doesn’t allow me to grow deaf in my righteous bitterness! He has so much goodness for me to hear, especially in my own home.
Yes, I am thankful, eternally, for how this beautiful mother makes so much room for heaven in our home.