It was a discouraging day. I was weary, but the fatigue in my heart far outweighed the fatigue in my bones. And I almost missed out on a moment that I will never forget.
Jackson was in his room, having “rest time” while his younger brother, Tucker, was napping. And all I wanted to do was collapse on the couch and reflect. I had nothing left to give, and yet my shame over feeling that way had my heart anxiously whispering to God.
I’m not giving enough….
I’m not being the kind of mom I should be…
And then my thoughts became a confession of shoulds to God:
I should spend more time with Jackson on educational things…
I should be more creative in coming up with special activities…
I should engage with him better…
And with my son being so wired for time with his mama, a relational little soul, I felt I was failing him. But none of these thoughts compelled me to want to change, and God was silent.
I stared out the window as the flakes of snow fell faster. It was beautiful, and my thoughts began to soften as I sensed the deep love of my Father. And slowly, but undeniably…relief, hope, and acceptance collided.
I thought of Jackson inside me, just five years earlier – placed by the God who knew my capacity for love, struggle and grace. And I asked Him for more…more thoughts of what I do have to offer.
I began to visualize Jackson’s smiling eyes, his unexpected hugs and kisses…all communicating that he knew I loved him. I saw times of baseball-hitting, soccer-ball kicking, and swing-pushing. I thought of interruptions of morning sleep as his little body snuggled in next to mine.
This is the reality of what I have to offer…
Even so, I had to catch up to my next thought - His grace paving the way for me…
I can play in the snow.
I pulled out my snow pants, gathered all of his warm clothes, and got him up from his bed. “Let’s go play outside.”
He couldn’t put his snow gear on fast enough, yelling, “C’mon, Mama!” as he ran to the back door.
When we made it outside, the snow was falling even faster, and it was at least a foot deep. But I didn’t just stand and watch him play. We rolled in it, ran in it, and slid down the slide in it.
There was no sense of drudgery…only my genuine desire to be with him.
My husband arrived home and came outside, asking us to pose for a picture. So we hugged for the picture you can see above. And my eyes started to moisten when I saw the expression on Jackson’s face.
Yes, he needed me, but I realized I needed him more.
I almost didn’t have that moment, that connection with him. And it was only possible because of God’s gentle interruption of my broken thoughts. I was not motivated to move toward my son by shame, performance, or thoughts about the kind of mom I should be. No, only God’s love could compel me to move.
I know there are times when I need to rest and take time alone to be restored. And I do take that time.
But I’ve also learned that sometimes what I need the most is to go play in the snow.