The girls are playing wild this day. Wild and free and creating and imagining while I am busy dstracted, trying to organize paperwork, trying to wash the dishes, trying to keep it together and stay steady as their noises bounce from room to room.
I hear a peculiar sound so I look up and she’s tearing apart a treasured possession. It’s a flower that an artist in Savannah made for only me one day and she is tearing it apart, piece by piece. In my gut, I know that it’s part of her game. I know she didn’t mean to, she was Belle- the flower dropping petals as time ticked down for the spell on Beast.
I see the flower that we’ve had for nine years, from a season so raw in our marriage and this flower represented it all, now broken in her hands and tears spring to my eyes and I yell “NO!”
Her shoulders immediately sink, internalizing the disappointment in Mommy’s reaction.
I walk out to the porch, not wanting to say anything or do anything that might crush her even more than I already have, not sure why I had such a visceral reaction to such a worthless, priceless possession. After a few minutes, her Daddy sends her outside to say sorry. I’m better now, so I gather her up in my arms and make her look into my eyes.
“Baby girl, I need you to know I love you more than that flower.”
She breathes in deep: “You DO?”
“Baby, you are my most precious thing.”
And then both of her hands cup my chin and she looks me in the face and whispers “Say it again. Whisper it in my ear.”
“Baby, you are my most precious thing.”
“Again, mama,” she says, looking intently into my eyes.
And I say it again and her body melts into mine.
The thing is, I know exactly how she feels. One minute I’m wild and free and the next minute something shifts and I feel like I’m getting it all wrong. I feel myself getting drawn into the way of the world and the messages my soul receives is to keep up and try harder, stay strong, do it all. I careen from moment to moment, overwhelmed by laundry, by meals, by meetings and pick-ups and questions if I’m doing any of it right.
We feel the comparison, the desire to be more like her, the jealousy and fatigue. We wish we didn’t say that one thing or we wish we spoke up when we had the chance. We’re trying to balance seemingly impossible standards and constant demands with raising up little hearts to be loved and strong. So easily, we feel like we’re failing.
It’s not supposed to be this way, right? So difficult, so exhausting.
There has got to be a better way.
So I think of Jesus.
He reminds us of his way; the better way. He tells us to rest in his rhythm of grace where he offers us the light and easy yoke. He tells us to abide in him and to stay in this moment as he gives us grace for this moment, manna for this day, freedom from worry.
Every single day we have the opportunity to do work that matters as we build a family, build a life, build up little hearts to know love. Every single day, as we turn our hearts to the One who offers strength to cover it all, we can.
So lets run the race marked out for us. Let’s be wholly loving and wholly ourselves and pour out love onto these darling babies of ours as we all learn to live in the rhythm of grace. Lets live wild and free as we let go of the exhaustion and not-good-enoughs and instead be right here, right now, fighting for grace and letting ourselves see his presence with us in each of these moments.
And he doesn’t see the ways we miss the mark, feel less-than, doubt ourselves.
Instead, he gazes upon us, cups our chin in his hands and says “You, my darling, you are my most precious thing.”
Sarah Sandifer is a mama to three darling and rambunctious little girls. She is married to her college sweetheart who now serves as an Army Chaplain and is taking them on quite the grand adventure. Sarah’s great loves are the Colorado mountains, dark chocolate and coffee, though she would be a total mess without the grace of Jesus. You can find her thoughts on life, motherhood, and marriage at SarahSandifer.com and she’s also on Instagram @SarahSandifer.