The air is still now. Fans hum gently, but the voices and the feet, hands, tears and giggles are stilled. Three small girls rest in three small beds.
And I stand here, wondering at the morning, the words spoken and tears shed and smiles shared and voices raised.
Imperfect is far too gentle a word.
I am at once compelled to confess and desperate that no one find out. How broken I really am.
Little arms raised for a hug, and I obliged, but cringed inside - I've been touched too much today. Where is love?
Tiny voices laughed a sweet, silly song. I did not look up. Where is joy?
Questions were repeated, small hands tugged on my pants, and I was irritated. Where is peace?
Cups were spilled, pants were wet, there were lessons to be learned and hearts to train, and I was inconvenienced. Where is patience?
My voice was sharp, words came fast, anger bubbled quick. Where is kindness?
Sandwiches, grapes, blueberries were handed out willingly but without a smile or a hug. Where is goodness?
I yelled at my little girl today, and the reason doesn't matter. Where is gentleness?
The Spirit spoke words of conviction to me and I ignored them, wondering at myself as I acted against His will... where is faithfulness?
The girls were screaming, fighting for a toy, and I grabbed it away, tossing it aside, scolding them for selfishness and unkindness. WHERE is self-control??
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Against such things there is no law...
So undeserving, so disobedient. I know the Truth. I know what gives life and joy and I know what steals it away. Why is it not easier to find these fruits of the Spirit?
Why is it not easier?
Because I am the unlovable who is loved. Patience is not patience if nothing is testing it and undeserved kindness is what changes hearts.
In the moments when I think I cannot meet another need, cannot wipe another nose or hand, cannot extend any more grace, it strikes me. Whatever I do for the least of His children, I do for Him. How can a call to serve my children exasperate me when I am unworthy to untie His sandals? Jesus deserves better than the likes of me... why is it that I seem to think His daughters do not? Why do I think my life is so small?
His grace washes over me - I have been forgiven. The record is clean. This morning's ugliness is washed, stainless.
I take a deep breath, steady myself. He has deemed me worthy. I am holy, chosen and dearly loved by the God who hung the stars and spoke the mountains into place. I am incapable of undoing His work. He shall reign.
Today, He is asking me to love His children. To bend low, to serve, to set aside myself and discover that true love is found among the crumbs under the table and joy among the toys scattered on the floor. Peace is in the eyes of little girls and patience is finding thankfulness for the moments. Kindness, goodness and gentleness are sprinkled in bowls filled with pretzels and cups of water. Faithfulness is found in the pages of books, pulled off the shelves and read slowly, snuggled deep in couch cushions. And self-control pours itself out with the tears of frustrated children.
The grace, the love. It is everywhere. I simply need to look.