It was one of those days. One of those busy barren days of motherhood. Busy with four small children. Barren because of my attitude.
While standing at the kitchen sink, hurrying and huffing through a pile of dirty dishes, Tyler, three-years-old, pulls at my pant leg. I sigh and look down on his curly brown head. Cornflower blue eyes look back in what can only be described as cherubic joy.
“Say, la, ‘Ummy,” he pulls my pants again, like a bell pull, calling a servant, “‘Ummy, say, la.”
“La.” A smile forms as I repeat the seemingly insignificant word. “Now go find sissy,” I grab the next bunch of dishes, “Mommy has work to do.”
As he toddles off I swallow, releasing tension in my jaw.
I’m wiping the last counter clean, when Sherry, my eldest, walks in carrying her usual burden, Tyler. She’s mirroring the exasperation I’ve come to embrace as normal. A sting of guilt shoots through my heart.
“Mom,” she sighs heavily placing Tyler on the floor, “he keeps bugging me to say ‘la’. Her dark brown eyes are dull with the weight of responsibility “I’m trying to do my school work.”
Homeschooling this year was proving difficult. Sherry’s work has become more complex, demanding actual effort.
“I’m sorry honey,” I kneel down and pull Tyler to me. “Go. Do your school work.”
“Erry! Erry!” Tyler squirms out of my arms, chasing his sister down the hall. “Say, la! Say, la!”
Sherry turns, clenched fists at her side, “LA!”
Tyler claps his chubby hands as Sherry storms to her room.
Danny and Faye, seven and five respectively, emerge from the family room.
“Mommy, can we do science now?” Danny’s eyes flash with excitement, “You promised we could make a volcano today!”
“Please, Mommy,” Faye adds.
I glance back at the clean kitchen. Sighing, yet again, I close my eyes. I’m trying to conjure up a suitable alternative. When I open my eyes the neon stove clock catches my attention. Ten fifty-eight. We’re supposed to have Bible Time at ten thirty.
“Right after Bible, Time.”
As I steer the children to the family room, I knock at Sherry’s door on the way by. She reluctantly joins us.
Danny grabs the bible first, causing a fight.
“Mom!” Sherry yells, “it’s my turn!”
“No,” Danny is sitting on the big book, protecting it, “It’s my turn!”
They both look to me. I’ve just jumped from housemaid to judge in less than twenty minutes. Where’s the wisdom of Solomon when I need it?
Another sigh escapes my lips. I take the bible from under Danny.
“Faye and I will read today. Danny, you can read tomorrow.”
Faye crawls on my lap. Tyler is playing with Duplo on the floor. Danny and Sherry sit with arms crossed, pouting on the couch. After I check the reading plan we’re fitfully following, I open to Psalm sixty-eight and point to verse nineteen. Faye begins to sound out the words.
“Bless...ed be the...Lord...who...da...da...dally,” she looks up at me for help.
Judge hat off, teacher cap on. “Daily.” I smile to encourage her.
Faye returns to the letters on the page, “Daily bears...our...bur...bur...den.”
Tyler is now at my side studying Faye as she reads.
“Bears live in a den,” he announces.
I tousle his hair, “That’s right, Ty.”
Who knows where he gets all the facts tucked in his little head?
“Carry on, Faye.”
“The God who is our...sal...va...tion.”
Stopping, she asks, “What’s the funny word here on the side?”
Looking down I see Selah.
“Selah. It’s the Hebrew word for a rest in the music. David wants everyone to hear what’s just been said. So he’s instructing the musicians to stop, or to rest, from the music. Selah.”
I look around the room taking the time to really see. To really hear.
God’s promised to daily bear my burden, to never give me more than I can handle, and that if I ask for wisdom He’ll give it to me.
I smile at each child individually, connecting eye to eye and heart to heart. When I turn to Tyler he squeals, “Say, la, ev-a-buddy!”
‘La’s’ break out as we tumble to the ground in a tickling, laughing, dog pile.
Psalm 68:19, NASB, “Blessed be Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah.”
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