It was all I could do to drive home after a brutal day where anything that could go wrong, actually did. I work in the nonprofit, faith -based world… so you know, a Tuesday.
My husband wouldn’t be home until late from work and so I called my teenager and asked her to get a jumpstart on dinner since I was going to be getting home close to 7 PM.
She was less than thrilled with my request and I didn’t have the energy to argue.
I walked through the door — after locating and turning off the horrendous alarm from the septic tank on our property-indicating a broken pump.
Yes, it really was a *crappy* day.
She was standing in the kitchen, heating up tortillas -begrudgingly-but still a win in my book.We sat down to eat shredded pork tacos, the kind you microwave warm that some genius mom invented (obviously).My daughter chattered about the plot of her latest book.
When I didn’t say much, she stopped and looked at me— really looked. “Mom, how was your day? You look tired.”
I told her it was a long, hard day and I didn’t—couldn’t say more.
“Why?” She asked and waited.
I paused, tempted to gloss it over. I chose the alternative— because some days our kids need to see us as we are.
”Let’s say our family decided to spend all our time and resources to open an ice cream shop. We invest everything and open our doors,” I supposed.
I really had her attention.
“But it turns out some days, we just don’t know how to make ice cream,” I said. “That’s what it’s like empowering vulnerable families. It’s really hard.” I didn’t say more as a single tear rolled down my cheek.
”That’s why you called and asked me to make dinner,” she said tenderly, a light bulb moment. I attempted a smile, swiped at the tears that embarrassed me and took a bite.
But it’s what happened next — a first—that blessed my soul:
”Mom?” it was the way she said it that made me look up. The one word was full of compassion and love.
”Can I tell you what my friends and I talked about in our Bible study this week? She went on to say things like, ‘God has a good plan for you and you can’t stop helping people; it’s worth it…’ and then she continued to encourage my soul with the truth of the Gospel.
I lost it. I literally couldn’t contain the tears.
I pulled her close and hugged her tight and thickly whispered thank you.
I cleaned up the dishes and I learned later that she snuck a call to her dad and asked him to bring home flowers for me that she would pay him back for…
I hung the dish towel to dry and she said, “Mom, I ran you a hot bath.” Then she disappeared into her room.
I walked into my bathroom and saw this note, and one of her coveted chocolate bars:
I felt so seen and encouraged by my child. I think my 16-year-old daughter saw me as a woman and not just her mother maybe for the first time. It was precious and significant for both of us.
I will never forget how my bad day became an opportunity for my daughter and I to see each other in a new way. Isn’t this the kind of gift God gives us to unwrap?
Recently, I heard a sermon based in the Psalms that talked about encouraging our souls when we are downcast by repeating the gospel and what we know is true back to our souls.
This is what my daughter did for me and now I want to do it for you.
I won’t remember the bad day or what caused it, but I will never forget how God used my kid to turn my day around and bless my (parenting) soul.
A (Parenting) Blessing
God, we bless this day and those we live with under this roof.
We bless our hard days, when we are stretched too thin with the burdens of this world.
We bless the broken things that sound an alarm and demand our attention.
We bless the microwave meals and the gourmet ones.
We bless our efforts as mothers when all we give just isn’t enough.
We bless our humanity, our honesty and vulnerability.
We bless our children when they see us as humans and especially when they don’t.
We bless our kids to be encouraged and to be encouragers… to learn to look past themselves and see others.
We bless our children to know the gospel and remind themselves and others of its powerful truth.
We bless their hands to serve the discouraged, to run hot baths and share prized chocolate for Your Names’ sake.
We bless our days that are crappy and trust you will help us to see the good in them.
We bless our (parenting) souls.