All is quiet right now. Lily is next door with her grandparents, making a train out of cushions in the sunshine. And the newest one, this tiny porcelain beauty, is asleep next to me. Willow is seven weeks old today and she is perfect. Her eyelids are shut, her little hand is slightly raised in the air, her chest is rising and falling, her tiny legs are stretched out. She sleeps day and night, for hours and hours. Perhaps she is tired from the birth and she is tired from the noisy bustle and bright lights of a busy world. And it suddenly comes to me, God you put her there, sleeping next to me, so I might learn I too am tired. I am tired from the birth and from the noisy bustle and bright lights of a busy world. I too need to sleep.
Little munchkin. Teaching me already.
But it’s hard to stop when you think you’re the source of everything. I can see myself as the source of everything in my house. The source of my toddler’s fun, self-esteem, education and love tank. Wow, that is a tiring list. Especially when that toddler has not yet learned the art of ‘playing alone’. Or anything alone. The source of my newborn’s inner safety, love, emotional well-being and sense of the-world-is-a-good-place-to-be. That is also a tiring list. The source of my husband’s strength, encouragement and challenge. Pretty tiring. Add to that list this crazy – and it is crazy – idea that I should ideally not wear sweats all day, and my hair should be out of that permanent messy bun by week 7, and really, I should at least be able to manage some mascara. Add to that list the even stupider notion that I should be cooking wildly imaginative meals and not need help to clean my house. And then I should definitely be able to get out of bed to pray for an hour before all this busy work begins, I mean isn’t God be my first priority? I can believe I am the source of everything, I tell you. Even the source of God’s own happiness.
Willow just moved next to me, as I write. With a squeak and a stretch, into a more comfortable position to sleep. Nice work little girl.
And God says, softly but with enough strength to humble my busy heart:
You are not the source of this house.
It sounds kind of obvious when He says it.
So I am going to learn to rest like Willow. This doesn’t mean I not busy. I have never worked harder in my life than in this season. And it’s all about to get a lot harder in a couple of weeks, when the grandparents – resident chefs and babysitters – get on their plane, and we go back to our little, very precious Mozambican home. To no running water and electricity cut-outs and heat and no dishwasher and not much to entertain my littles except dirt and children (I know, I know, maybe that’s all they need). I will be working hard, that’s for certain. But I’m going to learn to rest inside. It’s time to let go of that incessant voice that says you are not enough unless you’re reading to your toddler while breastfeeding your infant whilst cooking beef stew wearing a pretty dress whilst having a crazily intimate hour-long prayer session. I just don’t have the brain space for that. Or the arms. I am tired. So it will probably be tuna pasta (again). With my toddler watching Charlie & Lola. And the messy bun / sweats combo. And I will whisper tiny prayers to God in the middle of it all, asking for help.
And He will say, well done my beautiful daughter. You are doing an incredible job.