This is our routine. I lay down with one of them, and then my hand dangles down to the trundle or up beside the spindles on their twin bed.
I don’t always lay down with them. But I do a lot. Not every night, but more than every other.
I’ve read this could mess them up. Just like a bunch of other things I might be doing could mess them up. But here I am, laying here, as the soft glow of lamplight from the living room cascades across my girls’ faces as they drift to sleep.
I know exactly what Grant is doing in the other room. He’s either reading his Bible or deep in a theology book from one of his never-ending stacks all over the house. One day we will buy real bookshelves. Until then, I keep sending boxes to his office and yet the books keep creeping back in bags and stacks and satchels.
And that’s how we’ve agreed to make it work. For three years living in 900 square feet with two children, and now in 1275 square feet with three. The great book exchange.
“You can lay down with them,” he always tells me (and some nights he does too). “I’ll read and then we can talk when you’re done.” And that’s what we do. Sometimes his music from the other room causes even me to doze off for a few minutes.
I used to think I was doing the laying down part for them. That is still my genuine intention.
They long for connection with me. They need connection with me. They will remember this.
The stories. The songs. The hugs. I know it will shape them just as it did when my mom did it with me and Grant’s mom with him.
So I manage to find a place around the two Madeline dolls, the six bunnies, and the blankies, and I am finally still after a typical full day.
I’m doing it for them. But just in the past few months, I’ve realized how much it is for me too.
I can’t explain it really, but there, nestled in the quiet, I can think.
Scripture comes to my mind. Prayer. I think about the day and all the moments. I remember where I’ve been and how God keeps showing Himself to be faithful.
I think about the missionary story we read this morning about Helen Roseveare and the verse God used to stir my heart:
Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24
He answers before we even pray. That’s what kind of God He is.
I think of how it sometimes seems preposterous to me to claim a Psalm. How could I believe that God would walk with me just as He did David? Or Jesus for that matter?
And then I remember I am now in union with Christ. He has given me every spiritual blessing and because He became poor, I am rich. That changes everything.
My girls are asleep now and they’ve been so for longer than I realize. I get up to go spend some time with Grant, hear his thoughts on whatever passage of Scripture he’s studying or listen to one of his funny stories. That’s one of my favorite parts of the day, when he makes me laugh. It will be quiet now. Just us.
I pause, glancing back at my girls’arms and legs sprawled across the blankets, sleeping free as only little children do.
This was for them. It really was. Just like it was last night and several night before that.
But as I keep on learning in this journey of motherhood, when I’m confident it is just for them, I discover it is also for me.