I had coffee late (too late) in the evening and now I'm up and the pup has already taken possession of my side of the bed.
It's a grand early Saturday here.
My sweetheart of a husband took this weary, teary wife on the date of all dates last night.
We got caught in a soaking rain and found ourselves eating our Italian deliciousness under a store awning during a street fair.
We each picked something sweet to share and somehow stumbled into the lone open table at one of our favorite coffee shops just as it began to pour.
And just like most dates our hearts headed to all the little hearts underneath us.
We sipped and shared and I smiled seeing that my husband's "pick" for dessert was just about one of every Italian cookie in the shop.
Some dates call for super sweet emotional reinforcements.
Okay who am I kidding, ALL dates do.
We chatted about nothing, about something and then about everything.
And this wee early morning, it's a mixture of forgotten decaf, not wanting to miss my alarm to give my husband a surprise haircut he so badly needs before he heads to church, a pup up waaaaay too early, one on my mind making a difficult move and even one in the hospital. Both needing my every prayer.
I think about so very much on my heart, on other's hearts and that our conversation last night was all about the heart.
Proverbs 4:23- "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Maybe like me, you remember the slang/jab when someone would say to another, "You have issues!"
Of course we do! We have a giant heart to contend with that all of our "issues" come out of!
And this has been the Summer of heart issues at our place.
Number one daughter stood at my bedside nights ago, sharing that she wanted to pack her last few weeks at home chock-full of "busy" so as not to miss one thing she loved about "home" before heading into a new, scary second year of college.
After sending my oldest off just four days before, along with one to a very difficult week of music camp the same day, the thought alone of another "see ya later," brought instantaneous tears.
I swallowed hard that evening asking my husband if I cried too much. He assured me that I didn't.
I'm wondering now if he just told me that so I wouldn't cry even more....
If the Grinch had a heart two sizes too small, do Mom's have hearts that are big enough to hold all the issues of their lives AND their kids' as well?
Anyway, seeing her stand there, both of us exhausted, brought back such a vivid picture in my mind of my dear sweet Mom in law.
Being the first married into the family I had the privilege of watching her continue to Mother her four other children before they too left home/got married.
I gleaned so much from watching her late at night curl up on the pinkish-maroon couch and listen to the hearts of her older kids.
I'm sure she was exhausted from a day of housework, parenting and ministry but she always had time to talk no matter how late it was.
And if you were on your way home, no matter the hour, she waited up.
She had like Mom FOMO- "Fear of missing our kids getting in late," I guess that would be FOMOLGIL, or something like that.
The light in the Sun room was always on but dimmed and as soon as the back door closed, no matter how quietly, she popped out from the kitchen to hug you.
She'd most likely been rewarming her coffee because she's like that though I still don't understand it in the least. This woman can rewarm coffee and smile like it just came from Dunkin'.
When we moved away, her waiting became one of my absolute favorite things about coming back home.
(I realize about half of you read this sentence in your best Roz voice in your head from Monsters Inc.)
Some nights she was up discussing someone's work issues, sometimes it was challenging class assignments and sometimes financial needs kept her and a certain someone awake.
She always had an ear for them.
An ear for whatever issue was on their heart only to be known after half the city had gone to bed.
I can still see her face. How she wanted to erase every care, fill every need and help them through each challenge, but she couldn't.
And she did what she should have done. She led them straight to the One who could steward their life's "issues."
The other night, seeing my own girl beside my bed, my mind went all the way back to that pinkish couch and how many tears and prayers and words must have fallen upon it.
Last night, talking again about all the issues in these hearts we steward, it occurred to me afresh that I have become that Mom.
Like my sweet Mom in law.
My face doesn't have the certainty or the calmness hers did, and I surely don't have the adorable nightgowns and matching robes she had that I always envied.
I think I have a handle on her potato salad and I've finally figured-out Grandma Royalty's "cheesecake," (Quotes carry such a long hilarious story that will eventually make it to the blog...) but I'm not sure that I have her patience and mercy to cover the years to come.
Those are pretty big slippers to fill.
What I know is that the Lord will meet with me each day as I keep myself in his love. Love that will lead and guide me until I DO become just like my sweet Mom in law. (minus the reheated coffee.)
Jude 21, 22- "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
And of some have compassion, making a difference:"
Morning meetings with the Lord are imperative for the Night Watches.
I can never adequately express what a consistent walk with the Lord does for us Mamas.
Does for THIS Mama.
It's funny how once you're a Mom, nights seem to, by necessity, become your children's.
If you aren't changing a diaper and feeding them, you're up helping them through sickness, through fears and then listening to them figure out just what it is the Lord wants them to do with their one life.
If we could flip all of the weight of these things to mid-day, I'd for SURESIES be the best Mom you've ever seen.
That's me, "Mid-day Mom Wonder."
But that's just not how the Lord designed it.
These night watches come to remind us that it's not about our comfort but someone else's need.
You wouldn't believe how difficult it was for me to "break-up" with myself when my firstborn came along.
I remember being so weary from nursing in the middle of the night that my dear husband would have to give me the "pep talk of all pep talks" just to do so!
In too many areas of parenting to count I feel like God has had to give me HIS heart for my kids. Like mentioned here in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 36:26- "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
Yet another reason why we Moms need our daily walking with the Lord, daily reading and gleaning of His words to carry us through the night watches.
My goal for my children's hearts is that they would know just how much the Lord truly loves them, because if they understand that, THAT love will compel them to know him and please him with their lives.
2 Corinthians 5:14a- "“For the love of Christ constraineth us; "
One has described that constraint like this: "It beareth us on with such a strong, steady, prevailing influence, as winds and tides exert when they waft the vessel to its destined harbour."
So, in a sense, us Moms are like a lighthouse.
With a little light in the Sun room welcoming our kids home to a steady reminder of God's love and care.
I cannot fathom how many ships have found safe harbor because of a little solitary light.
A light reflected on the turbulent waves showing them the way.
Isn't that something?
Lighthouses just reflect a small light magnified by the darkness.
In the night watches.
It may not look like a lot of help in the day, that light, just like getting into God's Word each morning and afternoon, but what a beacon it becomes, Lighting our path when darkness grows.
Psalm 119:105- "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
So I sit awake, awaiting the sunrise with the Lord. Praying, thinking and sending out a little note to you Mamas,
Encouraging you to keep your little, (seemingly insignificant at times) light lit for the night watches.