The older the children get, the longer stretches of nice, relatively quiet play we get. It’s glorious. I don’t panic every time they are playing quietly together in the other room. Most of the time they are sucked into their pretend world. Cooking and fighting dinosaurs and playing therapy and doing gymnastics.
Just a few days ago the younger two were playing so nicely in the sensory room together while I made lunch. When, for seemingly no reason, I heard her tell her brother, “I don’t love you anymore”.
My ears perked up and I quietly eased dropped on their conversation. There was not any anger behind the words, and there was not any fight or disappointment from her brother. When they had moved on I sat next to her and asked her what caused her to not love her brother anymore. She said “because I’m just tired” and I said “even when we are tired we still have to love our people”.
As the words came out of my mouth I could feel the wind leave my lungs. The Lord had just spoken through me, to me.
I honestly could not breathe. The weariness of this season has made me so intensely tired. The last two months have been overwhelming and hard for me to love even those closest to me. As we sat side by side on her balance beam, she looked at me expectantly and I looked back at her with a new and deep compassion.
“Sometimes mommy gets tired too, and it’s hard to love. You know, how sometimes, when mommy is cooking dinner and she just wants everyone to be a little bit more quiet? That makes me tired and makes it hard to love. Sometimes, when you have scary dreams and need mommy to rock you in the nighttime. That makes me tired and makes it hard to love, sometimes. So I get it. But, Jesus wants us to love even when we are tired. Because Jesus loves us, even when we are tired, and cranky, and rude, and need a break.”
She looked at me with real tears flowing down her cheeks (because, hello, this girl is a precious and sensitive angel) and told me that she was going to love me even when she was tired and even when I was tired. She went to her brother and told him she was going to love him even when he was a booger to her and hides her Elsa shoes.
Now it’s my turn to cry. Because I so deeply love my people. But I am tired. And I don’t always get it perfect. So on this particular day, Jesus showed me grace through my angel girl. Reminding me that we all get tired. Goodness gracious, Jesus himself went into gardens or to the other side of seas all the time to rest. It’s okay to feel tired. When we are tired, is when He shows up to give us every ounce of energy and love we need to love our people well.
This year is the anti-self-love year for me. Because it is so insanely easy for me to make it about…me. So I’m switching gears. This is the year where I learn how to be patient and kind, how to not boast and not be rude, how to be selfless, how to rejoice with others, how to always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere. I’m going to love the snot out of my people. Because it is not about me. Or how tired I am. Or how overwhelmed/empty/burnt out I become. It’s about this magnificent calling to love others, always.