I stumble down the stairs bleary eyed and hope that someday, our many house-wanderings will land us in a sprawling ranch. I am so unbelievably tired. I am not sleeping so well these days. My dreams are eerily vivid and alarming. I wake multiple times to feed and soothe the baby born into this world. These days. I waver between feeling my heart rend open and spending my energy advocating or at least trying to think of ways to advocate and changing dirty diapers and scrubbing ketchup stains out of fuzzy sweatshirts and cleaning up science experiments turned water fights. I feel weary and hopeless. I collapse onto the couch, mind numb from the day at 8pm every night, with little energy for anything beyond a trip to Pawnee, Indiana and whatever vegan baked good I have attempted that week. It is only 7am, and I already know I will have the same 5 conversations endlessly throughout the day.
I pause on the stair and watch that two-year-old toddle around the downstairs in pajamaed feet. She is singing.
Who, who, who is the Redeemer? Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
My tiny sweet pre-pre-schooler, who has no idea what Redeemer or elect means. She is on her way to Bible literacy.
I find my way into the kitchen, still aching, still exhausted, still soul-weary. I stand at the counter and look out the window, watch the sun glint off the places where snow remains.
This work matters. I whisper.
I have wept and prayed and made sarcastic remarks about the fact that the church of Jesus doesn’t look very much like Jesus. That there are just so many of us running around who don’t know how to read the Bible. Who don’t understand the basic story of scripture. “THIS IS OUR PROBLEM. WE DON’T TEACH CHILDREN THE STORY OF THE BIBLE. WE DON’T HELP THEM KNOW HOW IT HAS CHANGED THEIR LIVES.” I will huff, and my husband will grin and nod.
And I look at my pajama-clad two year old, and I see potential. I see a tiny way to protest all the unkindness and the inaction and the ignorance in the name of Jesus. I see a tiny disciple, following me as I follow Christ. I sigh. It is not something big or important-sounding. It is likely something no one will ever know about, no award will ever be handed out for, and no one will ever write a book about. It is the 5 conversations I will have over and over today. It is the Catechism CD’s on repeat in my van. It is the prayers we will pray at bedtime, it is the song we will sing at dinner. It is the scripture reading they will hear while they much cereal and the Bibles they will find and tote all over our home. It is the apologies I will make for all the ways my sin hurts them.
What is the work the Lord has given you? I will kneel and ask, taking in those round blue eyes, that post-nap bedhead, the still-round baby cheeks.
Your sister is your best friend. I will say, shout, snarl through my teeth in response to the inevitable fight over the cereal bowl, the doll stroller, the poopy-diaper-disposing volunteer. (Thanks, Jen Wilkin.)
What do we use our words for? I will ask, a sliver of conviction piercing my heart as that tiny voice whispers “kindness.”
Who are you letting be king over you right now? I will ask, and I will whisper the same words to my own heart, as I implore and encourage my daughter not to live as a slave to anything less than the King of the universe.
What do we hate? I will ask at the dinner table.
And I will laugh, a holy and joyful laugh, with gratitude for the privilege of doing this quiet and sacred work of disciple-making when a sincere face upturns and curly ringlets bounce as she says “Sin. And bugs.”