Two Places At Once


Father, I feel my heart yearning to be with you.  I…

“Mommy, I want some juice.”

“We can have juice at lunch time.  Go play.”

I feel my heart yearning to be with you.  How I adore you!  Can you teach me…

“Can I have some milk?”

“We will get a drink at lunchtime. When you ask, you will say please…”

…I adore you.  I want to be still and meditate on You. Teach me about You?  Talk to me.  I want to learn a new secre…

“I want to color.”

The messy toys are kept out of reach, so I go get them.  The little one wants an activity too, so I find a simple one for him,  listening and answering to three more unrelated questions from the big one.  Finally, they settle.

I turn my heart again and try to remember what I was saying.  But like some sort of dysfunctional robot my memory is gone and I start over, as though I lost the round at a carnival game and have to pay more tokens to try again.

Father, I don’t want to go through this day on auto, without Your Spirit so heavy on me.  I need You to be loud in me, so I can hear you through…

The kids start playing and the little one bangs his head.  He sobs loudly and comes to me for a little rub and some comforting words.  The big one is dancing, so I send her to pee.

She doesn’t want to pee.

I make her go anyway.  Just as I am able to re-harness my thoughts, she calls from the toilet, needing wiped.  I gamble:  I could stay here in my thoughts and tell her to wipe herself.  But the last time I did that, she left a mess in her pants that required a complete change.

I hear my heart cry out, distressed:  Jesus!  How am I supposed to be with you?!

I feel sadness and hopelessness drift into my heart as I go to wipe her.  It’s lunchtime.  There will be no peace in our house until the bellies are fed and the big one finally gets her juice.

From the kitchen counter, I try again.  Lord, fill me with your nature, your character.  Show me how you love, how you thi…

“I watch?  I watch!  I watch!” comes from the little one, as he shoves a stool to the counter to watch me prepare their food.  I look at his little head, his curiosity and interest charming me into a little chat with him.  The big one comes too and they alternate between squabbles and giggles.  Feeling the doom of breakdown, I hustle to get their lunches into them.

Naptime soon comes, and with that, quiet.  On paper, it looks like an open window to my Jesus.  But my spirit, unable to mend itself in Him during the day, is shredded and sleepy.  I often sit down to write, but my thoughts are cluttered and veiled, waiting for Him to be make them clear.  Nothing comes from me but the final sputters from an empty tank.

I turn to tasks I can manage without emotional investment, hoping the quiet will soothe me.  Just as I am coming back into myself, just as I get my thoughts sorted enough that I feel renewed and clear-minded, I hear thumps from their bedrooms and check the clock:  naptime is over.

The only thing I wanted from this day I have yet to obtain: Him.  He was the treasure I longed for.

Throughout the day, I make connections with people whom I know were sent for the Jesus in me—but I have nothing to offer them.  I want to scream into the atmosphere: Stop!  I haven’t gotten a chance to to rest in Him yet!  I don’t know what He’s saying because MY CHILDREN KEEP INTERRUPTING ME!

In my deferred hope, my heart is sick.  I question my parenting, that my children would be a barrier.  But they are young, so young—it seems unfair to blame them for yielding to childishness (and let’s face it—the call of my heart is more of them, so clearly I’m going to have to learn to be in two places at once.)

My children are my magnum opus.  They are a worthy work, as are the other areas in which I invest my time, my heart, my life.  But they will only be shadows of their potential unless I am fueled, founded, breathed by the Spirit of the Lord.  My connection—my vital presence—in Him—is critical.  I feel so deficient, so often, that it is remarkable that anything I do succeeds.

Jesus!  My heart is sick in its hunger for you.  Being a mother is a privilege—and I don’t want to resent my children.  But I need you to teach me how to do this—how to be with You and with them.  How to hear You and hear them.  I am crying in desperation, to be a son and a mother with the same life.

I seek you jealously, for my own treasure.  Please don’t ask me to mother, to serve—to even live—without teaching me to be present with You, in You, continually.  Shout at me if you have to—but don’t leave me to do this alone!

And with that, it is time to go raise my children from their naps.


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