At 7:34pm last night the kids came bursting into the living room with a wave of energy that I felt like might push me right over the edge after having finished with dinner clean-up, and suddenly there were five heads in the open doorway with 654 comments and questions for me about who-knows-what. I sat on my bedroom floor under a more-organized-than-it-looks pile of legal documents, folders, reports and photocopies fanning out all around me under the thin light of the headlamp strapped to my head as I stapled, stamped, signed, and organized.
I looked up suddenly at the eager faces before me, unintentionally blaring them in the eyes with the light from my headlamp. The lights had been out all evening, and we had all been squinting in the darkness and shuffling around carefully, sharing the few flashlights we have.
Darwin soon appeared as well, and I reluctantly put aside my half-finished job, carefully pushing the precarious pile out of the way at the foot of our double-sized bed so that we could all meet around the wooden table in our living room and hold the family meeting that Darwin and I had planned with the kids.
With a single red candle placed on the table, mostly spent with drippy wet wax pooling around its base, all seven of us sat/stood around the table to try to figure a lot of things out. Together.
I stood in the same clothes I had put on that morning at 5:00am, talking more than I should, the light of my headlamp helping the little red candle light our corner of the living room. Jason had forgotten to feed the dogs that day. Little Josue had gotten ahold of the jewelry-making supplies and scattered all the beads, twine, etc all about after someone else had carelessly left it out on the living room couch. I had lost my patience with Josue during the bedtime routine when he dumped the entire bucket of Legos on the floor for the second day in a row. Gleny, Jason and Jackeline had staged an apocalyptic nightmare for me as I parked the car in our yard after having been gone for a few hours, greeting me with a barrage of highly exaggerated comments and problems that I had to fix immediately. Our car had logged several miles that day and another tank of gas after chauffeurring Gleny and Jason to and from their new school and Diana to and from her new art school. I had forgotton to buy more Pampers for Josue. Diana felt fed up with having two little sisters who want to copy everything she does.
What started with frustrations and complaints ended with asking forgiveness and granting it. Then we all stood, joining our hands to form one body, and we gave thanks to God. We reminded ourselves that God’s Word says that we must place all of our worries, our stress, in God’s hands because He cares for us. And it is our task to believe Him and do so. At the close of the prayer, I wearily — and without any real expectation — asked the children to pray for me in their free time if they feel led to do so. My insomnia has been creeping back, and for the past four or five weeks I’ve only been able to sleep about three to four hours per night. Darwin and I then took each child individually into our embrace and reminded them how much we love them.
This morning at 6:23am, teeth brushed, uniforms in place and ready for a new day, Gleny asked from the backseat of our cab-and-a-half truck while we drove down the highway, “Mom, how did you sleep last night?” I smiled at her very thoughtful question, and answered sincerely, “Actually, last night I slept the entire night for the first time in a long time. I think I got almost seven hours of sleep!” As I continued driving, peering through the heavy rain beating down on the windowsheild, she answered from directly behind me, “All three of us girls prayed for you last night,” and I felt my heart sink into my chest, heavy with joy. Then Diana, her elder sister by blood, chimed in, “Yeah. In our room we have a new system with Jackeline of taking turns each night to pray for you so that you are able to sleep.”
And with that the Lord granted me a deeper sense of rest than anything a good night’s sleep can provide. He is knitting us, as different as we are and as uncomfortable and demanding as the process can be, into one body. His body.