In the receiving…

I rolled over in bed, and tried to pretend I was sleepy.
After all, it was 4:30 AM.
We play tricks on ourselves, we pregnant mommies.
But the clock ticked loudly,
and my toddler sighed heavily in her sleep from her crib in the corner.
My husband slumbered away next to me, and I gently turned onto my other side. The tiny little one inside me tumbled and flailed on,
and my fingertips wished they had eyes to see through the layers of skin and muscle…

Finally I gave up.
Today is a big day, with multiple house projects and long awaited things to do. “Why waste time in bed when I can get a head start on the day?” I whispered to myself. But before I padded downstairs, I sat on the top step and let yesterday replay in my mind.

Seasons change, and we change.
My oldest has been facing a lot of changes lately, and his almost eight year old mind has a lot to grasp right now. He is caught between two worlds, one of carefree childhood, where life is best swaying at the top of the poplar tree or tearing through the yard with his puppy nipping at his heels.
And then there is this tedious, intriguing world of adults, and comprehension of much bigger ideas and realities larger than he ever dreamed of before, of eternity, and the choices he makes today and how they affect everything.

I pray for this child.
I beg for forgiveness in how I have failed him,
failed to understand his heart, and chose frustration in his maturing process. Being a mother has laid my heart bare so many times.

It boils down to the raw ugly truth. I am broken.
1J4P0419I am a needy person, trying to wear big shoes, and trying to do it well.

I saw in my son’s eyes yesterday the tears of disappointment.
They stung my eyes too. Salty.
Painful, this thing of life.

We are called to a high calling, to be holy, to live life here on earth as Jesus did.
I find myself with a foot in two worlds, just like my son.
The seesaw, a pile of dirty dishes contrasting with the warm cuddles of my children and sweetness of God’s word. The wanting to do the best I can.
The slap of failure and enveloping discouragement when I fall.

It can be so tumultuous, this thing called life.
Mountaintops abruptly followed by deep valleys, and labor and childbirth followed hard by the ecstasy of holding a new and breathing life.
How can the human heart take it all in,
and keep breathing?

I long for some brilliant revelation to help me grasp how to better walk today.
How to say the right thing each time.
How to have a heart that genuinely honors God, and those around me.

And the answer comes in meager and small words.

In faithfulness.
In the small things.
In the little moments.


I am amazed that Jesus celebrates the journey, and not just the arrival.
How, oh how I have wished that this journey of life could be traded today for the reality of eternity. I remember standing on the edge of the river that only hours before had taken my brother from me, and heaven felt so close.
So alluring, so real, so near.
It was as if I would only jump in, then I, too, would burst through eternity’s dazzling gates. But I stood landlocked in the blistering sun,
so close, yet so far.

God knows how impatient I am.
I want eternity’s fingerprint all over my heart, now.
I want to be made like Jesus, now.
I want to be the perfect wife, friend, mother, now.

I look in the mirror and study the person looking back at me.
She is on a journey.
A long one.

And today, Jesus doesn’t expect me to sing in heaven’s tongue perfectly.
He looks at where I am today, and smiles.
And he invites me into his presence that changes and purifies me,
as I sort the smelly laundry and listen to childish squabbles.

Here, on the unswept floor of my kitchen, badly needing to be mopped,
it is here, that Jesus invites me into his presence.
Here, in my messes and needs, is the best place for me to be made into his image.

In the little steps today, I will receive from him.

And in the receiving, I will be able to give my children what they need.
Not because I have it all, but because I too am being carried, and taught.
_J4P0160Tears sting my eyes again, but this time tears of gratitude.
When we see we are loved in our need, we see how deep this love really is.

Love that reaches past my failures and loves me anyway – this is what changes me.


10 thoughts on “In the receiving…

  1. I am on the same journey and you have inspired me to keep pressing on, one day at a time… some days, just one moment at a time. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much! This brought tears, ok actually it made me sob, because it so resonated with me! I have been battling discouragement due to feeling like I never “measure up” in this thing called mothering and also in reaching out to people outside of my household. But thank you for the reminder to just be faithful in the small things. And I love the thought that God is smiling on me! Simply because I frown upon myself does not mean that God is doing the same!

      1. Sweet Jolene, I’m glad God touched you today as well… Seems some of my times of deepest frustration and discouragement are often followed by an extra special touch and comfort from Jesus. The way he loves us so deeply, yet in our need, is simply breath taking! May he fill you with joy today, because of who you are in him. You are his delight…

  2. Dear Melissa, This is one of your best. You have a way of capturing difficult times all of us live through and giving us a way to see through to the other side of the difficulties. Love, Ann

  3. This spoke to my heart this morning and tears came to my eyes. Just last night my husband prayed that God would help me as I wade through this mothering thing and not be overwhelmed by the long have to do/want to do list. This was just what I needed…thank you for being used of God to answer our prayer!

  4. “I want to be made like Jesus, now.
    I want to be the perfect wife, friend, mother, now….” That’s so what I feel like when I so often fail…..” But, “here in my messes and needs is the best place to be made in His image.”
    Thank you so much, just what I needed. So well written and inspiring!

  5. Dear Melissa,
    You have so touched my heart as I read your post. What a gift of encouragement you have. My children are grown and I am so thankful for God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness for the times when I’ve failed. I’m so thankful He never gave up on me. Thanks for the reminder of His smiles. Bless you as you mother.

    1. Melissa, this is exactly what I needed to read this morning ad I faced the day wondering what is going on in my ten year old son, and how to better mother him.
      You are simply one of the best writers I have ever read. Please keep on!!

  6. I like this one. We have two kiddos. Our oldest, John Calaway Jolly is now 4 (and a half). He counted down the days to the halfway point. And our baby girl, Julianne Renee is now 16 months old. I love being a good daddy and wonderful husband. But, at times, I also know that I fail and strive to be holy and honor God in all that I do in all the relationships I have at home and at work and all around.

    Thank you for your blog. I sometimes get behind or miss one or two. This one from November, I finally read tonight after a 14 hour work day.

    Thank you again for sharing!

    Brad Jolly (dallas, TX)

    Sent from my mobile


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