“I see myself in your eyes,” he says to me.
Is he really almost 4 years old?
No longer the needy baby who fully relied on me, but an independent, curious, always seeking, always learning, young boy.
The three of us sit around the dining room table. The sky is a rich navy blue. It’s Friday night but my husband is working late. The boys and I have made ourselves pizza for supper. Mine with the goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, theirs with the mozzarella and olives. One glass of wine has been poured. They are making silly faces up at me from their seats, mouths stained red with tomato sauce, blue eyes sparkling with endless little boy energy.
The light fixture above the table, the one my husband built with his two hands and creative mind, is dimmed. 10 hanging bulbs glowing, always fascinating the toddler. He points and inhales an excited gasp at its’ beauty.
I’ve just told the older one, as I gaze across the table at him, that I can see a lightbulb in his eyes. He looks into the green of mine and smiles. He sees the tiny orange spot being mirrored in the centre of my pupil. And he sees himself, too.
I am a vessel created for reflection.
What else do I reflect?
You are the light of the world…Let your light shine in front of others. (Matthew 5:14-16)
“Do you know that’s where you used to live?” I whisper to the almost four-year-old. He giggles and tickles my belly button.
For I created your inmost being. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
The three of us are huddled inside the small beach tent we’ve set up in the living room. Snow is piled up to the windowsill outside. Their restless bodies crawling over my exhausted one.
“But that’s not my home!” A silly grin erupts across his face. Their curious fingers poke at the flesh that still wears the faint purple lines, like faded painter’s strokes across the canvas of my stomach. The flesh that still sags from the stretching of their tiny bodies which once grew inside of mine.
They have spent more time growing outside of me now, than inside. But Home still resides within. A whisper, trying desperately to break free, that holds secrets of where we began, and where we belong. A still small voice, always calling, always beckoning.
Surely my goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
Mother: One in whom God dwells. The carrier of Home. Reflector of Him.
If you love one another, God lives in you and his love is made complete in you. (1 John 4:12)
Mother: One who tires. Carrier of a weary heart. Bearer of her offspring’s noise, and needs, and mess.
Mother: One who is often drained. Always demanded of. Always taken from.
I wipe the table, the chairs, the floors. Rinse the food-stained clothes in the bathtub. Hold the naked little one wriggling in my arms, longing to break free from my grasp, to find where his brother has settled.
And I am longing to break free, too. In search of quiet, in search of rest. Yet the dishes need to be washed, the food put away, and the children to bed.
Am I really called to be a reflection of Him?
This stretched, cracked, patched-together body. The one that grows restless and impatient, prone to worry. Selfish at heart. A clay pot; delicate, and easily broken.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple? God’s spirit lives in you…God’s temple is holy. And you, remember, are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
These two little ones always running circles around my feet. These feet that always crave to do more, be more, have more. But are always slowed down, bound and rooted by the children who depend on me. Always finding me. Like magnetic poles, we attract – I am the North, they the South. Constantly being pulled to one another.
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
Mother: One swarmed by little hands, little feet. Daily witness to pure, innocent wonder.
What, dear one, are you teaching me about our Creator?
Child: One who depends on mother for safety.
The Lord is the stronghold of your life – of whom shall you be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
I need to believe.
Child: One who looks to mother for provision.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Help me believe.
Child: One from whom laughter and wonder overflow.
I will satisfy you each morning with my unfailing love, so you may sing for joy to the end of your lives. (Psalm 90:14)
I want to believe.
Child: One whose first taste of love comes from mother. He does not doubt its’ steadfastness. Even in its’ imperfection, he leans on her love. Receiving from it strength, courage, and power.
Is this Your plan for me, your child? If only I would become humble like one.
Then I will make my home in your heart as you trust in me. (Ephesians 3:17)
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (Ephesians 3:17)
Mother: Birthplace of the Son. Reflector of Him. Shown the way of Life through her offspring.
Mother: One in whom God lives, works, and breathes. Watched over always. One whom God blesses with rest, strength, and power.
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. (John 15:5)