Sometimes I like to picture God’s love as rain falling on me.
My day started sunny. Despite a long, wakeful night with a fussy baby, I woke up this morning feeling, for the most part, cheerful. I was tired, but as I worked on fixing breakfast and getting the day started, I thought, “God will help me. Just be happy. God will give you rest, or whatever it is you need for this day.” Not a bad start for a sleepy mom of two, but somewhere between feet-to-floor joy and my morning shower, my heart began to change…
My baby, Tenley, sits in her highchair, not so patiently waiting for me to clean her up and move her to the next part of our morning routine. Meanwhile, my three-year-old, Aletheia, doddles at her oatmeal and asks for the 500th time if she can go watch “Mary Poppins.” I wipe Tenley’s face and glance at the clock: 8:05 and ticking. A 10:00 appointment looms on our schedule, lacing the morning with urgency. My heart begins to tighten.
We charge upstairs to get dressed. Aletheia, always two steps ahead of me, climbs onto my neatly made bed and begins to add her signature touch. Pillows and sheets cover the floor, as I catch up and find that little hands have made extra work. Struggling to find time, energy, and patience, I hastily scold her and scramble to set things right. My hurried heart pulls tighter.
Quickly, I head for the shower.
“What did you do with the jeans I left on the floor?” My husband asks, as we brush shoulders in the bathroom doorway. He, on his wild way into his day. Me, rushing madly into mine.
His asking comes across a little too demanding. “I hung them up,” I answer, annoyed.
It is a petty exchange, but my heart snaps clean through. Gracelessness ensues, a torrent of tired sets in, and I feel that I am too much and not enough at the same time.
I escape into the shower and run to God. The warm water falls with my anger, weariness, and tears. I kneel on the floor of the tub and try to be honest with God.
“Lord,” I pray. “I started this day with you, but now I feel so, so…”
“Hard?” I hear him say.
“Yes, Lord, Hard. In my heart…hard.”
I open my eyes to see my hands clenched in hard fists, holding on to angry, and I think of the rain: God’s shower of love and blessing.
What happens, I ask myself, when rain falls on something hard? A tin roof, a paved blacktop, or a stubborn heart? It deflects, splatters, and is gone, while the hard surface remains impenetrable. What happens, my thoughts continue, when rain falls onto something soft? Fresh tilled earth, sand, or a heart made humble? The rain soaks in and changes the surface until it is saturated and full of rich, wet goodness.
I see them now, God’s blessings. The ones he has been pouring out all morning:
Teething baby receiving comfort only mommy can give…
Three-year-old at play…
Husband who needs me…
Hope for a nap…
Each of them LOVE deflected by hardness. His love. My hardness.
I open my hands, relax my heart, and pray to be made soft.