Hey Mama, I see you.
I see you dressing your little ones for church, battling the flailing arms and the subtle restlessness over how much of you the day requires. I see you spending even less time getting dressed yourself, holding your baby as you put on a little mascara, trying to make today feel more set apart than the others.
For whatever reason, I see you going alone today. Maybe your husband is sick. Maybe your husband is the pastor or minister. Maybe he's at work, or maybe he's absent altogether.
I see how you sigh as you finally get to the driver's seat, glad for a place to close your eyes for a second. I see you breathe in and out and open your eyes with a little bit of hope.
You're tired. You don't want Sundays to feel like work, but they do. Making it to corporate worship feels like a job, and only God knows how naps will go.
I see your heart sink as you circle the parking lot for a spot. Today you were going to be on time, but it's just another Sunday where you're late as usual. Your eyes gaze longingly at the couples walking leisurely into the church, and you suddenly wish you hadn’t taken those days for granted. You fight back tears as you find a spot to park on the grass. You take a deep breath before the long haul with your babies and your bag and your Bible.
I see you give your best sorry as you drop crying children with full diapers off at the nursery, wishing you could leave your guilt at the door, too. You're already twenty minutes late, and you're not sure if there's even a song left to sing by the time you get into the sanctuary.
But there is, and you find a seat next to a familiar face. You wait a couple of lines before joining in. Your heart feels anything but prepared, but it's tender, abounding with a weakness you never knew before becoming a mother.
A hush covers your busy mind, and you breathe in again.
You need this place.
The tears come without prompting. The God they're singing about, you know Him. Maybe it doesn’t feel like you know Him quite as intimately as you used to because time in the Word changes when diapers need to be changed and mouths need to be fed and cries need to be comforted. You miss Him.
You recall those lonely nights where you're certain He was there, listening to your cries, comforting you with a kindness too rich for words. You remember those days when He supplied the strength needed to discipline your kids when all you really wanted was to yell and be done.
You know this sight of Him here, in this sanctuary, is different. If you don't make it regularly, you soon forget how great your need is to see God here. Your lowliness gives you a unique vantage point—to see Him high and lifted up. You remember how this glimpse of Him overwhelms you with the life-giving quality of humility.
You take in the sight of Him gloriously enthroned on the praises of His people. You need it to quicken your feet toward holiness. To drive the conviction to walk in faithfulness and purity deep into your heart. To be freed from the tyranny of living for yourself, your ever-changing feelings, your wants for comfort or rest or reward. To be freed from the tremors of your shakable kingdom.
You receive the gift of being lifted above the demands of your everyday to remember that you're a part of an everlasting Kingdom. One that is advancing through the power of Christ's gospel. One that moves outward through the inward change of the heart, through intimate fellowship with the King.
You need to remember how your faithfulness in the small things matters to the King because His Kingdom is in your midst. He sees your middle of the night sacrificing, your long days of giving, your seemingly ceaseless foot washing. You grow in awe that Jesus not only cares about the responsibilities of your motherhood, but He eagerly desires to be with you in them, to give you life through His fellowship and nearness, as you lay yours down for His sake.
You long to see God at work in more than the crevices of your own heart. That bitter taste of seeing and hearing about others' suffering makes you thirsty for the glorious hope in the gospel to redeem and restore and make all things new. Your hardships need to be situated within this context, not in the hollow images on your phone.
You look your pastor in the eye and praise God for his faithfulness to feed you with the richest fare—the kind that satisfies your soul yet leaves you craving more of the feast the Word alone offers.
You remember how desperate you are for those hallowed moments before you take the bread and the cup—the quieting of your soul under healthy heart-examination and the precious application of the physical, painful, glorious reminder of acceptance. You need this regularly, the gospel getting deeper inside of you, to press you deeper into the lifestyle of Christ, our Servant-King.
You find a friend you haven't seen in a while, because let's be honest, you haven't seen a lot of friends in a long while. You lean in and look her in the eye and ask her how she's doing, looking for opportunities to love her and show her grace.
You need this place where Christ's body gathers to worship Him. To grow expectant for His return. To take heart your call as His ambassador. You do the hard work of getting here every week. Because every time you come, you walk away with deeper conviction that the gospel is worth every moment of sacrifice you must embrace day after day.
You need this glimpse of God etched into your being because when you get home, you'll see differently. You load your little ones up in the car, and though it appears life as usual is resuming, you know things are different. You’re different. You pull in the driveway, and you open the door to the place where sanctification feels like fire. But something lingering tells you: this fire turns into holy ground when you remember that you are a part of the Church, and motherhood is your entrusted ministry.