During breakfast Lydia asked if she and Charlotte could paint. I was feeling bold and adventurous (read: I had not had caffeine yet and my brain wasn’t fully processing) so I said yes. I laid out an old vinyl tablecloth to cover the floor, stripped the girls down to their diaper/underwear and let them go crazy. Meanwhile, I was a few feet away doing some dishes. I turned around a few minutes later to see Charlotte painting her leg and her foot blue. I pulled out the baby wipes and tried to get most of the paint off her foot. They went back to painting. A few minutes later Charlotte was painting the kitchen chair. Apparently, painting paper is far too predictable for my little artist. By the end of it, they were both covered in paint, so I hauled them to the bathtub to rinse off, glanced at the clock and realized it was only nine o’clock. Despite all that clean-up effort, she’ll ask me to paint again next week, and we’ll do it all over again. Because that’s what moms do. We pour out.
I know you. I see you. You pour out at your job, at the gym, at the parent-teacher conference. You pour out at the grocery story, at the oil-change place, at the classroom. Whether you work outside the home or stay at home or some combination of the two, you pour yourself out every single day. And it happens before they ever even hand you that sweet, screaming baby. I know brave women who pour themselves out every single day praying, waiting, begging God for a child to hold. Women who undergo tests and hormones and all sorts of things before they ever hear a heartbeat. Women who fill out mountains of paperwork, jump through a million hurdles and fight on their hands and knees for a child who needs a home. I know you. You pour out.
The first Sunday of Lent, we celebrated Communion as a family. Lydia and I baked unleavened bread together, rolling the dough into six little balls, one for each Sunday Sabbath during Lent. Lydia pressed the balls down and used a fork to prick tiny holes through the bread creating a cross in the center of each little loaf. After they baked, we gathered around the kitchen table with the warm bread and drinks while Matt read from Matthew. I had forgotten to get grape juice so we worked with what we had–coffee for Matt, tea for me and leftover McAlister’s lemonade for the girls. I imagine Jesus smiled.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
As I ate the piece of bread and drank a sip of my drink, I realized every time I pour myself out for my family and those God has put in my path, I embody the very essence, the flesh and blood of my Savior.
I know what poured out looks like because I saw it lived out every single day of my childhood through my mom. Last week, the girls and I went to Mississippi to spend Spring Break with my parents and sister. While we were there, my mom did what she always does. She poured out. Through meals and gifts and hugs and time, she poured out. One day a little boy at her church was admitted to the hospital for a heart procedure. Mom called me as she was leaving the hospital and I could tell her heart was hurting for this child who had to go through things he couldn’t understand and for his mom who just wanted to know he would be okay. She left a trail of love all over that hospital wing.
I want to continue the legacy my parents gave me. My most-uttered prayer is that my girls will know and love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and I pray they love Him because they see me pour out love and grace every day. Just like the disciples, I won’t do it perfectly. Some days I’ll be confused or stubborn or impatient or selfish, but, gratefully, God can take my flawed yet willing heart and use it to reflect His Son.
Every sleepless night, every report card, every load of laundry, every meal, every paint-smeared mess is an opportunity to pour out. And every gray hair, every stretch mark, every moment spent in tears on our knees is a reflection of a life lived for a greater purpose. A body broken. Love and grace poured out.