A sink full of dishes and hours worth of writing beg for my attention as we finished the chapter. Prayers whispered, kisses shared and lights dimmed.
“Read one more chapter, mommy,” she pleads. My heart longs to linger with her, cuddled under the covers, but the to-do list beckons. “Not tonight, baby.” A wave of exhaustion battles with the rush of guilt. I rationalize the choice with seemingly shallow excuses, but it doesn’t soothe. Clean dishes and folded laundry hardly seem like a fair trade for time spent with their hearts. I whisper a promise for tomorrow, but carry the hurt of the “not tonight.”
Not tonight. The very words taunt well-meaning moms. They pierce the already broken places. “Not tonight” says “you aren’t important” or “I simply can not make time for you.” While neither of these is true, the torment won’t leave. As a single mom, I bear great guilt over the holes that I can not fill. When those sweet teary eyes plead for one more chapter, one more hug, one more song…my mind rages with the furry of my to-do list and the self-condemnation of not being enough.
It’s so easy to get swept away in the lies. Easy to let the guilt consume and my heart to break. It’s in these moments that I must rely on the love of a perfect Father. One who fills those holes with His love. The truth is…I may not be able to read another chapter, but she knows that I love her. She sees the sacrifice and commitment to her.
She knows that I will rock her when she is sick, wipe the tears when her heart is broken, and hold her hand when she is scared. She knows that I’ll be here for her, because “Not tonight, ” is just a temporary disappointment.
I may not be able to read another chapter, but I can rest securely in the love of our gracious Father. His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), for He promises to be close to the brokenhearted. He will never let her down.
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