she has contributed out of her lack

and her want,

putting in all that she had on which to live.

(Luke 21: 4)

I’m on my second glass of red for the night, and I’m eating chocolate. The kids are all medicated and in bed and Trent is fixed up with a honey and lemon and you can only begin to imagine the kind of day it’s been.

The kind that has your youngest calling “Mom” every minute and wanting to be held, “Up, up” he says, and your eldest is stuck inside because it’s been raining non-stop. They’re coloring marker on their faces and crying when you make them stop and then you try and teach the eldest his ABCs and 123s with the youngest in your lap coloring madly across pages of Jesus and other Bible characters and then they refuse to eat anything but cookies for lunch and you finally bundle them down for a nap only to realize you’ve left your eldest’s bunny at Oma’s and he won’t settle.

So you put a movie on for him but Netflix won’t work because of the rain and he’s too sick to play by himself, so you pull him onto your lap while your youngest sleeps and you try to forget that this is normally when you would be getting edits done on your manuscript due in a week.

Yes, you try to forget everything except the face of a little boy who looks just like you, as you read him story after story and then the youngest is up and it starts all over again until your husband comes home.

How you look forward to your husband coming home — unless he’s sick.

And he is. He comes in and he asks where the cough drops are and you were hoping for a hug but he goes straight to the couch and he can’t talk above a whisper and your youngest is in your arms and you’re trying to cook spaghetti.

You try to forget about yourself in these moments. About how your back aches and how your mind feels swollen from over-attentiveness and your heart is swollen from caring and your ankles are swollen from standing and all you want is to take a bath.

So then you give your kids one instead after they refuse to eat the spaghetti, and normally your husband would bathe them but you’ve told him to go to bed. And that’s when your eldest starts begging to come out of the tub, and he says, “Me first, Mommy. I want me first.”

You try to explain to him that we are to be kind. Because Jesus asks us to think of other people first, and wouldn’t it be nice if he let his little brother come out of the tub first?

But Aiden refuses to budge. “No. Me first. I want me first.” And he keeps repeating himself over and over, and you ask him to reconsider. “Wouldn’t it make your brother feel good if you said he could come out first?” but no.

And then, to his chagrin, you take his brother out first, because “He’s little, honey, and we should try to help the little ones,” and he throws a temper tantrum right there in the water.

And you don’t blame him. You want to throw a temper tantrum too.

I sit here now with my wine, the kids in bed, and I’m thinking, “Me first, Lord. I want me first.”

I want time to soak. To sit in silence. To do the edits on my manuscript. To read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society which my sister-in-law recently mailed to me. And these are all good things but when someone is calling your name they just have to wait.

In God’s kingdom the last shall be first and all day long it’s about becoming last, all day long it’s about dying like Jesus did so others might live, for great is my reward in heaven, when we will hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

You first, Lord. I want you first. No matter how weary my bones. No matter how swollen my mind and heart, just let me make you first.

Even as I love on the least of these.

Because in the end, I want my kids to look like Jesus, to wash the feet of a world that’s gone mad with Me Firsts. 

**please note: there will be NO imperfect prose next week, as I’ll be on vacation with my family. love, e.**

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