there is no greater humility than that of being a mother.

found there in the low light of afternoon, rocking, one on each hip, while the three of you shed tears and you, muster strength to be the bigger person.

he’s screamed the past 45 minutes, this 23-month-old. half an hour in nursery at coffee-break, and then the entire wagon trip home and you feel sad for him, and embarrassed by him, and angry for the way you longed for that time to yourself, that time of discussing the psalms with other mothers, and why God allows bad things to happen.

and he feels the psalms so deeply today, this child screaming even as you arrive home, and he stomps his tiny foot and you don’t know whether to hug him or discipline him and how you wish he could talk. put these feelings into words, and even as he learns the words, to name his emotions.

and then your three-month-old begins. so you sit and you rock, two crying babies in the low light of the afternoon, the house undone and the world off-kilter. and you remember the days of quiet. days when you could do anything you wanted. days empty for the filling, and now, four arms and legs and two faces beg your devotion and you don’t know how to keep on.

but it happens in the blue whisper of spirit, and you speak to him now, remind him of God being bigger, of Christ living in his heart and you point to his heaving chest, and you tell him he has nothing to be afraid of; this child with the bleeding soul. and he nods and says, choking, “God.”

and you rock. you sit and you rock while the house needs a vacuum and the garden begs harvest and the dishes grow mold. you rock while your novel and assignments remain unwritten. you rock until their cries subside and it’s humility.

it’s the hardest job in the universe and the most important one, and we never stop carrying them. these babies, and their weeping makes our wombs ache.

and sometimes all we can do is hold them in the low light of an afternoon, while God sings his love over them.

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*originals and prints of e’s paintings available here*