At 8 am, my whole world broke under the weight of one crying niece and one glass of spilled orange juice.
Two small things plus one frayed woman can only equal brokenness and so the 3 things equaled the only sum possible.
But I held onto the God I met in the kitchen, the One who spoke life into my lump of dough, and I jostled the baby and built with blocks and blinked back the well of tears.
And I looked for God in the stack of blocks and bins of baby toys.
At noon, the whole house was smeared with peanut butter and homemade whole wheat bread and pretzel sticks had been crushed under flip-flops and velcro shoes.
I washed strawberry stained faces and wiped snotty noses and changed 4 diapers in the span of 60 minutes. I braided one blond girl’s knotty hair and wiped another’s bangs from her eyes and I made 2 boys brush their teeth again.
I watched the minutes tick by on the clock in the kitchen as I rinsed dishes and sippy cups. I swished the sink clean one more time and I tossed one more dish rag into the washing machine.
And I looked for God in the nap time hour.
At 2, I watched 1 toddler sleep and another toss and turn. I carried my niece on my hip and thought about the calories I was burning as I toted her all over the house.
I ate 6 pretzels and sipped unsweet tea, with lemon, through a straw.
My tribe of 6 walked in one door and out another and built forts in the backyard to escape the incessant crying and I longed to sit with them and capture their moments in digital film.
I stood in the mud room, with one baby on my hip, and I peered through the glass of the backdoor at my own people as they built kingdoms built with sticks and quilts.
And I looked for God in their ramshackle castles and crumbling walls.
When the evening hour rushed in with speeding cars and patrolling cops, I packed diaper bags and waited for tired mamas. I counted minutes and seconds and mentally prepared our real food dinner.
At 5:56, I clocked out of my day job and shirked off my childcare scrubs and met my tiny in the kitchen.
“Can you sit with me now?” she asked, her blue eyes glimmering under her Daddy’s lashes.
I paused. “After dinner. I promise,” I told her. “You wanna hold Mumford while I fix tomatoes?”
She nodded, quick to please me.
I bought precious time and she smiled at me.
And I looked for God in the face of those blue eyes and blond curls.
At 9 tonight, I’m worn and stretched thin and feeling older than my 35 years.
My oldest girl is upstairs shaving her legs. For the first time.
It’s a milestone moment and so I sit up to live it with her.
I want to catch it and sift it for all it’s worth it.
She’s only 6 years away from being gone and so I blink my eyes to hold them open.
I sit in my corner of the world, downstairs in my leather chair, in our brick home on Avent, feeling worn and stretched thin. Guilt pricks my inner most being and I know from where guilt comes.
And it doesn’t come from God.
So I wait, and look for God in the late night hour.
My hands found themselves in flour and yeast at 7:21 this morning and in the background, my war cry played on repeat.
I watched 3 loaves rise in the heat of one oven light and 200 degrees and I knew that God had me bake bread to slow me down.
T0 give me moments, bent over the kitchen counter, to meet Him in the morning.
Moments in which He would show His great love for me…And this morning, His great love showed up in leavened bread.
It’s 11:12 and my house is sleeping.
It has been a full 17 hours and some odd minutes since God showed up in my kitchen by way of sticky fingers covered in dough and 3 buttered pans.
I like to think of my world, my little house on Avent street, smack dab in the middle of Rocky Mount, as sanctified earth…
The place Satan chooses to flee.
But the whole earth is his playground and my brick house is of no exception.
And so I bend my knee and bow my head and plead with God to make for Himself a mighty name…
In my home and on my street.
And I stretch out my palms to receive grace.
For it’s abundant and it’s already been given.
And it’s amazing.
And I’ll crawl between the sheets and look for God’s mighty hand to hold back the darkness while I sleep.
For those of you who need an anthem today, maybe a quiet battle cry for your soul, may I invite you here…?