Bella fell asleep in the car on our drive home tonight.
I was sort of thankful. Because bedtimes are hard.
And it was a little bit nice to be able to carry her up and set her in bed without seven requests for water or the million times she asks me if I’m going to remember to check on her. Lock it in your brain! She always yells at me from her room. I always do. I always lock it in my brain and go in and check on her one last time before I go to bed. We mommas do that, don’t we! (It’s out of complete fear they forgot how to breathe in the past hour or two, but whatever. It’s love all the same as I see it.)
I figured I’d take this extra quiet time for my own quiet time. I was going to be all fancy and kneel and pray while watching the sun set from my bedroom window. It seemed like the holy thing to do. I think I have knelt a total of 3.2 times in the past decade but tonight I was going all out. Sometimes I like to feel like I’m doing it all right, like pretend there is a right way. It's pretty silly actually. But I still do it. I still try to get it right before God instead of just getting right before him, as in right smack face to face raw, with no make up on, before him.
I knelt for a hot sec but something in me prompted me to go into Bella’s room. To pray for peace and love and joy in it. I like that. The idea of opening up my home to those things. I tend to waft my hands, like I’m a witch doing a hocus-pocus spell but it’s a little slower and with a nicer voice. That’s how I think you know it’s a prayer instead of a spell; the speed of the wafting.
I laid out a blanket on her floor and sat criss-cross-applesauce, back straight, with my hands folded gently in my lap. I felt like a little Buddha doll.
I was sorta tired. Actually, I am a lot tired tonight and so I think I pretty much almost fell asleep but tried really hard not to.
Looking up from the floor at the tiny bundle of beauty sleeping before me, the desire so very dear to my heart these days surfaced; that is: to be a better mommy.
I desire so badly to love my little lady. And I know how much my unacceptance of my own imperfections has affected my ability to love others. My ache these days is to love better, stronger, bolder and more beautifully. But I know it starts with letting go of perfect.
LET ME SEE BROKEN FIRST. This prayer burst out of my heart.
When I see her. Let me see broken first. The prayer repeated.
In that moment God revealed to me that the only way I’m going to love like God does is to see her first. All of her. To see the cracks where she needs love and grace most. To see the broken, aching for acceptance and wholeness.
Because, let’s be honest. We all know that when we get into the quiet, each one of us has an insatiable ache and loneliness. My friend reminded this week.
Right? She’s right. Right, guys?
I know this.
But I pretend differently.
Every day I put on a set of lenses that sees what Bella is doing instead of seeing her being. And her being, her beautiful soul and bright-lit spirit will always have a part to her that is lonely and achy.
I want to see that first. Everyday I want to see THAT first.
I want to wake up and see my broken people.
And I want to go out and see the broken world.
I think that’s really the only way I’m gonna ever be able to be the kind of love I’m desiring to be. A love that is patient and kind. A love that oozes into the cracks. A love that creates space for grace and permission to be the Bella, God made Bella to be. Not the Bella, Kaylee wants to make Bella be. I’m like one hundred percent certain that the story God is writing Bella is so much stronger, fuller, more redemptive and sacred than I could imagine or dare to dream. May I sit back and enjoy the ride of watching Bella’s storyteller tell her story. As broken and beautiful as it promises to be.
May my job just be to see her broken first.