• Dana L. Butler

Day 22: When Jesus Invades Your Ordinary Motherhood {a story that’s beyond precious to my hear

These are ordinary days. Days of nose wiping and grilled cheese making and sibling spat refereeing.

Days of giggles and cuddles, kisses and correction. Of heart shepherding and soul shaping.

As a Jesus-loving mom, you try and you try to rightly reflect the heart of the Father to these precious souls that’ve been entrusted to you, because you long for their hearts to grasp how long and high and wide and deep — how extravagant is His love for them.

You teach and instruct and guide, and you hug away a zillion tears.

Then you grow frustrated because they’re once again ignoring the words that are comin’ out of your mouth, and the words that come out land harsher than you planned.

Some days you love well. Other days you fail epically.

Most often, you do both — multiple times in the same day.

And you confess and confess and confess your need for Jesus to empower your parenting because there is no. way. on. earth. you can do even a halfway decent job stewarding these sweet, fierce little people apart from His supernatural help.

Some days you feel His empowerment. Other days feel more like mere skin-of-your-teeth survival, and part of you wonders how your ordinary motherhood is really going to accomplish much of eternal value.

And then….

And then there are the moments when the Holy Spirit just breaks right in. When He tangibly invades and inhabits all your trying and failing and getting back up and trying again.

When you’ve disciplined your son and you’re sitting on the couch talking with him about how important it is to be kind to his little sister–

And out of nowhere he wails, “I NEED Jesus to forgive my sins!”

And you’re dumbfounded, because although you’ve shared pieces of the Gospel with him in many and varied openhearted moments, that topic hadn’t been on your radar in this particular conversation. Not remotely.

So you throw up a silent cry for the Holy Spirit’s help, and you try, however haltingly, to guide this wide open 4-year-old heart into a deeper understanding that yes, in fact, he does need Jesus to forgive his sin.

That he needs a Savior, that Jesus died to save him from the ultimate consequences of his sins, that he gave his life so we wouldn’t have to be separated from God by our sin, so that he could come and make his home in our hearts and we could be with him forever and ever.

He listens, asks questions, sobs out, “I need Jesus to forgive me,” and the Spirit’s movement on his heart is tender and apparent.

So you ask him, “Buddy, do you want to pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, to come in and be in charge of your heart?”

And he nods this teary-eyed yes, says he wants to pray on. his. own, and with eyes looking toward the ceiling, weeps this prayer of Jesus, please forgive me for my sin. Please forgive me, Jesus! Thank you for dying so I could be close to you… Please be in charge of my heart and be my Savior….”

And you hug your boy and marvel at the holiness of the moment, at the commitment of Jesus to your little one’s heart. At the Holy Spirit’s tender power to soften a heart and bring gentle conviction and understanding to one so young.

And you grin and rejoice and tell your boy that Jesus is inside his heart now, that Jesus will never leave him, that he is his best friend forever and ever.

That He wants to help him do what’s right, help him be kind to his baby sister, that there’s forgiveness now for every wrong thing because that’s what Jesus died for — to make his little heart clean.

Tears turn to smiles, and then to outright excitement that his heart belongs to Jesus now.

So you call Daddy and you call Gigi and Grandpa, and Nana and Grandpa, and your little mister tells them all this excited, jumbled version of how Jesus died on the cross so we could be close to Him and how he asked Jesus to forgive his sins and be in charge of his heart.

Family members rejoice — his daddy most of all — and you breathe prayers of profound awe because your son, in this mystical exchange of death for life, is now somehow your spiritual brother too, and this door has been opened for the Holy Spirit to come in and shape and mold and introduce Himself facet by facet for eternity to the heart of this small, budding God-lover that you so wildly adore.

And you shake your head in wonder at how great is this Father who moves in and takes right over, who captures your child’s heart in the midst of your imperfect, ordinary motherhood.

And you thank Him, because despite all your falling short in your shepherding of your boy’s heart, the Good Shepherd is wholeheartedly committed to his deep-unto-deep process of shaping your son.

And you can rest in that Divine commitment. Ordinary-ness and imperfection and all.


This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

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