She collapsed in the chair. "I don't feel good."
Out comes the thermometer. I was sure she was going to be burning up. She looked that bad. No fever. No runny nose. Just a vague complaint of an achy head and a scratchy throat.
We decided to get a snack and get her homework done. Then the story of her day poured forth. Too many unkind words. Not enough encouragement. Girl drama. Mean boys. A math lesson she didn't understand. The whole day had been a struggle.
She wasn't physically sick. She was simply heart sick.
She needed her mom. She needed love. She needed to talk it through. She needed to know someone cared.
I still had work to do yesterday when my girls got home. I'm knee-deep in freelance projects that have deadlines in the next week. The laundry sat unfolded on the bed. Dinner needed to be made. I had important things to do.
Yet, all that fell by the wayside as I sat with my daughter. We struggled over her homework together (mixed fractions, ugh!). We talked about the kids who had hurt her feelings. We talked about why people act that way. We hugged and talked. We ate and talked. We worked and talked. We went to soccer and talked. We ate dinner and talked. We watched TV and talked.
Dinner did eventually get made. The laundry got folded and the freelance work got done about 11 last night. It wasn't the ideal schedule. 6 a.m. came awfully early this morning, but it doesn't matter.
You see, my first job is mom. And when a child wounded by the day walks in the door, it's time to set all the other hats aside and return to being mom.
Our kids need us. They need us to be physically, emotionally and mentally present when they are beaten down by the day. They need us to drop everything and remind them that they are loved. They need us to give them our full attention. They need us to remind them that no matter what happens outside the doors of our homes, inside those homes they are loved unconditionally. They need us to build them back up when the world tears them down.
Because that's what God does for us. He loves us. He encourages us. He gives us His undivided attention. He dropped everything, gave up everything to send His Son for us. He builds us back up when the world says we're worth nothing. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).
We are the hands and feet of God for our kids. On days when the world beats them down, we are the tangible reminder of God's love for our children.
Love your kids today like God loves you. Give them your full attention. Build them up to keep the world from tearing them down. Because they need you.