Gathering Delight


Bedtime. Let me set the scene for you.  Dinner is over.  Hopefully dishes are done.  There may or may not have been arguments about a certain 9-year-old practicing violin.  There may or may not have been screaming about a certain 3-year-old not wanting to get out of the bath.  Homework is done, sometimes after much complaining.  Mom is tired.  Dad just wants to sit down.  After bathroom trips, teeth-brushing, picking out clothes for the next day, another bathroom trip, and searching for the perfect stuffed animal or book for the night, we tuck them in, say prayers or play our thank-you-God game, and lights are out.  Okay, okay.  There may or may not be a threat about what will happen if either of those girls gets up.

Currently Isabel is in a stage where she is testing my bedtime limits.  She shares a room with Ava, so many nights she keeps Ava up for an hour or more.  She sings, talks, gets up, hits Ava, tickles Ava, climbs into bed with Ava.  Now that she is potty-trained, she comes in our room, having to go potty.  Again.  She slams the closet door, plays with her toys.  She makes messes, then opens and closes her bedroom door just to see if we are outside.  She.  Tests.  My.  Patience.

Ava knows that Mom has enough drama at bedtime and is usually pretty good about staying in her bed.  She knows getting out of bed means grounding from her Kindle.

I hope I have set the stage adequately for the happenings of Thursday night past.  This particular night we tried to get the girls in bed early because Ava had ISTEP testing the next morning.  I had told Ava that the next day I would not be home when she got off the bus and she would walk to Tasha’s house.  She was nervous about it, but we talked it though.  Tasha’s house is only a block or two away and Ava walks and rides her bike there from time to time.

About 30 minutes later, Ava was in our room.  I didn’t look up.  I didn’t want to lose my temper or get into a discussion.  It had been settled.  Ava would go to Tasha’s.  Jimmie walked her back in her room and was in there for a long time.  When he came back in our room, the discussion went something like this.

Jimmie:  Ava is sobbing.  She wants to see you.  She is nervous about tomorrow.

Rachael:  She has walked to her house before.  She goes to Kristi’s house, that is even farther.  She is being dramatic.

Jimmie:  She said she had a dream that someone kidnapped her by the park.  She is scared.

Rachael: (still relatively unmoved) Jimmie, she is just looking for reasons not to go to sleep.  This isn’t a big deal at all.


I believe that often when Jimmie raises his voice, it is the Holy Spirit speaking through him.

I walk into the room.  My baby is looking up at me, tears streaming down her face.  She reaches up, wraps her arms around me and holds on for dear life.  She is scared.  I finally come to my senses.  I speak soothing words.  I make other arrangements.  We make up.  I hold her, hug her.  I speak of Jesus as our protector.  I speak of fear and how it has no place in us when we know Jesus.  I pray over her.  I stroke her hair and watch her in wonder as she sleeps easily, comforted by my words and her Jesus.  I am so overwhelmed with love for this child, I think I may burst.

I hear the voice, somewhere deep inside, speaking truth I have avoided.  This is your child.  Take delight in her.  She is wondrous.  She is not an inconvenience, she is a delight.  Find joy in her.  Speak gently.  Show her grace.  Be a soft place to fall.  I delight in you, my child.  Now delight in her.  Your child.

I don’t know when it happened.  I always have moments of delight in Ava.  She is so smart and confident.  She is caring and strong.  She leads, she loves.  She has PASSION.  My head knows this, but for a while now I have been so consumed with myself, my problems  and my struggles that my heart wasn’t in it.  It may have been that way for a week.  Maybe a month.  I pray it wasn’t longer than that.  I was so grateful that God woke me up Thursday past.  It is easy for me to take delight in the 3-year-old who hugs mama all the time, says the cutest things, cuddles and kisses.  I thank Jesus that He reminded me that I must wonder at Ava.  She is a glorious gift.  If I look, I can see Jesus in her.  I can see the beauty of creation.  I can see His love in the way she loves.  I am delighting in her again.

He delights in me, after all.  The Bible tells me so.  Even when I fall terribly short as a mom.  Even though I am willful and resistant to His prompting.  Even if I get up when I’m supposed to stay put.  Even though I make messes.  Even if I pretend I need something when He has given me everything I need to rest.  Even when I talk when He wants me to be quiet and still.  Even if I slam doors He has opened so I can see the light.  Even if I annoy and hinder my brothers and sisters on this journey with me.  Even if I’m afraid when there is nothing to fear.  Even if I cry even though He has assured me everything will be okay.  In spite of myself, He delights in me after all.

Do you delight in your children?  Do you ever consider that God takes delight in you?  What obstacles keep you from delighting in your children?  I would love to hear that I’m not alone in this struggle!  This wasn’t a mom-moment I am proud of, but I thank God for the lesson that followed.



  1. Tania says

    You are so not alone!!! These days I rarely have time to sit down and read anything and I. The midst of cleaning up the kitchen tonight I stopped and read your post after seeing the notification pop up on my phone. God spoke to me through your words. The past couple months have been a real struggle with Caleb, and your words spoke right to my heart. A beautiful reminder of what a blessing he is and where my focus should be. Thank you for being a vessel through which God could reach me.

    • Rachael says

      Tania, I feel for you. Just tonight at our gathering we were discussing how overwhelming it can be to be the mom of young children. You have your hands full I know, but I have always looked up to you as a parent. It is obvious that you adore your kids and they feel the same about you. Sometimes I struggle with whether or not to be so honest and transparent in my posts. But it helps me know someone else relates to my struggles. We are not alone in this!! I will continue to pray for you, that you are able to delight in your children in spite of your exhaustion and frustrations. And I still can’t wait to meet that new baby :)

  2. Tasha says

    I have been struggling with how to respond to this. I am often in awe of seeing how you mother Ava and Isabel. I can see how much you love those girls, and how much they adore you.
    After reading this post, I felt the pang of guilt. I often struggle with being too quick to yell at Tailynn, or to judge her motives. I need to take the time to see her good qualities and be patient with her. Thank you for writing this and challenging me to delight in my kids. And reminding me that God delights in me no matter my shortcomings.

    • Rachael says

      Thanks for the comment, Tasha. Tailynn is such a great kid, you are doing such a good job with her. Let’s keep each other accountable, remind each other to stay positive and look for the good in our kids when we are frustrated. I know we won’t be perfect, but I also know we can be better with God’s help!

  3. Belinda says

    I almost cried when I read this. I am being totally transparent to you since you said you want to hope you are not alone. Now that I’m going to say this “out loud” it makes me nervous and ashamed but here goes…I don’t know when it happened but sometime after kaleb was born i noticed that I was not as in the moment with Karah as I should be. I tended to be impatient with her and irritated at her over the top drama and silliness. She grew out of that cute, cuddly I can’t kiss you enough or play with you enough stage into this trying to learn to be responsible but very much just a child stage. Argumentative and dramatic and childish and we but heads and personalities alot. I have been guilty of speaking harshly to her because I think she should be acting older than she is but then like you at times I just sit in awe of who she is and who she’s becoming and how smart and funny and curious and loving she is. I know that didnt happen by accident and that her dad and I have helped her along in learning all of these things but I still feel guilty for the times I do not as you say delight in her the way I do my toddler. I was even thinking this tonight as I rocked kaleb to sleep. He is such a beautiful boy, and as I studied his sleeping face and rubbed his soft cheeks and hair I almost couldn’t breathe thinking how much I love him. And how much I just can get enough of cuddling him and kissing his sweet face and tickling him and listening to his funny words. And then it his me in my heart kind of like the same pain only sharper…I used to feel the same way about Karah. Moments in time came back to me of almost exact feelings of delight with her too…and not to say I never have those moments with her just not as many as I should. Thanks for being open and making me think more. This was a God thing and if it didnt help anyone else it helped me.

  4. Rachael says

    Belinda, thanks so much for your comment. I think sometimes as moms we don’t want to confess our struggles as parents. I haven’t had trouble being in honest in any of my other blog posts, but I had issues with this one. Yet, I think when we open up and share our struggles, we find there are a whole lot of women who are in our shoes now, have been there, or will be. Thanks to you for being so honest. I feel that now that God has opened my eyes to see Ava in a new way, I am headed in a new direction with her. I hope God does the same for you!

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