For our kiddos, Daddy did the end of the bedtime routine most of the time - the tucking in, reading stories, prayers. (Yeah, he got the good part. As drill sargent, I supervised teeth brushing, potty trips, and room quick-cleans. I guess since I'd been with them all day it was only fair to give him the good stuff. sigh) He would tell the most amazing stories ("Moe and Joe", remember, Katie and Mary?) The tales always had a lesson to teach. And most of them ended with an admonition to always tell the truth. No matter what happened in the tale, he always stressed "lying made it worse". I was flabbergasted that he could come up with such great stories, impromptu! Maybe he spent most of his workday thinking them up. Yes, I am sure that's it.
Then he did the sweetest thing. Still does with 10 year old Betsy. He blessed them. He would pray over them and then touch their faces, pronouncing blessings over each part. He'd thank God for their good mind, strong body, kind lips, pure heart. And as he kissed them, he always closed with "Mommy and Daddy and Jesus love you very very much."
What a treasured ending to their day! Some days were great - chores were completed cheerfully, schoolwork was done with excellence, and sibling squabbles were minimal. But other days needed some cardiac repair. Feelings got hurt. And bottoms. Unkind things were spoken. Self-doubt and deprecation took up residence. And I thank God that those things were not the final thoughts and feelings in their heart. The tender words of their earthly Dad, invoking the blessings of their Heavenly Dad, spoken over their little souls, closed out their days. Powerful.
What was I doing while Paul was on bedtime detail? Well, sometimes I neededcold Tab or a hot bath and I went straight to the appropriate locations to replenish myself. (Some days called for both. Simultaneously. Some of you understand exactly what I mean!) Some days I was just glad we were DONE. Blessed bedtime, indeed! But most nights, as Dad was by their beds, I lay down in the hall outside their rooms. Face down on the carpet. Before the Throne of my Heavenly Father, thanking Him for this incredible privilege. And crying out to Him for grace and strength to complete the task. Reminding Him of His promise to me, found in Isaiah 59:21 - "And as for Me, this is my covenant with you, says the Lord: My Spirit which is upon you and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring, says the Lord, from now and forever." Amen. I am counting on His faithfulness to that promise. I am confident of it.
They may not remember those times specifically but I surely do hope they do. And even if they don't recall the details of the tales, I am confident that the impression left on their hearts is indelible. I was with my oldest last week and was reminded of these sweet times their Daddy created for them. As my little grandson was being put to bed, his Mom and Dad read to him, prayed over him, and tucked him in together. I think I am seeing God's answers in action. I am thankful.
And many nights you will still find me in the hall outside their rooms. On my face. Thanking Him. Petitioning Him. Reminding Him. With a cold Tab beside me, no less!
This post was originally published on October 13, 2012