Most mornings I carve out time just for me. I quietly walk down the hall to the hum of the kids’ sound machine. Tiptoeing down the hardwood floors to the kitchen I find the coffee pot already filled so I grab a mug, pour the steaming coffee, and make my way back to the bedroom. Nestled under a blanket in my chair, I grab a book to read and savor the early morning quiet. Recently I’ve been immersed in the poetry of Mary Oliver and a devotional book from Laura Kelly Fanucci called The Extraordinary Ordinary Time. Through their stories and poetry, both writers instill a desire for me to pay attention to the beauty of this life. As the words sink into my mind and spirit, I’m compelled to be where I am with gratitude, to look up, and find the beauty of this marvelous, ordinary, and grace-filled life.
But then the day unfolds.
The kids wake up clamoring for breakfast, imploring me to look at their latest lego creations, and asking me to help them find their missing blue hair bow. Everyone needs dressed, breakfast, water bottles filled, and teeth brushed. We all have somewhere to be. And just as quickly as I found solace and peace in my morning readings, I forget to pay attention to the life before me. In the moments of frenzy packing for school, I forget to slow down. I forget to give thanks.
And too often I lose my patience.
My voice raises as the kids ignore my requests to brush their teeth.
I sigh loudly separating another fight over who gets the last red bowl for cereal.
I forget to offer a hug as the kids head out the door.
This summer my friend Erin and I wrote a book together. It’s a book of grace-filled devotions for the early years of motherhood. It’s a book written from the daily graces and missteps of our lives living right in the thick of raising our children. One night after a day when my voice rose far too many times and my patience wore thin, I felt bad about how often I let my own frustrations affect my kids. They were asleep and I kept replaying my words and lack of affection. My mind kept spiraling and it was all I could do to keep from waking the kids and making sure they heard me say again, “I love you.”
But then something clicked for me — all the words I’d been writing for the devotional came back to me. I’ve written words of peace for the parent who feels like they’re never enough. I’ve offered the hope of God’s presence. I’ve reminded others that they are God’s beloved child.
I just needed to believe the words myself. I just needed to trust that God’s mercies are new every morning.
So this book that will be launching into the world next year is for me too — a reminder of grace and peace hearing God’s voice declaring to me that I am enough, and I am loved. This book is for you too: the weary mama, or the mama who needs a little reminder of God’s love for them. You are loved.
And today, this message of grace is for you too — wherever you are and however you’re feeling, whether you’ve lost your patience at home or work, whether you’re waiting on a medical test, whether you’re searching to feel at home in your community, whether you’re tired. You are loved. Today is a new day.
*This was an excerpt from my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is a mother, wrier, and pastor living in Central Missouri with her family. You can read more at her website: Kimberlyknowlezeller.com. If you’d like to read more from Kim, you can sign up for her monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk here. As a gift to her readers and subscribers who sign up, she has a free downloadable resource: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk.
Editor’s Note: So glad to have you back to STTS from your writing sabbatical, Kim!