If you haven’t read Part 1 of this story, you can find it here
Sam watched as Charles drove his blue Chevy Malibu down the road and then out of sight, Charlie in tow. The fact that Charles was always willing to help out in ways that other fathers, including her own, would scoff at never ceased to amaze her. The thought made her heart swell as it often did. She had never imagined just how much love she could feel for another human being until she met him.
Sighing softly, she closed the door, taking great care not to wake the sleeping child in her arms. The silence at the moment was almost deafening, but it was a daily routine she was used to, rock band to convent. She made her way up the stairs and into the nursery where she was greeted by the calming effects of the blue walls. Before William was born, Sam and Charles had moved Hannah into Rachel’s room and got to work changing the pink ballet theme to a blue ocean theme complete with whales and ships. A plaque over the crib read, “Jesus is the anchor of my soul, Hebrews 6:19.”
Sam gently laid William down in his crib atop a white sheet with little blue and red sailboats. She looked down at him lovingly, fighting the urge to touch him one last time before heading back down, fearing she would wake him.
Back downstairs she made her way into the kitchen, but not before first checking on Hannah who was in the family room sitting in front of the television watching PJ Masks on Netflix. She smiled and shook her head. Though she herself was not altogether useless when it came to technology, she still wondered if her three-year-old could teach her a few things.
She did, however, feel pretty useless when it came to finding her coffee cup in the kitchen until she realized that she had placed it in the microwave. When was that, exactly? After typing in the numbers again and hitting ‘Start,’ she gathered up her laptop, cell phone, and Bible, and made her way back into the family room, taking her place at the far end of their gray couch, feet up on the coffee table.
Placing her computer on her lap and bringing it out of suspend, she brought up the back end of her website, RichBlessings.com, a blog she wrote to celebrate life with her “Sweet Six,” as she called her children, and to give encouragement, tips, and how-to’s for other moms. The quote bubble at the top of the screen read 10, indicating how many comments she had to look through and possibly approve. She clicked on the bubble which brought up a list of the comments received. The majority of the comments were on yesterday’s post about how to get children to do chores at any age, using her own children as an example of how easy it really can be.
Chores, right. “Hannah,” she called over to her little girl, “did you make your bed today?”
Not even looking back at her mother, eyes glued to the screen in front of her, Hannah responded, “No. I busy.”
“Hannah, you need to make your bed. Let’s go upstairs and we can make it together.”
“No! I busy! I watching PJ mass.”
“Your show will be here when you’re done. Come on, let’s go.” Sam put her computer on the couch, stood up, and made her way over to Hannah.
Hannah yelled, “No! I don’t want to!”
“Hannah,” Sam said firmly. “It is time to do your chores. Let’s go.” She picked her up and started walking toward the stairs.
“No!” She cried.
“Shh…sweetheart, don’t wake up William. It won’t take long, and mommy will help you.”
“I don’t want to!” Hannah wiggled in her mother’s arms making it almost impossible for Sam to carry her up the stairs.
“Shh…come on, Hannah. Don’t give me a hard time. And please don’t wake up your brother.”
“Waah!” Too late.
Sam was about to lose it. Maybe she should have just let it go. Typically she would have, but this morning she was propelled by her own post. The comments that had come in praised her for her ability to get all of her kids to do their chores without complaint, including her teen. Some women, like Sheila, expressed how envious they were of her:
I have to admit, I’m jealous. How do you make it sound so easy? I can’t wait to try your tips. Here’s hoping!
There were also some questions that she would need to answer such as Amy’s comment:
I also have a three-year-old, and he loves to do chores with me. Sometimes, though, he wants nothing to do with it, or he only wants to do chores that don’t belong to him. How do I get him to stay on task, or the right task? I love how your little girl is always so good. Gah! How do you do it?
Samantha was wondering the same thing at that moment. How could she get Hannah to take care of her chores? They really weren’t difficult, and Sam would help her out. There were days when Hannah would have everything done before Sam could even have a chance to remind her. Other days, like today, she fought it. Hard.
And now William was awake. Sam groaned as another cry came through his bedroom door into the hallway. She put Hannah down, giving up on the previous task and said, “See? You woke up your brother. I told you not to. Why couldn’t you just do what you were told?”
Hannah started to cry.
Oh, great, Sam thought, now I have two of them. She knelt down in front of her daughter and tried to quickly comfort her. “It’s okay, don’t cry.” She gave her a hug and wiped her tears. “Why don’t you go on back downstairs and watch your show. I need to take care of William.”
At that suggestion, Hannah perked up, smiled and rubbed her eyes. “Okay, mommy!” She turned and made her way back down the stairs. Sam sighed.
With one potential meltdown diffused, Sam turned her attention to her five-month-old, making her way into his room and over to his crib. “Hey, baby boy, what’s up? Are you all done with your nap?” She picked him up, brought him to her chest, and kissed his head. She changed his diaper and got him dressed, then headed down the stairs, a now happy baby in her arms.
Sam walked into the kitchen and remembered, yet again, that her coffee was in the microwave. Forget it, she thought. She decided it was best just to drink it as is and hoped that it was lukewarm at the worst. She grabbed her cup and took a sip. Cold. Oh well. At least it’s caffeine. Time to get back to work. Sam made her way into the family room and placed William on a blanket on the floor, surrounding him with toys, and then sat back down on the couch to reply to the comments.
She stared at the screen and read each comment more times than she cared to count. Why couldn’t she decide which comment to reply to first? Why was she making this so hard on herself? Any other day she would just respond to each comment in order as they appeared on her screen, making her way from the top to the bottom, giving sufficient time to each one; she wanted each woman who shared their words with her to feel just how much she valued them.
But today seemed different for some reason. Today she felt…stuck. No response was coming to her that didn’t feel, well, fake. Closing her eyes, she prayed, Lord, I’m at a loss. Why can’t I answer these women? Help me, please.
She kept her eyes closed and pushed out the sounds of her children and the television; she pushed out any thoughts clogging her mind, waiting for some sort of answer, until she heard a gentle whisper. The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
Sam’s eyes popped open. “What?” She had to think about this. Did she really hear it? She knew these words. It was from Proverbs, chapter twelve, verse twenty-two. She knew it well because it was one she had used to teach her kids about lying. Was God using it on her? Why? Tell the truth, she heard again. Was it really that obvious?
She prayed again. Lord, was that You? What do I need to tell the truth about? When have I been deceitful? She waited for a response.
Nothing. Why was He not answering? She had to think. Why would God say this to her? She opened her eyes again, and her computer screen glared back at her. The comments. Why couldn’t she answer them? Truth. That’s what God had spoken. She needed to tell the truth. But the truth is hard. And she couldn’t let her readers down. Since Sam had started her blog just over a year ago, her readers had come to expect perfect answers. They wanted to see someone with a perfect life, and she wanted to be the one to satisfy them.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Another Scripture verse? This sounded like it belonged in Psalms, but she Googled it just to be sure. She was right. It was Psalms. Psalm 90:14 to be exact. She opened up her Bible to view the entire Psalm and found that it had been written by Moses. And Moses most definitely was not asking for satisfaction from anyone but God.
Maybe that was the point God was trying to make to her. All this time she was trying to satisfy her readers with perfection she really didn’t have. Only God is perfect, and only He can satisfy. So now what?
What do I do with this, Lord?
Samantha laughed. “Really?” But this time she knew exactly what God meant.
Instead of responding to any comment, Sam clicked on ‘New Post’ and began to type, formatting this particular post as though she were writing a letter to a close friend whom she had hurt. Dear Friend, she began.
Over the past year, you have been with me, following me as I wrote about my family, my “Sweet Six.” You’ve expressed gratitude for the lists and how-to’s I’ve posted and shared your amazement with me over how perfect my family is, how helpful and loving. I have loved corresponding with each and every one of you; you have always given me such a wonderful high each morning as I read your comments.
But this morning I need to apologize to you. I read your comments, but I was unable to reply. I didn’t know why such a simple task was proving so very difficult for me today. But then I got it. God was stopping me. He made me realize that I have been deceiving you all. Even though this was never my intent, I now realize that it was true. I made it sound as though we had it all together. We don’t. I wanted to believe that I had the perfect family. I don’t. And you know what? It’s okay.
Only God is perfect, and only He can satisfy. I am not and cannot.
I am so very sorry.
With your permission, I would love to continue writing, but from now on I want to show the imperfections (of which there are many). My prayer is that you will continue to follow me on this journey of motherhood, through all of its ups and downs.
Thank you for your willingness in this. You are all very special to me.
Sam pressed ‘Publish’ and sent up one more prayer. Lord, it’s in Your hands, now.
Before she was able to get off of the couch her phone started chiming. She looked at her phone and found email after email indicating that she had a new comment to moderate. “Already? That was fast.” She took a deep breath and made her way into the comments section of her blog. The page was inundated with comments thanking her for her honesty. Each comment was encouraging, and they all promised to continue to follow her. Some even told her that they were more willing to share her blog with others.
A tear rolled down her cheek. Wiping it away, Sam smiled. Thank You, Lord.
She felt a small hand on top of hers’. “Mommy, why are you crying?”
“Oh, sweetie, Mommy is just very happy right now.” She swept Hannah up and twirled her around. Hannah let out a squeal of delight. Today was going to be a good day.