He squirms into my arms, his hair, hot from the day’s play, tickles my nose as he buries his head in the spot under my chin. This little wiggly boy keeps growing and changing and he doesn’t fit in my arms in the same way, but he still wants to be in my arms so I’m not complaining. All this will be past in the blink of an eye.

“You sing so beautifully Mama,” he whispers almost drunk with the sleep that is taking him over. “I know why God wanted you to marry Daddy, why Daddy wanted to marry you. Because you are just so amazing and you sing so beautifully.”

I’m breathless, smiling, and fighting against the age-old voices that want to drown out his sleep words. This moment is sacred, and if I breathe, it will puff away.

“You can sing now, Mama,” he sighs. His eyelids are relaxed and closed, his face peaceful and still. Now I can breathe, the long sigh of contentment. And I listen for the song of my heart.

It’s an old song, one I learned in my early days. It’s simple and profound. Come by here, Lord, come by here to this holy ground, this sacred moment of motherhood and childhood colliding, two bodies no longer resisting and struggling and moving but now breathing and relaxing and slipping into the peace of rest.

Kumbaya, My Lord, Kumbaya.

Someone’s praying, Lord, Kumbaya. And I’m on my knees with the saints. There is so much to lift up, so many wet socks and tattered blankets to hang on the line. I start here.

Someone’s running, Lord, Kumbaya. And I’m thinking of the Iraqi Christians on the run from ISIS, and the women on the run from the sex slave trade, and the men running from their inability to provide, and the children running in fear from the armies and the soldiers and the bad guys. And the daily running to provide, to get, to exceed and excel, to surpass, and to score another point in life’s game.

Someone’s dancing, Lord, Kumbaya. There’s Prosy in Uganda and in my minds’ eye she is always dancing, my little Ugandan daughter, saved from the running and now dancing in her DADDY’S love. Loved, provided for, safe… dancing is the joy springing forth from a full heart. Love her dancing. Yearn for her dancing.

Someone’s crying, Lord, Kumbaya. Yes. There are broken hearts and broken bodies and broken spirits. And broken families and broken lives and broken backs. There are rifts in the earth, rents in relationships, fissures that will crack and quake into faults and will leave people stumbling and ducking and faltering. So, I have to move over this verse quickly.

Someone’s healing, Lord, Kumbaya. Oh the healing, Lord. There’s the surgery healing and the divorce healing and the loss healing. There’s the lack of healing and the cure from cancer healing and the pain and the swelling and the baby that shouldn’t come yet… healing. There’s healing on this side and there’s healing on that side of the time/space continuum. Hang it on the line.

Someone’s growing, Lord, Kumbaya. I brush a tendril of hair from his face. Sleep almost has him completely. But I think he still hears me and my prayer over him and over his sister in her hot pink nest next door. “I am the vine and you are the branches. Remain in my and you will bear much fruit. Without me, you can do nothing.” Grow, little branches. Let the vine feed you. Cling to the vine. And my prayer is against the prunings of the world that will slice that connection, against storm that may rip you from your vine, against any and all growth-stunting. Grow in Him.

And now sleep. Someone’s sleeping, Lord, Kumbaya. Come by here, Lord. Abide over us all, Lord. We can sleep knowing you are coming by, knowing you’ve got this all.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

I hang it on the line, the burdens of the day.10500300_10204115702430932_7825614723200437113_n

He’s asleep. And I’ve emptied my basket. Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya.

I slide from the bed, careful not to step on the dog. Everything is dark around me. Everyone is asleep. But the song of my heart has taken off. Lifted like a sheet hanging on the line. Sacred. This bed time ritual.

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  1. This is beautiful! I was drawn to your post because I, too, sing “Kumbaya” to my children at bedtime (learned from my parents singing it to me). Your prayer brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Oh, this is *such* a beautiful post. You had me at, “he doesn’t fit in my arms in the same way” (such a perfect, perfect description!) and held me until the very end, captivated, leaving me chuckling out loud at the genius, “…careful not to step on the dog”….love this post!! Thank you!


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