When I was little, my sisters and I used to sit in the back of the car and drive each other crazy.
We’d fight and poke and “I Spy.” We’d kick the back of the seats and “slug bug” and “I’m not touching you.”
My momma, she’d sit in the front and beg us to stop.
She’d threaten to tell Dad.
Instruct us to be kind.
To use nicer words.
To love each other, because each other was all we got.
My momma, she’d sit in the front, and sigh, and tell us that she’d had it up to here.
When I was little I used to wonder how high “here” really was. How much could she take? How much could we push?
I figured that eventually, she’d hit that ceiling. Eventually, we’d find that cap on top of her patience, on top of her grace, on top of her love. Eventually, she’d throw her hands in the air and quit.
That someday we’d get to there, the constantly mentioned threat of up to here.
Those are the things I thought when I was little.
There’s a gasp of surprise, of awe, of respect, when you grow up and see your momma for who she is, for who she was trying to be, with you, for you, all along.
Counsel, confidante, friend.
Mighty strength in the tiniest of packages.
You wonder why you pushed her up to here so often.
And you realize that for your momma?
Up to here doesn’t exist.
Because your momma backs her faith and strength and hope against the ceiling of up to here and drives it away. Higher than you knew she could take. More than what you thought she could handle.
“I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” [Isaiah 41:10b]
She’s a tiny little warrior equipped with the heaviest of armor.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” [Psalm 119:50]
Joy instead of sorrow.
Victory instead of defeat.
Light instead of dark.
A promise that gives us life.
I call my tiny warrior and I fill her with my troubles.
“Mom, I’ve had it up to here.”
She tells me things I don’t want to hear, whispers of promises, and trust, and faith. Of joys that can always be found in the middle of anger.
Of lights that still shine in the middle of the darkness.
She tells me that up to here doesn’t exist for those who’ve trusted the King for everything.
I close my ears and beg for an answer that doesn’t account for faith. That leaves the King out of the equation.
I beg for an answer that makes sense right here, right now.
Explain the unexplainable.
Define the undefinable.
What am I thinking?
I’m asking the warrior to fight without her armor. Without her promises. I’m asking her to do something she CANNOT do. To be someone she CANNOT be.
MY MOMMA, SHE DOESN’T DO LIFE WITHOUT THE KING.
She walks in victory before the battle has ever begun.
She clings to faith while she stares at what others say is sure defeat.
She believes a promise ages old, a promise she knows she can rest in time and time again.
She pleads with me to do the same.
Push back the ceiling of up to here.
There is no life to live, except for one in which you walk with the King.
Sometimes, when the three of us girls and the three of our boys are all home at once, chaos ensues. Our words tumble all over each other, laughter fills the dusty corners of my parent’s living room, and my mom sits back, quietly, and never says a word.
A tiny warrior, surrounded by the army that her and my father have slowly and painstakingly grown.
A tiny warrior, pushing back against the ceiling of up to here.
A tiny warrior, who refuses to do life without the King by her side.
I watch her sometimes and wonder what she’s thinking. What she is hearing.
I think I know what the King is whispering in her ears.