Ashley Setterlind

A distinct crackle on the monitor warns me of the scream about to burst through the night. From down the hallway, I hear my son’s whimpering begin. I groggily pull myself to the edge of the mattress and glance at the time on my phone as my face cracks with a yawn and one squinted eyeball.

4:37 a.m.

Not ideal. By the time I get him back to sleep, my toddler will likely be waking up and sneaking into our room too early—a new habit of hers.

What does love require of me today?

5:12 a.m.

Pleasantly surprised by the successful nighttime feed, I crawl back under the covers for what feels like only a brief moment. I’m woken by hot breath on my face whispering, “Mommy…Mommy…Moooommmmyyyy. I made you some tea, Mommy.” 

Feeling like a character straight out of The Walking Dead, I mumble a slurred “Oh, thank you, sweetie” and sip my fake beverage from a pink Minnie Mouse teacup as the first rays of sunlight start to peek through the white bedroom curtains. With a deep sigh, I regretfully realize it is time to wake up, ready or not.

What does love require of me today?

I’ve prepped a bowl of Cheerios for my daughter, wiped up spilled milk from the said bowl of cereal, peeled a banana for the baby, started a pot of coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, let out the dogs, and told Alexa to “play worship music” as I ask God to help me rejoice in the day he has made. 

8:25 a.m.

Really, that’s it?

My toddler asks me to build a block tower while I’m wiping banana out of the baby’s hair and starts screaming when I do not immediately join her. I pause to get down on her eye level and explain that I’d love to play when her brother is finished with his breakfast as well. The day is young, so my patience is in higher supply. Even so, I’m already asking God to “please, help.”

What does love require of me today?

Hours pass with diaper changes, stories, three different princess outfits, tracing letters for practice, and 77 reminders to “please be gentle with your baby brother.”

This is the work of the unseen. 

Simple. A little monotonous. And somehow it feels like plugging holes in a cheese grater—impossible. 

I’m tempted towards annoyance and defeat, but my Good Father reminds me:

What does love require of me today? 

To whom much is given, much will be required. Motherhood is sacrifice and sanctification; a purposeful pointing to Christ amidst seemingly purposeless tasks. 

Much love is required of me today and will be tomorrow, too. 

What a gift to know that it’s not entirely up to me. 

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.”

He is the Creator of love and creative in His distribution of it. I can rest, receive it, and release it to the lives of my little ones—by His grace. 

What does love require of me today?

Simply, to look up.

About the Guest Author:

Ashley is a pastor’s wife, mama to two, writer, and worship leader. She is passionate about encouraging mamas to be deeply rooted in Christ and abounding in thanksgiving for the glory of God alone.

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