Which Mother are You?

A woman sat by a hearthside place

Reading a book, with a pleasant face,

Till a child came up, with a childish frown,

And pushed the book saying, “Put it down.”

Then the mother, slapping his curly head,

Said, troublesome child, go off to bed;

A great deal of Christ’s life I must know

To train you up as a child should go.”

And the child went off to bed to cry,

And renounce religion—by and by.


Another woman bent over a book

With a smile of joy and an intent look,

Till a child came up and jogged her knee,

And said of the book, “Put it down—take me.”

Then the mother sighed as she stroked his head,

Saying softly, “I never shall get it read;

But I’ll try by loving to learn His will,

And His love into my child instill.”

That child went to bed without a sigh,

And will live religion—by and by.


--Selected from Soul Sculpture


When I had a house full of little children, none of which could tie their own shoes, I savored the quiet night time hours when I could curl up with my Bible and read to my heart’s content while they snoozed safely in bed. Those hours fueled me to make it another day. They filled me with instruction, hope and comfort as I stretched into the ever growing roll of full-time mommy. 


One particular night stands out in my mind, and I don’t know if this particular little one remembers it like I do, but I was especially weary. I NEEDED MY TIME. I curled up in my big chair, with Bible, pen, spiral and hot tea at my fingertips when ‘round the corner shuffled a sleepless child in footy pajamas. 


“Will you read me a story? I can’t sleep.”


With a smile and a nod, I made my lap free and battled these thoughts,


Didn’t I just read you FIVE an hour ago? Can’t I have ONE section of the day to call my own? Lord, SERIOUSLY?




But I said…


“Sure sweetie, what will it be?” And we cuddled and laughed and read until my eyes crossed. 


My Bible didn’t get read that night, but I knew I made the right choice.


It is by God’s grace alone that that was my response. He was teaching me once again, to slay my will--to trust Him. He has good plans for His children.


I know I could have turned my son’s heart sad and cold that night and given him a mysterious hatred for God’s Word. But God in His goodness showed me how to capture an important moment. He is enough. When I found the above poem, I realized that even in these small moments, “There is no temptation but that which is common to man, but God is faithful.”


Ponder the poem and cuddle with a child every chance you get.