When life leaves you tender

Sometimes life leaves me tender.

Like sunburned skin, pink and overreacting, those things that ordinarily wouldn’t bother me chafe and sting. Innocent insensitivity feels like a hearty slap on the back, and the day-to-day rough and tumble leaves me tender and smarting--weepy around the edges.

Searching for a source, I can list reasons, but they are small, really, in the grand scheme of life. They are only powerful because of their cumulative effect and timing:

Leaving the tiny one who rested in such utter confidence in my arms that she drooled a puddle. Remembering the endless expressions that fluttered across her sweet face and wondering, what makes a newborn poke out her lip in sorrow, then upend in a smile, like the Comedy and Tragedy masks of the thespians?

Receiving the answer to the request that sat long in my prayer journal—no. Not good enough. Thank you for your interest. We wish you much success.

Feeling the effects of too many short nights and long days. Just one more task before I rest, but there’s always one more.

Chafing, wedged between have-tos and want-tos, oiling the squeaky wheel while longing to paint the masterpiece.

And then kindness breaks in.

The frail little lady who steps back and opens first one door and then the next as she sees me struggling to balance a box of doughnuts and two cups of water. I should be opening the door for her, but instead I nod my grateful thanks and smile.

The memory of the middle-aged daughter and her tiny white-haired mother who eyed the covered car seat with bright eyes and hopeful smiles. “Ma’am, may we please see your baby?” they ask my daughter, and she, in proud new motherhood, lifts the blanket and shares a glimpse of heaven.

The gifts that continue to arrive—from my mom’s friends, she tells her husband when he asks about the unfamiliar names on the cards. “Mothers view their children as extensions of themselves,” Dr. Kevin Leman writes. “As you love them, so you also love their mother.” So much love.

The freshly-washed dishes and hastily-made bed. Neither matters much to my husband, but they do to me, so he scurries around in anticipation of my homecoming.

“Be kind to one another,” the Lord through the apostle Paul admonishes, “tenderhearted” (Eph. 4:32).

Most weepy-around-the-edges people hide it well. What if today we assume that everyone is a little fragile? And what if we choose to employ kindness as our default setting?

“The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love,” said William Wordsworth.

“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” says our Lord (Col. 3:12).

For a wonderful example of kindness, may I share this brief video with you? If you're reading by email, click here to watch.


Has kindness ever changed the course of your day? I’d love for you to share your story. Leave a comment below to encourage us all.

It was a treat to share words of encouragement with the hardworking homeschooling moms of CHEE (Christian Home Educators of Easley) last Saturday. We laughed about the sometimes crazy, sometimes challenging, always humbling lifestyle of the homeschooling mom. 

I shared the message "8 Mistakes I Made While Homeschooling" and laughed about the fact that if it had been a weekend conference, I could have talked on "100 Mistakes I Made While Homeschooling." 

"Trust me," I said, "I have plenty of material!"

Many thanks to CHEE coordinator Kristi Brooks for her kind invitation. 

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If you enjoyed this devotion, you'll love Lori's devotional book for homeschooling moms, Joy in the Journey.

With a devotional for every week of the school year, JITJ has application questions, an action step, and a prayer. It's suitable for your own devotional reading or for use by a support group for meeting ideas.

Don't start your school year without it!

For more information and to read what other homeschooling moms are saying about Joy in the Journey, click here. 

To order a paperback copy, click here.

To order the Kindle version for your smart phone, e-reader, or computer, click here.


  1. Lovely words and a timely reminder...Loved the Wordsworth quote. Blessings...Sheila at Longings End

  2. So well said. I'm glad I stopped over from A Little R & R :)

  3. This is such a great post Lori. I've had a tender week - and I love your thought about "what if we assume that today that everybody is just a little fragile?"

    Thanks for sharing your devotionals with us at Inspire Me Monday. You will be one of my featured guests at Create With Joy!

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