Tiny Dancers

Dance and twirl little girl.  Oh, it is so sweet to see them mimic the moves of their teacher.  Wearing their tutus and their leotards and their tiny ballet flats creates a memory that I hope always stays strong.

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Mila pranced in with no fear and no inhibitions.  Little girls scattered throughout the room were tearing up and calling for their mommy.  Mila walked right in and stood in the center of the room to look at herself in the mirror.  I wonder everyday who she is going to grow into.  She is my question mark.  She is my stubborn soul who wants to resist and give in at the same time.  In this moment, she likes dance so we will run with it hoping that tomorrow she decides to continue to like it still.

Kenley walked towards the door and turned to ask me to follow.  She loves the attention that comes with being the dramatic one, but my heart knows that she doesn’t need me already in so many ways that I wish she did.  Part of me is proud that she walks with confidence that I still can’t find at the age of 32.  The other part of me longs for the baby that stayed so close to mommy before crawling was a part of her world.  Since the day she started crawling, she has pulled further and further away attempting to find where she fits.  She loves people, and she pushes me constantly to be the her social butterfly sidekick which the introvert in me finds completely difficult.  I am able to suck it up for her, because her happiness is worth my discomfort.  I realize that moms everywhere learn this very quickly.

Does it matter that they love dance?  Not really.  Does it matter if they are good at it?  No.  Does it matter if one day they look at me and say dance is not their thing? Not at all.  It does matter that they get to explore a new world, because dance has never been a world I belonged to unless liquid encouragement was involved.  Exploring worlds that are unfamiliar bring the greatest joys and fulfilling challenges.  That is what matters, and that is why my heart flutters when they spin in their tutus.  They find beauty in this world, and I find beauty in them. ❤

 

I’m Gonna Love You Like I’m Gonna Lose You

It’s extremely cheesy (I’m talking mozzarella) to post the lyrics to a song.  I feel like I’m writing a letter to a crush or posting on myspace.  However, every single time I hear the song below, it blows my mind all over again.  Jenn Freeland aka Freefree aka my bff (is this myspace?) introduced me to the song because of my love for all things Meghan Trainor.  What a beautiful song.  What a beautiful message.  And the mind blowing part is the way the song covers all relationships, not just the lover relationship.  I held my daughter close today as we danced to this song.  She wants me to dip her repeatedly, and I find myself complying because it’s true: we’re not promised tomorrow.  And if my tomorrow doesn’t come, I want my girls to know that I took the time to dip them back romantically as we swayed to a slow song in the doorway.  I want them to remember the Spanish accent of my version of Skippyjon Jones as we read it aloud.  I want them to hold on to the songs we sing at night, even if it’s Christmas carols in the middle of August or silly versions of me forgetting the lyrics of Are You Sleeping.  I want them to know how fiercely they are loved yesterday, today, and every day moving forward whether I am beside them whispering it in their ear or watching them from afar.  They are loved passionately with respect and admiration and sheer astonishment because they are precious.  I will love them everyday as if it is my last opportunity.  I will discipline and educate them too, because real love allows for those moments as well.  But above all things, I will love.

I found myself dreaming
In silver and gold
Like a scene from a movie
That every broken heart knows we were walking on moonlight
And you pulled me close
Split second and you disappeared and then I was all alone

I woke up in tears
With you by my side
A breath of relief
And I realized
No, we’re not promised tomorrow

So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna hold you
Like I’m saying goodbye wherever we’re standing
I won’t take you for granted ’cause we’ll never know when
When we’ll run out of time so I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you

In the blink of an eye
Just a whisper of smoke
You could lose everything
The truth is you never know so I’ll kiss you longer baby
Any chance that I get
I’ll make the most of the minutes and love with no regrets

Let’s take our time
To say what we want
Use what we got
Before it’s all gone
‘Cause no, we’re not promised tomorrow

So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna hold you
Like I’m saying goodbye wherever we’re standing
I won’t take you for granted ’cause we’ll never know when
When we’ll run out of time so I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you

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Ways That I Need You…

-A daily checkin, even if it’s to say nothing.  The daily hello and goodbye are a well established norm.

-Going to the grocery store.  There are always moments when I find myself staring at the shelves of endless food and I can’t for the life of me remember what ingredient I needed so badly to make that dish that I learned from you.

-Speaking of dishes, your macaroni salad.  Your slaw.  Your chicken pot pie.  Your salisbury steaks.  Your salad.  Your regular,  normal salad that includes nothing but lettuce and green pepper and onion-even if Dwight doesn’t like it.  No matter how hard I try, it will never taste the same as yours.  I will keep trying, but I will always look forward to eating your food more than I will ever look forward to eating my own.

-Updates on my babies.  Your grandbabies.  Believe it or not, not everyone wants to hang on to my every word about my two girls, but you do.  You always listen to their stories, their questions, their tales of their day, their silly laughs, and their songs.  You are enthralled with their dance moves, their play habits, and their little traits that make them so unique.  You notice them, you love them, and you love every story that I share.

-Your lessons and lectures.  At some point in a past life, you were a preacher, and a good one.  You have words that are profound, words that I, of course, shrug off right now, but words that always hold meaning in some way.  You know what you are talking about.  You know life.  The problem is, I think I know it too, so my “knowledge” is often what I go with but in the end, it’s your wisdom that wins.  You are right.  You are always right, and it may not click right away, but it will at some point.

-Your stories.  I remember sitting at the dinner table asking “Will you tell me a story?”  I didn’t care which one, but I remember always wanting to hear about you.  Imagining you as a child my age put me in awe.  You would respond by asking “What kind of story?”  I would tell you “One when you were little.  Tell me about…” and then it would begin.  Remembering on the spot was difficult for you, as it would be for anyone, but you tried to indulge me in anyway that you could.

-All of the memories.  You hold the parts of our past.  The Christmas when you told the story about Granny and Grandpa, a story I had never heard before, was my favorite Christmas.  What a love story.  What a beautiful way that God worked to bring two gentle, intelligent, hardworking, and loyal people together.  I can’t tell the story the way you did, and I have tried.  My words get caught in my throat because the meaning of the story hits me so deep in my heart that I can’t get it out.  You hold those profound memories that I love to hear about and learn from.

-Your love of music.  Do you want to know what I listen to at work when I am stressed or when I need to focus?  Do you want to know what I listen to when I jog?  Do you want to know what I listen to when I’m cooking dinner and the girls are coloring with me in the kitchen?  50’s and 60’s blues.  Do you want to know where I heard this music first?  From you.  We would sing the words or we would watch the movies with the songs that I now know by heart.  I like the catchy tunes of today as well, but my heart belongs in the 50’s and 60’s.  What did I ask for when I turned 16 years old?  The greatest hits CD of Elvis.  Classic.

-Respect.  It was three in the morning after I closed one night at Blockbuster before cell phones were a necessity.  My coworkers and I were chatting in the parking lot and I had no idea that it was that late.  You were there to remind me.  You rode up in the parking lot and all it took was that one look, and I knew I was in for it.  My coworkers knew it as well, but it never happened again, did it?  You’ve always modeled and expected a level of respect that my brothers and I have always tried to abide by and follow.  I think we did a pretty good job, and you were never hesitant to provide those necessary reminders.

-Listening.  You created an emotional human being.  Slightly dramatic as well.  My calls to you are more frequent than I would like depicting the latest drama, but you always take the time to listen.  You never judge.  You just listen.  You offer your thoughts and you always emphasize your support, and I am immediately at home and comforted in your shade.  You offer the retreat, and I always find solace in you.

-Side seat driving.  I know to look to the left.  I know to look to the right.  I have had a license for 15 years now with only one wreck (the deer hit me!) and one ticket, and still you always point out important facts that are obvious to all passengers…including the driver.

-Endless worrying.  You’ll never stop, will you?  And I finally understand.  My heart catches in my throat almost everyday when the phone rings and my children are not with me.  My heart tightens when I drop them off at daycare, and a bump on the head sends me in a tizzy.  I will forever worry about the microscopic things that occur everyday just like you.  Just. Like. You.  The positive is that I will always have someone worrying about me too.  Thinking about me.  Asking me about my day, my meeting, my children, my life.  Your endless worrying helps me plan for yard sales, because you’re right, it might rain.  At times, the worrying is very predictable and those around you poke fun at your expense.  However, it’s always nice to know that you are thought about.  That I am thought about.  And I promise I won’t stand too close to the rail on a cruise ship.

-Long Island Iced Tea.  You taught me the love for my signature drink.  If a LIT is ordered, it’s been a long day.  And every time, it takes me back to moments with you because I know it’s your signature as well.  And it’s both of our go to’s when our day has been too long.

-The love of reading.  I remember dad reading to me at night, but I also remember you with a book in hand in between the endless chores that you took on during my childhood.  I remember a book seemed to go with you and with Granny throughout the house because you never knew when you might get a moment in between three children, cooking, cleaning, taxi driving, a full time job, and dad.  I hope my girls see me doing the same.  I try to read to them as often as I can because I desperately want them to love reading as much as I do.  This was a love you helped to cultivate, and it has taught me so many things.

-The important things.  Yes, grades were important but I was never pushed to the point that I felt inadequate if I didn’t bring home an A as long as I was respectful to the teachers and doing my best.  Sports were also important, but it was okay if I didn’t start or if I wasn’t the captain as long as I tried.  Friends were important, and it was important to know their parents and their family if sleepovers or parties were going to happen.  Presents were fun at holidays, but the important part was being with family.  Church, while we were frequently late or even absent altogether, was upheld, valued, and important to the point that if we missed some Sundays, we would read the scripture together at the house.  Weekends were fun to celebrate, but it was important to clean the house first in order to truly relax (I still struggle with this).  And Sundays.  Sundays at Granny’s with Bill and Leah’s hotdogs and hamburgers (with extra pickles) sitting in the TV room with the TV off.  That was important.  That is what I remember as important.  Many things were valued, but it was very clear what was most important in the end.

-An imagination.  My goodness, what an active one I had as a child.  Even at times when it appeared morbid by writing stories where someone always died, my imagination was always encouraged.  Building forts with my blankets and my barbies in the woods–actually, you probably didn’t know I did that because there are snakes and ticks in the woods and my blankets would get dirty!  Reading books, playing pretend with my barbies and ponies, running in the yard pretending the puppies were my children, loving on cat after cat…after cat after cat after cat after cat.  My imagination soared with your help.

-Sweet tea.  My brothers and I will more than likely always have fresh sweet tea in the fridge because of you.

I Knew You for Facebook and Blog

There are many ways that I need you.  There are many things that I am thankful for because of you.  There are so many things you have taught me, and for those reasons, I will always need you.  This has been on my heart and my mind lately, and I don’t think you realize how often I think of you or how important you are to me.  Of course you know on some level.  You are my mom.  You will always and forever be one of the most important people in my life.  You are the person who has taught me to love, forgive, grow, keep going, reflect, instruct, respond, learn, read, write, speak, connect, observe, value, comply, overlook, pray, walk away, defend, relax, compliment, laugh, cry, greet, and mourn.  There are so many things I still need to learn from you.  There are so many things that I need to call you for.  The phone calls in the middle of a grocery aisle hold more meaning to me than you will ever realize, and it’s such an amazing comfort to know that you are always there with an answer to all of my questions.

Thank you.  Thank you for always being there.  Thank you for being the perfect example of a mother.  Thank you for teaching me valuable lessons that I am still learning from today.  Thank you for the reasons above and so many more left unsaid.  There are many ways that I need you.  God gave me the most incredible gift by giving me you as a mom.

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The First Day of School

Oh, be still my heart, they are ready to go to school.  When did this happen?  How did that creature time lurk in the shadows and pull those baby years away so fast that now my little girls are proudly walking to the car with their lunchbox in tow beyond excited about their first day of “school”?  Okay, it’s only preschool, but it seems so momentous for them.  No one can convince them that this day does not define their adulthood in their sweet eyes.

So much energy was spent preparing them, talking to them, reminding them, teaching them, and getting them ready for their first day.  Now, the day is here, and they look so sweet.  They match in their pink dresses with blue flowers, and their smiles reflect the excitement on each others face as they giggle.  They hold hands, and they walk confidently, not missing a step, toward their future.  They wave at new soon to be friends, they smile big in their first day of school picture, and they proudly place their lunchbox on the proper table.  They almost lead me up the stairs, and I struggle to hold their hands as they pull me forward.

Door one brings us to Mila’s door.  She smiles and waves and sits to take off her shoes.  She is at home.  My heart is happy.  Her lovey is handed to her teacher, and sissy and I stand to go.  She tries to follow, and my heart breaks a little because I know her two year old self doesn’t fully understand that today is her first full day without her best friend, her sister, who has always been nearby.  Sissy and I lean down and hug and kiss our sweet Mila.  She loves on us in return and turns to play blocks.  She’s fine.  I think I’m fine.  Sissy is definitely fine because she is leading me toward her door.

We walk to Kenley’s room which is two doors down and she walks in.  She immediately starts pulling at nearby toys, and I patiently prompt her to wait.  She, as patiently as she could, listens.  When her teacher comes to her, Kenley responds to her questions excitedly, ready to play, and ready to be a big girl.  Her lovey is put away, and signatures are provided by mom.  At next glance, Kenley is playing.  She’s fine.  I think I’m fine.  I give her a quick hug.  I walk away.  My heart breaks a little.

They’re fine.  I knew this day would come.  I know they will have fun, and they are in good hands.  I think I’m fine.  My mind is reeling with what if’s and did I forget’s and maybe I should call’s.  Of course after leaving I returned to remind Kenley’s teacher of information she already knew and recited for me.  Of course I called my mom and cried.  Of course I called my best friend and woke her up at 8am only to list my worries.  Of course I called my husband to give the breakdown of the morning.  Of course I called to check on both of them during the day.  Of course I talked about them all day to anyone who would listen.  Of course I looked at their picture taken this morning at least a dozen times.  Of course I raced over as quickly as I possibly could at the end of the day to rescue them…and they were fine.  Instead, they rescued me.  They were playing.  They were happy.  They were learning.  They were still excited, and they were happy to see each other.  They rescued me from my worry and from my fears.  My little girls were okay, and there was nothing to worry over.  The first day came and went…just like that.

Oh, moms everywhere, this business is hard, isn’t it?  By far, this is the most difficult job I have ever been called to do.  Relentess worrying for naught.  Long evenings and mornings.  Energy that will never be recovered both at work and at home (still work).  Even when out of sight, the pull of the heart is constant.  This is preschool moms, and it’s harder for you than it is for them.  But I know one thing…I will never be ready for college.

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Time

Time is a funny thing.  It’s elusive and something we can’t hold onto but it is, without a doubt, the most valuable thing in the history of the world.  As a parent, I’ve noticed the intricacies of this concept of time more than I’ve ever noticed before.

As a first time parent, I realized that time can be sooo…. sloooooow…..

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was beyond excited to share the news with everyone around me only to be told wait.  Give it 12 weeks.  Then share.  That is excruciating, and we did the best we could.  I found myself rubbing my belly that had yet to form.  Initially, it looked like an overstuffed pillowcase or perhaps I’d eaten one too many hamburgers, but I could not wait for the swollen roundness that would come soon enough.  I rubbed and I rubbed, and my husband laughed and laughed.  I proudly pulled up my shirt in front of mirrors and pushed my stomach out to find that swollen look I wanted so badly.  It seemed to take forever, and again, another example of time dragging along.

Then the last two months (okay, three) arrived.  The pooch was definitely there (more like the watermelon).  And time was even slower.  Excitement to meet the baby and readiness to get back to the body I used to have (and never would again) were apparent, and time laughed at my expense by crawling on.  It did not rush by, those moments of swollen feet, heavy breathing, too tight clothes that were just purchased, bending over only to strain to get back up, and never ending trips to the bathroom.  It did not rush at all.  In fact, it went about as fast as I was able to waddle around.

And if there is ever any doubt of how slow time can be, ask the woman in labor.  I have less to complain about than others, given that my pushing lasted a solid 20 minutes for my first and 40 minutes for my second, but time crept it’s way through the hospital room as each contraction was felt and each push was demanded.  Time took forever for me to hear that sweet sound that I had waited nine whole months to hear, and that sweet gurgly cry was so worth the wait.  Time crept by as I waited to see this new human that I had felt kick and stretch and hiccup and cartwheel around.  Time inched by as I waited to get bandaged up in order to hold, nurse, and love on this new gift that I didn’t realize I would love so much.  And so quickly (ironically), all the moments before that cry disappeared and I didn’t remember the pain or the hurt or anything in fact before that moment, as cliche as it may sound.

Time continued to creep by slowly afterward too.  Long nights of figuring out routines made for slow moments in time.  Endless rocking, bouncing, singing, shushing, and giving up only to bring her into my bed…those were slow moments indeed.  Along with days where the baby was not to be satisfied and mom was fit to be tied, time seemed to drag along at a snails pace.  First night in the crib, first night without paci, and pottytraining were all moments of time taking it’s sweet time to pass in order for us to come out on the other side okay.  Stroller days and diaper bag days seemed to last forever when the rushed working mom longed to be able to fly out the door in order to make the doctor appointment, the work meeting, the family social, church, or any event ever on time, but alas, the days dragged on.  Oh, and long trips!  They took forever too, and still do, given the “Are we there yet”, ‘I’m hungry”, “I have to potty”, and “Sssshh sissy!” groans that still exist, making a four hour GPSed trip to the beach or mountains last over six hours in reality.  Talk about seconds that feel like minutes!  Never had I ever realized the capability of time to go so slowly than in those moments.

Time can definitely be slow.  But as a first time parent, I’ve also realized how truly fast time can go and I want nothing more than to stomp the brakes and make it stop just to hold on to the moments that I know I will never get back.

Nine months feels like a long time when you say it aloud.  Nine months feels like a long time in the process, but in retrospect, nine months is a drop in the bucket when preparing for the biggest change that would impact the rest of our lives.  Nine months flew by, full of baby showers, decorating, shopping, sleeping, waddling, and planning on top of planning for all the things to come that were new and exciting.  Those nine months were packed full of appointment after appointment, researching, eating (truly the best part), and loving all of the newness that was surrounding us.  Oh, those nine months may’ve felt like forever, but they are gone, and those days flew past, almost giving us whiplash as we were pushed forward through the vacuum of life.

From the water breaking to baby’s arrival, time sped along, making everything on those days a whirlwind.  To relive every moment would be an ultimate dream.  It’s so hard to concentrate on the changes around you and all of the happenings that are occurring when you are driven by contractions and pain, but for me, the time on those days went faster than I’ve ever experienced before.  Suddenly, baby is here.  SHE is here.  A panic of “Now what” was uttered after my first, with a thankful sigh of relief after my second.  Time, in it’s fastness, carried on, making those moments a memory to cherish.

And as I watch my baby girls grow and learn and develop, I realize the ultimate speed of time.  I’m holding the baby, holding her for so long that my arms are numb and aching and sore and I can’t get comfortable to sleep, but now she’s crawling.  I’m so proud of her for learning this new trick and I’m cheering for her, and smiling at her, and then I realize she’s walking.  At the same time, I’m nursing her, and I’m pumping, and I’m stopping at any point in the day during our trips and errands and appointments and life to make sure she’s fed, and now she’s eating solids.  Meanwhile I’m diapering her, and I’m making sure she’s dry and clean and changed as soon as I’m aware, and then she’s potty trained.  I’m also changing her clothes, helping her with her onesies, her dresses, her shirts, her pants, and her shoes, and then she uses the words “I do Mommy.  I do”.  Time whipped by so fast that I don’t remember teaching her to talk.  I know I did.  I know time and effort were put into this skill as well, but by the time I snapped my fingers, she was uttering two to three word phrases.  Assertive phrases, too.

She sleeps on her own.  She outgrew her paci.  She feeds herself.  She dresses herself.  She turns on the TV in the morning by herself.  She goes to the potty herself.  She colors by herself.  Some books she can read to herself.  She can count and name letters by herself.  She goes down the slide by herself.  She waves at strangers by herself.  She listens and responds to others by herself.  She apologizes after timeout (with a little coaching) by herself.  And time keeps going by so fast.  Time flies and before I realize the moments I’m saying goodbye to, they are gone.  My last night of rocking my girls to sleep came and went without realization, and my arms that used to ache from holding their weight now ache to pull them back to me so that I can rock and rock and rock them through the night.  That moment, and all of the other moments are gone, and they will never be relived except through blogging and moments of nostalgia.  The baby-ness of my forever babies is fully gone.  My toddlers are taking over now, and this stage is interesting.  It’s fun and full of those fast and slow moments that consumed the baby years.

Becoming a parent has allowed me to see time with a different perspective.  Never before has time had the potential to be so fast and so slow all at once.  Each stage is precious, and I look forward to each one because I know there are many memories that are waiting for us.  It hit me tonight as I kissed and hugged my two girls as they ventured out on their first overnight away from home that time is tricky and sly.  Right when you think it’s going slow, it speeds past the bystanders without their knowledge of it.  So many moments are made into memories so quickly.  Treasuring each one is difficult, especially during the stages of timeouts and tantrums, but how sweet those moments are when arms wrap around your neck and the kisses fall on your face.  Despite how fast or slow time decides to go, there will always be some things that never change.

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Weightless

Do you feel that?  The weight of the world?  Do you feel the force pushing against your shoulders, making it difficult to stand up?  Do you feel the burden grow heavier with each hour that passes by?  Do you feel the magnetic force that your body seems to exude pulling stress to you so rapidly and you can’t escape it?

Lately, the weight seems unbearable.  Personally, I’ve been stuck in a world throughout this last year of learning a new job while continuing to try to fulfill the wife and mom and daughter and friend and sister roles that surround me.  It’s overwhelming.  It’s overwhelming when also trying to answer endless questions throughout the day and realizing that as soon as I check an item off of my to-do list, three more items are quickly added, professionally and personally.  The weight gets even heavier when tragedies surface.  Tragedies out of my control and unanticipated allow me to feel the weight all over again right at the time that I thought everything just became manageable.

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http://myblessedlife.net/2012/03/when-youre-overwhelmed.html

Do you see that?

Even in the depths of despair and those moments of anxiety when the weight of world forces me to the ground, I can still see the good.  I can look up and see the promise of a rainbow or I can see the light showing me that the sun will continue to shine despite the clouds that strain to hide it’s glory.  Even with the weight of the burdens grinding against my bones, I can still see the smiles and the comfort of the people who have been placed in my life to lift me up.  I can see the hands of the people who are offering their support to help me stand, even when the weight of stress overpowers me to the point that it’s hard to feel anything other than lost.  People have been placed in my life to be that support system, extending their hand to me much like the hand that God extends after kneeling down to pray.  Once the stress and the burdens and the heartache and the frustration are laid out and acknowledged, His hand is instantaneously extended.  I can see His hand, and I can see His intention of pulling me through the storm to the other side of the struggle where the weight isn’t heavy anymore.  Giving it to Him allows the weight to become weightless, and it allows me to see the reason for the rain which is to always make me more grateful and appreciative of the flowers that bloom because of it.

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Do you hear that?

It’s Him.  I hear Him through the loudness of the world.  I can hear Him in spite of the social media and the reality television and the buzz of the texts and the music from the radio.  I can hear Him despite all of the distractions that surround us, including the frustrations of the day.  Everyday, He can be heard, because everyday He talks to me.  I am His child.   I am important to Him.  When I cry, He hurts.  When I stress, He watches closely.  When I feel pressure, He stands beside me.  When I fall down, He offers the hand and the strength for me to stand up again.  His message and His purpose surround me everyday, and give me renewed purpose to look at the moments in my life.  So much of my energy and my emotions and my efforts are placed into the negative and trying to make the bad better.  So little of my energy is placed into appreciating the day or enjoying the opportunities to share His love or offering a smile in response to those who try to make my days better regardless of the people who frown. It is so hard to hear Him, and it is extremely difficult to be quieted in moments of desperation, especially when the world feels as if it is closing in.

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The thing is, I want to be more spiritual.  I want to feel His presence during my day.  I want to invest time into His word in order to understand Him better.  I want to feel, hear, and see God in the things I do and in the world that surrounds me.  It is so easy to succumb to the world of selfishness, seeking ways to gratify my own needs or wants without considering the impact of those desires on other people.  It is easy to think of how everything is happening to me and only me, and it’s easy to ignore the signs that are placed in my life on a daily basis.  He tries to communicate with me in order to show me how to let Him live through me, but the light of the sun peeking through the clouds is easily overlooked when the clouds darken with the sky.  The flowers that bloom are not considered when the rain is pouring down.  But afterwards, it’s clear.  It’s obvious.  It’s inspiring, and it’s natural.  It’s consistent.  His light, His voice, His presence is consistent.  I just need to look for him more intentionally and open my heart to the possibilities of what He can do for me, for my life, for my family, and for my future.

Lately, as I stated earlier, it has become extremely difficult through stress, through tragedy, through lack of communication, through never ending to-do lists, through social media bombardment to really feel, or see, or hear the purpose of my day, let alone my life.  The big picture becomes distorted when the focus is placed on all of the tiny details.  By the time my heads hits the pillow, my mind is still racing of the projects left undone and words left unsaid and moments unacknowledged…then I start to feel the weight all over again. I’m ready to look for His hand instead.  I’m ready to listen for His voice.  And I am ready to let Him help me stand instead of feeling as if I need to do it on my own.  I am going to intentionally think of His purpose and my purpose, remembering that they are the same.  That’s how the weight will disappear, and I am ready to feel weightless.

It happened today…

Everyone said to wait for it.  The terrible two’s would bring it.  I grinned inwardly when my oldest hit the age of three, thinking “Well, that wasn’t so bad”.  I even patted myself on the back, congratulating the accomplishment of meeting a milestone, assuming we were out of the woods.

And then there was today…

It is hard to pull it together in the face of a yelling, screaming, kicking tantrum in the presence of other adults.  Even if the adults are familiar and understanding, a raw chord is struck deep inside that is hard to ignore.  It’s even more difficult when the moment is unanticipated, as they often are, which causes me, the parent, to scramble in order to find an appropriate reaction that provides discipline, firmness, and love all at once.  Then, when the first reaction isn’t effective, the frustration builds, which only ends with more disappointment, both in the child and in the parent.

And in the end, there are tears on both accounts.  One set of tears are shed openly, trying to find understanding and acceptance.  The other tears are mine.  Those are tears of shame and guilt because for a minute, my heart feels that the devil scratched the surface of my soul because my words could’ve been more kind.  My touch could’ve been more gentle.  My looks could’ve been more supportive.  My patience could’ve been more tolerant.

deu-6-6-web-watermarkedI am lucky.  Parents everywhere are lucky.  The hearts of small, innocent children easily forgive.  Their resiliency is an inspiring reflection of God’s grace.  Often (especially lately) I am personally seeking the beauty of grace in so many other disappointing avenues; but when I look into the heart of my daughter, I am met with the wonder of God and the beauty of forgiveness and unending grace.

What a unique makeup we have.  At one point, we all had the ability to wash sins away.  We had the ability to wash disappointment away.  At some point along the path of growing up, we develop the ability to harbor frustration, hold onto sin, and squeeze the neck of grief by not allowing our child-like and God-like hearts to forgive.  The heart of my sweet, innocent three year old girl forgave me within the next breath.  As tears slid from my eyes and I turned to hide my disappointment in myself, she had already washed my sins away.  Her hope and faith in me was already restored because her love for her mother was bigger than the disappointment on her mother’s face.  In the reflection of her eyes, I was able to see the path that God is pulling me toward, and that path is not to work harder at my job.  That path is not to get more sleep.  That path is not to have a clean house.  That path is not to participate in every recreational activity that is extended to me or my children.  That path is to my family.  That path is developing discipline in not only building my faith in God, but also in developing discipline to love my family and my neighbor the way that God intended.  The practice of love starts with God and flows into the family.  My heart, my words, my thoughts, and my actions should be a reflection of that love and discipline so that my daughters can understand an ounce of God’s love.  Because His love…?  It’s powerful and insurmountable to any portion of love we can humanly ever experience.  His love is the catalyst that catapults Christians to love one another and embrace one another, despite our faults and fears.  His love is inspiring and forgiving, and what’s most amazing is His love is most largely reflected in the eyes of my child.

So yes, it happened today.  My daughter tested the limits.  It was surprising and difficult and not my best moment.  It was challenging, and I didn’t walk away a winner.  But I know I walked away a mommy with a little girl who continues to love like God intended, and that allows me to experience forgiveness and new opportunities to get it right.  I know she is learning lessons through me and my actions, but more often than not I am finding wisdom in the whispers of her heart that teach me more than I could ever learn on my own.

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