We all had the post holiday blues today. We didn't really want to dive back into school work. So, we made brownies and homemade pizzas and that made everything a little better.
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Tonight you went on a dinner date with just you and Daddy. You have such a beautiful bond with him. I am so grateful for all the time Daddy invests in our family. He has such a love for Jesus and he pours that into each one of you. We are blessed to have him leading our home.
Two sisters who are cut from the same cloth, woven together with such similar threads; yet each one beautifully unique. One is loud and one is quieter. One is a rule follower and one a rule breaker. One is reserved, while one is more outspoken. One is independent and one still seeks guidance.
Both loved abundantly and equally.
I've learned numerous lessons being their mother. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is not to compare. Honestly, this can be very hard at times. Like wanting your more reserved child, to step out and be a leader. Or asking your more boisterous child to be still and quiet. So often we have expectations of our children. Sometimes these expectations are based on what we see other children doing; how they are performing or behaving. It is so important, as parents, to remember that each child is completely unique. One may be capable and strong in areas that another may never be.
God gives us each our own individual strengths. We should each strive to learn how to utilize these gifts for His glory. I love the differences I see in each of our children. They remind me that He carefully created each of us in such a special way. It is fascinating to look at each person and see the beauty in their individuality. I want our children to know that I love each of them and that I want them to be nothing other than who they were created to be.
For Christmas our youngest daughter got a butterfly garden and a certificate to get live caterpillars in the mail. You can imagine her excitement when they finally arrived a few weeks ago. For days we watched them and often wondered if they were even alive. Then, all of the sudden, the transformation slowly began to take place. We watched them grow and then we watched as the chrysalides were formed. It was such an amazing sight. We waited patiently until one by one each butterfly emerged. It was truly something beautiful to see this full transformation complete. We were all fascinated; even at 39 years old, I was in awe.
Yesterday, the time came to release our 5 beauties. None of us wanted to let them go, but we knew it was time. They were ready to fly and explore the world around us.
As I thought about this experience, it made me think about my own experience as a mother to our three children. It’s can be so hard to give our children wings to fly. It’s hard to let them go; knowing they will make their own mistakes, and even get hurt. But, when we do, we give them the chance to see the world and its beauty. Likewise, the world gets the chance to see the beauty inside each of them.
We will continue to ask God to help us provide the foundation our children need to grow, but then it is our turn to trust Him and trust them to fly. I believe this is one of the greatest ways we can show them our love.
Today, we said goodbye to our beloved dog Buster. Fifteen years of memories flood my head and heart. Each of us feels broken as a part of us is gone.
I was looking through pictures from the last month and I kept coming back to this moment. Over and over. Not because it is the best picture or memory we have of him. I stop, because this was our ordinary, our mundane, our everyday. Him, by our side. Him, as part of our world. For fifteen years, he was there.
There are parts of our life that are so normal, so every day, that we forget to even notice them. We take them for granted, almost like the breath that comes from our lungs. And then one day we wake up and something has changed. The normal; whatever it was, is different. I don’t want to notice the beauty of the everyday only when it is gone. I want to embrace it and appreciate it. I want to see it. The everyday; the habitual, the predictable, is what makes our life a complete story. Life simply isn't made up of grand picturesque moments. I want these seemingly insignificant moments to be etched so deeply in my heart and eyes that I never forget them.
I am grateful for all of the years we had with Buster. I am thankful that his life was full of joy and good health until the very end; yet, I long to have him with our family again. I wake up each day and feel such a void. There is nothing to take away this hurt, but I find peace in knowing that he is now without pain. These images will serve as an important reminder to me. A reminder to slow down, to notice and be grateful for all of the beauty God gives us in each day.
I love to watch how our kids can find wonder in such simple moments in their days. I strive to live like this. I want to stop and be in awe daily of this world we live in. Life gets busy and some days I get so focused on the moments we are living that I lose sight of God’s glory and my part in His amazing story. Yet, our lives here on earth are so short. Whether we are given 4 or 94 years to live; they are so brief, in light of eternity.
Where do we each fit into His story? What do we do with the years we have here on earth? This is something I have been thinking about a lot. I met with 5 young women last night as we wrestled through this question. Each of us has dreams and visions that God has placed on our hearts, yet many of us fear others and what they think about us. Many of us are scared of failing. We are scared to move in obedience. And we seek affirmation, approval and love from the world. It is an internal fight so many of us face. But ultimately, it is a fight to love God the most.
And then this morning, I came across these words from Jennie Allen, “Our God is worth this fight. And if there is a sober, honest bone in your body you'll admit that this is a fight! It is a full-on war to love God more than any visible thing or person on this earth, even more than ourselves."
I pray we will all keep dreaming for Him.That we will boldly and bravely follow Him. That we will seek Him and His glory and our small part in His story. I pray we live our lives with the knowledge that His love and affection are far greater than anything we can create for ourselves.
And I pray that when I come to the end of my life I can say these words: “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” John 17:4.
I don’t ever want to stop living in awe of Him. I don’t want to stop seeking my part in His great story.
I love to get outside with our children and spend time exploring. No agenda set. Just time together. Recently, we spent some time at one of our favorite local spots. The kids spent hours exploring and imagining. They each had their own island in this fun world they created. I sat next to the water and listened and watched as they played together.
In a world that competes with electronics daily, I know without doubt that the real magic happens when everything is unplugged.
Head on over to the 5 minute project to see the rest of these images together. Josh Solar and I have collaborated using the word Explore; one of us in the warmth of Florida and the other in the cold of Kansas City.
With each New Year, we often begin to focus on how we can improve our lives. How can we be better versions of ourselves? We seek to lose weight, eat healthy, get out of debt, etc. This weekend I listened to a sermon that really got me thinking about New Year resolutions in a different way. The pastor, Andy Stanley, asked, "What breaks your heart? What needs to be done around you?" He continued; "if you really want to become a better person, do something to make the world a better place. Be a means to an end." He shared that “we tend to forget that the people we respect the most didn't devote their lives to becoming the best version of themselves. They devoted their lives to making a difference in the world . . . or in someone’s world.”
That one word was so profound to me. Oftentimes, we feel like the problems in the world are too big for us to make a difference. We wonder how our little bit of time, effort or finances will make a difference.
But, it starts with one person.
These words gave me such encouragement. First, they reconfirmed that my role as a mother to our children does make a difference. There are days, it is easy to lose sight or downplay the importance of this role, yet as parents we can make an eternal difference in the lives of our children. Second, I was encouraged to seek the people in my daily life that are in need; people I see in my neighborhood and community. Who is in need of a smile, an open ear, a genuine heart? Each of us can make a difference and make this world a better place.
We must ask this question daily.
How can I make a difference in the life of someone?
Who is that someone?
You got new sneakers for Christmas and have been determined to learn to tie them by yourself. This week you mastered it and you were super excited. My mama heart loved this moment for you.