Monthly Archives: March 2015

Twelve years…

Today I am feeling all the feelings.

It’s Emma’s birthday today.  She is 12 years old.

I’m not really sure how that happened.  😉

Sometimes the day this photo was taken – the first day I wore the name “mom” and held this new little soul in my arms – seems like a lifetime ago. But sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. Time is funny like that. All these moments, one after the other…and before you know it, you’re looking back at a lifetime that feels like just a breath.

Because somehow, it’s been 12 years.

TWELVE.

Twelve years of days lie between those two photos. Twelve years of good days and hard days and days I didn’t think I would make it….days full of joy and laughter, tears and exhaustion, challenges and uncertainty, smiles and adventures…twelve years of days full of moments and memories I honestly wouldn’t trade for anything.

It’s been twelve years full of gifts. Twelve years full of grace.

I haven’t been perfect at this mom thing. Not by a long shot. Motherhood is so much harder, and more wonderful, than I had ever expected it to be. I had no idea what I was getting into when they put her in my arms for the first time. No. Idea. I have fumbled and stumbled my way through this thing…and this “tween” stage is stretching me and challenging me more than ever. There are so many days I feel so inadequate to do this great thing of growing another human, of leading this other soul through this crazy broken world.

Because I’m so broken myself. I’m so banged up and bruised up and messed up.

But I just keep leaning hard into Jesus…I just keep trusting His grace to fill in the gaps.

And somehow we’ve survived twelve years.

And with Jesus, we’ll make it twelve more. (Only by then, she could very well have a little one of her own…but oh my word, I can’t even begin to go there! At this point, we just gotta survive middle school 😉 )

But I know that day will be here before I know it…the days seem to be moving faster, the weeks are flying by.  Which is why I am more passionate than ever about making the most of every moment I can…seizing every opportunity to intentionally invest in our family and in our girls.  Because even though one single moment may not seem like much…it all adds up. One little conversation, one little family night, one little prayer before bedtime, one little heart-to-heart talk, one little snuggle or cuddle, one little game, one little devotion, one little act of kindness, one little hug, one little word of encouragement…one little moment by itself may not seem to make much of an impact…but together? Day after day, year after year? Each moment is like a little drop of water. One drop may not make much of a difference…but drop after drop after drop, over time…all together, those drops add up and become a raging river.  All those moments we have with our children have the potential to become a river of influence in their lives.

Even the moments when we mess up. Even the drops that are tainted and colored by our mistakes and our sin…those drops add to the influence too. I don’t know about you, but I am so not perfect. I don’t have it all together. Not every drop of influence I give my children is good. Sometimes they see me mess up, they see me fall apart, they see me fail. But I wonder if these moments – the not-so-pinterest-perfect-moments – may possibly have an even greater impact on them than all the “good” I do…because humbling myself and asking forgiveness, being forgiven and still being secure in God’s love for me, leaning into Him and trusting Him even in my brokenness, and finding joy and comfort in His grace…that’s a powerful thing for my children to see.

Our moments matter. What we do with our moments, what we do with our days…how we forgive and how we love and how we talk and how we act…it all matters…it is all making an impact, it is all adding up. The good, the bad, and the ugly…all weaving together into a beautiful tapestry that tells our children the story of God’s love and grace and redemption.

So today, on my “mom-iversary”, as we celebrate this sweet, precious, beautiful soul that is my Emma girl, I am recommitting myself to parent intentionally. Even though the days may be exhausting and the challenges are changing and I still don’t know what I’m doing half the time, now as much as ever my daughters need a mom who is leaning hard into Jesus and who is consistently and intentionally adding drops of influence into their lives, who is modeling for them what it is like to live for Jesus, and who is present with them in this moment (not afraid of the future or regretting the past, but fully here right now), finding joy in the middle of the crazy and grace in the middle of it all.  Because this life? It really is just a breath. A precious, fleeting breath. And I want my breath to breathe life and love and joy and grace into the lives of the people God has given me, for as long as He lets me have them.

morning fog

One step at a time

We went hiking this past weekend with my sister and her family.  They live near Chattanooga, Tennessee and have some of the most beautiful places to hike all around them.  I love to explore new places when we go there to visit.  Plus, it’s just a great way to spend time together! 😉

This weekend we went to a place called Lula Lake. It was a beautiful day…the perfect kind of day to get outside and explore a little.  And when they said this place had a big waterfall…well, I was sold. 😉

We’ve been hiking as a family for about three years now…and the thing I’ve noticed about all of our hiking adventures is that they always require a bit of effort. Often they require some sort of climbing, some amount of sweat, some extra amount of energy.  But there’s really no way around it…you can’t just drive your car to these places to see these great sights…you have to put in the effort, you have to put feet to the path and take one step after another.

But it’s worth it.  It’s always worth it.

This weekend, we basically climbed a mountain.  We climbed deep into the valley to the very base of this big beautiful waterfall…then we had to climb back up, and then up some more to get to the very top, to the peak, where we could see the incredible view from the bluff.

It wasn’t the hardest hike we’ve ever done.  But it wasn’t the easiest either.

About halfway back up after going all the way down to the waterfall, Emma had had enough.  She was tired. The climb was a bit more than she had expected, a bit harder than she wanted.  So she planted her feet and said, “I can’t do it.  I won’t do it. I’m not climbing anymore.”

I tried to encourage her. I knew the top was not very far away…I knew she could do it…she’s done harder climbs before.  But she didn’t believe me.  “No. I can’t. And I won’t.”

Well, she and I both knew that not moving was not an option.  She had to keep going. I knew that. Deep down, she knew that – but at that moment, all she could see was the enormous task ahead of her – and it was too big, too much. So she just stopped.

It took a bit of prodding, and some encouragement from her Aunt Joy, and eventually Emma started moving again.  One step at a time.  Sometimes slowly.  But eventually….we made it!  She did it.  That thing she thought was too hard and too big…she did it!

Inevitably on most of our hikes, there is at least one of us who hits a point where going on just seems to hard.  They want to quit.  They don’t want to go on.  The task ahead seems too large. The distance left ahead seems like too much.  They don’t think they can do it all, so they don’t do anything at all. They just stop.

Sometimes the enormity of what lies ahead overshadows the small task right in front of us – just one small step.

Just take one step.

This journey that God has mapped out for me is quite the adventure. Deep valleys, high mountains, difficult climbs, amazing views.

But how often do I plant my feet in the ground and refuse to go on?  How often do I grumble and complain about the path?  How often do I get overwhelmed by the climb I see ahead of me instead of just focusing on the next step right in front of me?  Whether I’m tired or scared or hurting or overwhelmed, how often do I say “I can’t do it, I won’t do it,” and refuse to take even one step because the whole big thing just seems impossible?  How often do I miss the beauty all around me because I’m too busy worrying about all the things I can’t see or don’t know or don’t like about this path?

How often do I miss the joy of the journey because I don’t trust my Guide?

My dad used to have this old saying that he would repeat to us over and over and over as we were growing up.  I think it’s an old Chinese proverb or something, but I heard it so many times, it is forever engrained in my head.  It got to be kind of annoying back then…but I can now appreciate the wisdom in these words:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The journey ahead may seem long – too long.  The mountain in front of you may seem insurmountable.  The steps may be steep and the climb may be hard.  But don’t let the enormity of the journey overwhelm you – don’t stop.  You may not be able to do everything right now – but you can do one thing.  You may not be able to climb the whole mountain today, or even this year – but you can take just one step.  Then take just one more.

And then…just take one step more.

Because every great journey is taken one step at a time.

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Pssst…I’ve made a little printable of this quote, with three color options, just for you. 😉 Simply click the color you would like to print and it will take you to the PDF file which you can then save and print 🙂  Enjoy!!



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