How to Be Something for Your Husband Without Having to Be Everything

I scrubbed up the mud marks from the bathroom drawer, the one I had freshly painted the other day. How kids can take merging beauty and turn it upside down in one day baffles me, still.
Painting white over ugly brown wood is one of the most rewarding things—and though it’s hard work to renovate the old, it’s one of the most refreshing, fun things to do.
Just the other day, I had stood by while two men loaded up an old, free hutch into my dusty mini van. It barely fit, but there I was, eyeing some old piece ready to be coated with chalk paint before it would grace the first office I had ever had. I was nearly giddy with excitement over having a lovely piece for all those books I had been storing away for some years because the shelves were always full–and some books, well, they don’t go on the family book shelf!
My man walked by as I painted away. “Thank you for making our home a lovely place to be,” he commented.
We had just bought our first home, and I had a few moments to swipe the brush after a full day of gardening. The extra rooms turning into each of our offices was a bonus I hadn’t expected—and many nights I’d lay in bed scrolling Pinterest for inexpensive ideas on how to turn ugly into lovely.
But the son needed T-shirts today, and new shoes. “Part of the reason I have been growing my hair out is because I feel like it matches the clothes I have, Mama. I don’t have any T-shirts.”
I hit the road with this son of mine, the one who has an adult head on young shoulders, and loves hanging out with older, wise kids. His shoulders are getting broad, hunky. And he tells me of his deepest heart while we drive.
I treasure it more than I treasure most things. I’m in awe that he trusts me. And we drive from one place to another in search of the clothes he needs until he’s well equipped.
He walks by as I’m painting, later. “Mama, how do you like my shoes?”
I look at him, and his satisfied eyes let me know his heart is cared for once again. I don’t really care that his shoes aren’t my style, because happy hearts are more than a style—they are a miracle, a blessing not to be taken for granted.
He runs off for his weekly swim with friends. And I don’t regret a minute of the time or money I spent on this child, because that’s how he hears love. Spend time with him, and his heart settles peacefully. Care for his needs, and he’s confident as he goes out. Hear his deepest thoughts without criticism, and he keeps nothing back.
I keep swiping paint. Old cabinets are detailed, and it takes a few hours just to put on the first coat. I’m weary when I’m through, just when my man asks if I’m opposed to him going to the gym.
I shake my head. I’m envisioning a quiet night with the little boys while everyone else is out. Clean up, shower, chocolate……and then, he asks if I’d like to go with him and read while I watch the little boys swim.
I hesitate. “Any good wife would join her husband,” my mind reasons.
“I want a shower, chocolate, and Pinterest,” my hormone-wracked body argues.
“I think I’ll stay,” I say. “I’m not feeling well, and I’d love a quiet night.” He nods his head. He gets it. The days have been maxed for him, too, and I’ve found him alone in mind-repose on quite a few occasions lately.
This thing of not needing to be everything for everyone has taken me years to learn. And as I showered the day’s dirt away, I realized it again.
When I’m not trying to be everything for him, I get to be something for him.
I got to love on him last night in one of the best ways he really gets love.
We got to hold each other numerous times today.
I got to interrupt my project to care for a business call he needed me to make.
I got to put food aside for him when he returned, hungry and sweaty, from the gym.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s this little fear-thought the enemy of peace wants to thrust into my head when I decline an outing with him, even if it’s only to the gym. “What if some other pretty girl with a perfectly toned body does arm curls beside him when you’re not there?”
And I feel the pressure of it all, this need to be everything at once no matter how tired I am. I decline anyway—because I’m learning slowly that driving myself hard for too many good things will drive me away from the one good thing.
 
Because a good thing, at the wrong time, becomes the wrong thing. 
I’m learning that the pressure to be everything will keep me from the blessing of being
something he needs most of all.
I stay home. I clean up, shower, and spoon that chocolate ganache into my body which has been demanding hormonal balance all day long. As I shower, words begin flowing into my head and I can’t wait to finish and type them out.
 I wonder, would they have come had I been bone weary at the gym, trying to be something for someone when I could have been simply me, loving from my small corner as best I could?
Sometimes, love is as simple as gladly interrupting your favorite project to make a call for your man.
Sometimes, love means you smile and offer him food when he comes home.
Love means you take your son to town when you’d rather be home—that you spend the money on clothes for him when you really want throw pillows for your new home, instead.
I’m painting away, and this son walks up again. “Mama, look.”
He’s dripping blood, and I swipe away, this time with wet paper towel. I know taking him into the house is my version of love for that moment. Placing a bandage on his forehead becomes a privilege, an honor, a special moment because he’s here, and he holds my heart, and I hold his.
Love requires you to give until you’re full, not dish out until you’re bare.
Get this, mothers and wives—you don’t need to be everything, because you already are something so vital to your loved ones’ existence, and you’re irreplaceable.
When you calm down, breathe deeply, and love hard in all those small moments, you give your man something so precious that it can’t be replaced by some girl at the gym doing her big moment of weight lifting.
Do your own thing, and do it well.
You don’t need to compete with Hollywood—just care for your body, maintain your weight, and do well with what God’s given you.
You don’t need to prove anything—just be entirely full of Proven Love.
You don’t need to be the best cook—just work to please your man with his favorites every once in awhile, just because.
You don’t need to be an entrepreneur—just find out what your gifts are, and utilize them well.
You don’t need to save every penny—just make the most of your man’s budget—and pick up those free pieces of furniture beside the road.
You don’t need to do it all in one day—you just need to embrace the process of each day.
My hutch is partially painted, and I didn’t join my man at the gym. I’m so human I can’t do it all, and I’m so finite my energy is dependent on rest and sleep.
Why is it that women tend to live as though they should have no human needs at all? Why the guilt over saying no to those we love?
Because we fail to see that in saying no, we get to say yes. In saying no to more activities, we get to say yes to extra room for love to grow in our hearts.
I enjoyed the process today. I slowed down, and relaxed. Each bite of chocolate was a gift, and when the crew walked in, I got to smile and welcome them home.
Because perfect love never meant perfect performance.
I get to paint the hutch partially. I get to accomplish what I want for others, partially. I get to know it’s OK, because my humanness was never meant to compete with God’s perfection.
Embrace the journey, and know that, when you don’t perform perfectly, you get to know and show Perfect Love—and that is all that will ever last. Refuse fear of failure, and make way for peace in the process.
Give your all to small moments, for they make up a large life of love.

How to Foster Honor in a Younger Generation

The younger girl spoke vehemently, and I watched the older lady wilt.
I watched her wilt because she knew what I saw—that tones of such a nature are rarely becoming when directed toward a person three times your senior.
It was awkward. But more than that, sad. How honor loses it’s seat in our society baffles me. And as she spoke, I knew there was truth her mother needed to hear, but was unable to hear because it was spoken with such heat and disrespect.
Years of the same old had brought the ugly side forth. Like a dam waiting to burst, the girl’s heart had finally had enough, and she was letting her mother know. But in letting her mother know, there was an even more vital thing she didn’t know.
When we speak the ugly reality, we must speak it in an honorable manner.
 

 

 
There is little left in our culture to properly define and exemplify true honor. In other cultures, we read of children standing when a parent enters the room; here, parents are sassed about and disrespected while kids slouch in front of the TV, remote in hand, guiding their way through another movie which most likely feeds even more disrespect.
When our girls grew older, they began loving high school romance movies. Their father and I put a stop to them because these shows fostered selfish, vain, immature attitudes, rich-kid lifestyles, and pre-mature making out. Many of the main characters showed anything but honor to those around them.
It wasn’t easy to say no to the girls. We wanted them to have fun. But rather than spending hours in front of the TV watching shows that lead them away from God more than toward Him, we tried to foster hard work, intense play and recreation, and more reading rather than more of those shows.
Fill your child’s life with the good and they will have little time for the bad.
What are we feeding our kids? And why?
It’s not uncommon to walk into a home and have a child ignore your presence completely because his eyes are glued to his video game. If you say hello, you get a quick, reluctant response as if you’re not worth the time and effort to greet.
In our culture it is not unusual to see men wilt while wives emasculate them and strip them of their dignity—in public, at that. We forget that to a man, honor speaks love—just as to a woman, time, tenderness, and affection speaks love.
We attribute a man’s need for honor to an egotistic desire for recognition and status, while forgetting that they were created a certain way for a reason—and it’s not sexist to affirm that need and put forth effort to meet it.
In many other cultures, the elderly are cared for, respected, and seated at the table with their families; in our culture, they are often passed over, neglected as grown kids run their own families, and despised as “old fashioned” when they try to speak wisdom into a younger generation.

 

 

 

When a president in the most powerful country of the world is elected, people drive cars with demeaning bumper stickers and run protests until people get hurt. This happens regardless of which party is elected—because people have forgotten that in the same breath as we’re asked to honor God, we are asked to “honor all men, and to “honor the king”. [1 Peter 2:17]
In our culture, we’ve forgotten the dignity of honoring a person for his office or calling more than for his perfection. We’ve lost our fear of God, and of those whom He’s placed in powerful positions. We forget that despite our greatest efforts, God still has the final say of who enters the oval office in the White House.
When David was on the run, trying to escape a wicked king who was hunting him down out of sheer jealousy, he had opportunity to kill the king himself. Rather, he cut a corner off Saul’s robe as he slept—and later berated himself for doing so. He warned his men severely not to kill God’s anointed.
His honor moved Saul to repentance, and he returned from his jealousy driven man-hunt in shame. [1 Samuel 24]
David was able to show honor because he first possessed it. Only when honor is known vertically [with God] can we show it horizontally [to others].
The young girl in the first paragraph was obviously frustrated with her relationship with her mother. I spoke with her, for the trial had lasted for many years.
“You must continue to be honest with your mother, but you must change your tone. There’s a way to own your feelings in an honorable manner.”
Ladies, we can twist our faces into an angry knot—or we can express our feelings in a loving manner.
We can speak vehemently and forcefully to the aged—or we can allow powerful truth spoken in love to work its own force.
We can shake our head in disgust at our men—or we can get into their heads and learn more about them, including how they are hard wired to need honor because that’s what God created them to need.
When we speak to our men, we need to treat them with the same courtesy we treat our girlfriends. Every relationship only lasts with certain dynamics in place, including your marriage. Never expect your man to put up with tones and attitudes you wouldn’t expect your friend to put up with.
If a friendship cannot thrive with certain things, neither can your marriage. Accept that fact, and cease to blame your man for being so sexist.
We can ignore the aging parents, or we can sit them at our dinner table and glean from their years of experience before walking the same journey. We can absorb the fact that we wouldn’t even exist had they not given their own time and energy for our well-being and care.
“Your mother needs to hear the truth,” I urged the young lady. “But she will hear the hard things spoken in a soft way much better than she will wade through a rebellious attitude. Allow raw truth spoken in love to work its own power.”
 

 

 

 
We mistake pretense for honor, but nothing could be further from the truth. When we learn to speak honorably, we have an open door to speak even more clearly. Honor never implies shutting down or putting up with wrong or hurtful things.
Being an honorable person simply means that you show respect as you disagree with another. Others will listen more carefully to you—not less—when you begin to know and possess your own honor.
Honoring others is not only for their benefit, but also for yours. When you see the value God places on you, you will be loathe to represent yourself in a manner others find distasteful and even disgusting. No one, not even your girlfriends, appreciate seeing a woman put down or dishonor her man, her friends, or her kids.
Own your worth and dignity by speaking honestly, but honorably!

How Your Man Loves You

She waltzed into the room with a delighted grin on her little face, and handed him the blanket.
Our son had just turned six years old. The youngest of four, he had asked for a small party, so when the few gifts were opened, he turned to me and asked, “Where are my other gifts?”
“You only wanted a few people here, son, so all your gifts have been opened,” I explained. Embarrassed, I continued, “What else were you hoping for?”
“A blankie,”he replied.
And so it occurred to little miss blond-head that she had her very own blanket in the car and could gift it to her friend. She ran back inside, arms loaded with an ancient, stained blanket and a broken truck, handing it to David with the air of I just solved all your problems.
David stared. “This blanket is dirty!” he declared loudly. “And this truck is broken.”
“That’s why I gave it to you!” Mari announced loudly.
The adults sat in helpless gales of laughter while I harbored secret embarrassment and distress. Was I the parent of the last child, or what? My son defied everything I had tried to teach him, that parties are not all about gifts, and that gratefulness trumps the accumulation of material things.
There’s nothing like being a parent to humble your entire spirit many times over. And late that night, David was still muttering under his breath over how rude his little friend Mari was to give him broken gifts.
He never once understood or appreciated her simplistic desire to satisfy his wishes for a blanket, and her willingness to give him her own. All he could see was the broken truck, and his disappointment over it.
Now, may we ask ourselves, how many times do our men try to love on us while we turn a dissatisfied face the other way and continue in discontentment?

 

Rather than expect to be loved in a certain way, we need to receive the love they are already showing. Some wives may struggle for years with the lack of heart to heart sharing in their marriages, while others notice the extravagant love glowing from these quiet men’s eyes whenever they look at their wives, and long for the same.
They may not know how to communicate as well as some people, but ladies, they adore their women
If your man adores you, if he tries his best to love on you, by all means allow yourself to notice and appreciate it. Not every woman has a man who cares for her. We may gripe about our lack in certain areas while entirely missing out on the fervent love being extended our way.
Men often give love in ways women have difficulty receiving. Perhaps your man doesn’t talk much or take you on dates or remember each event. But does he love you, truly? If the answer is yes, you can learn to so appreciate his love, that the lack of what you desire takes lesser precedence in your heart than the love you feel.
You may be wistful for certain areas of expressed love, but you can learn to be grateful and blessed in other areas of love shown your way. Of course, don’t hesitate to let him know how to love you better—good men want to know—but never allow ungratefulness to render you bitter and unlovable.
A faithful, committed man is the best gift God could give you. Receive him in love, give him regard and favor for his love to you, regardless of how it’s shown. Appreciate him, and show it lavishly.
Thank him by your own warmth and love given back into his heart. Never, ever pull away from a man who loves you because you have unfulfilled desires. Rather, receive his love fully and allow the knowledge of it to fill your heart. From that platform, express your other needs to him in love.
Don’t be like David, who focused on the broken truck more than the gift of a life long, personal blanket!

How to Be Your Child’s Best Friend

I dropped her off in Seattle at 5:00 a.m., and whispered loud, “God, thank you for a mother like her.”
She had hugged me long before walking away. And when she walked away, somehow she stayed with me. Because no matter how many changes come, somehow her heart syncs with Christ’s, and I’m in awe of her grace and presence of love.

My mother left a legacy of love behind her. She has more patience and grace for ten children than most have for two, and I’m watching her after thirty seven years so I can learn more of the Christ in her.

My mother cares little for earthly things, but much for heavenly. After, and even during raising her own ten kids, she’d bring in other kids who needed a home. She’d bring out the math books for those kids as well as her own, and she’d hold and nurture them at night just as she held her own.
Now that her ten are grown and most of us have left home, she has four girls in her home from three different families. Girls who need her love and care because they’ve been through more than girls should have to walk through at their ages.
She’s reading books and learning all she can about helping others—and all the while she’s serving her own family.
My mother knew how to turn ancient old houses into cozy homes, how to serve her family without resenting it or thinking she’d be better with a career. She took what money she had, and multiplied it with her contentment. And no matter what, she always loved, laughed, and shared her heart with our own.
A child cannot make her mother her best friend. Only a mother can make herself worthy of that name. My mother did, even through those years many call turbulent teens. Somehow she knew how to require obedience while still holding the heart.
All ten of us knew beyond doubt that mama loved our hearts no matter how icky they were, and that, when our lives were blessed, she was happy enough to soar through the sky with joy. And when we were tots, all of us knew she was in charge and had the final say.
We didn’t get to boss mama around because mama knew that kids in charge of their own lives bear too much weight on their shoulders—weight meant only for adults to carry. She led us to good places because we weren’t wise enough to do so on our own.
We learned that mama meant what she said—and it was all said in love. And I asked her the other day, “Mom, how would you train your eleven year old son to clean his room as I’ve asked him to?”
“Consequences—I just wouldn’t put up with it,” she replied.
I run upstairs and follow through. I know by her example that grace and love doesn’t mean permissive disobedience. It’s a bit like Christ, Whose love washes away sin.
Contrary to what some teach, Christ’s love, when fully realized, removes sin from our lives rather than condones it. No one can know Love without being changed by that Love.
My mother knew that true love in her would guide is to Love Jesus truly—because isn’t that what the heart was created for most of all? She knew that requiring obedience in love would ultimately enable us to know what Christ’s gift of love really meant.
When we’re not changed by Love, we don’t truly know love.
If Love didn’t change lives, it wouldn’t be Love at all.

Perhaps, rather than expecting Love to accept all things, we need to accept that Love changes all things. 
Love is what love is—and when you know Love, you do what love does.
What amazes me most about my mama is her lack of pride. She really doesn’t care about any kind of persona—she’s just her, and just being her means her heart is open wide to live and love with no agenda.
Her heart, it’s kinda like an open book. You get to read it, and you also get to have your own heart read. Nothing’s threatening because when love is, there’s only growth to be found and love to be shared in the best days or worst. I think this is why Christ in her is so alive—because hasn’t He said He’s with the lowly, but abases the proud?
Kinda like all being human together rather than some of us trying to be super-human when we’re not.
A week before mama came, I attended the funeral of my dear friend’s mother. As I watched the family share, I observed a girl go up to the microphone who was not immediate family. Many years ago, she had been invited to my friend’s home, and there she found love, belonging, and blessing enough to cause her to return many times over—and cry hardest at the beloved mother’s funeral.
Another mother who left a legacy of love.
Today, what will you leave behind you? What are your priorities? What drives you most? What satisfies you?
Will you leave the world as barren of love as when you came, or will it be a better, richer, fuller place because of you?
Bring hearts to your own. Whether you have ten kids or two, love on them extravagantly—and then,dare to love even more.
Will your legacy be worthy of bringing you fruit, and will it praise you in the gates long after you’re gone? [Proverbs 31:31]
I drove home from Seattle with the sun rising above the mountains, and my thoughts twirling with life-giving truth. Early risers took to the four-lane freeway with me, and I’m impressed with how much can be accomplished so soon in a day.
It’s a bit like life. What we choose to accomplish, we will. Because where our treasures are, there our hearts will be.

May our treasure be changeless love so we can bring love to a changing world. 

~Flax-Seed Brownies~

Take note, sisters, there’s a brownie recipe so nutritious you could eat it for breakfast–but it’s still delicious!  My man loves them as well, which is a huge success! [Most men, we know, wrinkle noses at the mere thought of flax seed in brownies ;)]

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 cups golden flax meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar or 3/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips, divided

Mix all ingredients together except 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour into greased 8×8 pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup chips on top, and bake @ 350* for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy!

How to Find Life in a Thousand Ways

The sun’s shining hot today, and I’m pushing the hoe into broken soil, furrowing rows long and deep.

Placing tiny seeds into soil and covering them up is a task for the trust filled. No one knows how, but those seeds actually bring forth life in the dark earth. Who knew that death for a seed could mean life for a family?

The kids run wild on the dusty farm that’s being renovated for our friends. This massive place is a gift to our summers, as well as the people who own it. Eight kids learn gardening together, hoeing down rows of weeds in summer sun. They dip in the creek and run wild, chasing chickens and cuddling furry bunnies.
We all soak up heat from bon fires while spring peepers end their nightly song and the world goes silent under a dark sky.
Even the cows cease munching when the moon comes out. And here, we sit, thoughtful and quiet in the wake of another night.
The body needs rest just as the soul does.
Lately, we’ve all needed soul rest because we’ve gotten another call with dread news. They don’t seem to end. This time, it’s one of my dearest friends who’s lost her mother in the blink of an eye before she could get there.
My heart breaks, tears apart a little. Losing a mother is no small thing. And on Easter, when we were all smiling and hunting eggs and I had looked into her face while we spoke of Christ rising in victory above all things in our lives—right about then, her mother rose to meet Jesus.
We didn’t know it until later. And when she got the call that her mother died, it was hard to feel that she risen, instead.
It’s more like news pounds us and hits so hard we go into shock. We’re devastated beyond words. When it happened to me, I couldn’t believe a person could go numb quite like I did.
Now, it’s her.
I sit at my kitchen table the same day with my another friend who’s just lost her mother. And I watched little ones a few weeks ago who had lost their mother a few years ago, when the boy was just a baby. Other friends have lost their brother, and it doesn’t seem to stop, this saying good-bye thing.
Sometimes, we don’t even get to say good-bye. They just slip away—we call it death.
My bare feet dig into soft, black soil, as I sacrifice clean feet for the feel of earth on my skin. My friend prays aloud over the seeds she’s planting, and then places even rows of labeled markers at the end of each row.

That night I’m showering the day’s dirt off my body, and He asks me if I’m willing to give up my fondest dream. I say it loud in my heart, a great big yes. I’m willing to die this death because my God is One of Life, and when He asks me to die to something, He always replaces it with life lessons I’d never learn if I hung on to what I wanted—or even thought I needed.
I know in my heart that if I were to die a thousand deaths, He would allow me to live a thousand blessings to replace them. This is why I hesitate less and less to let go of things I’ve held on to so tightly my knuckles became white.
God never, ever asks us to give something up without replacing it with something better. And when we hang on to what we want, we lose the peace we need most of all. We may run aside of God’s will for us, but lose out more even when we think we’ve gained.
Because what the soul needs most of all is to die to itself so that new life can come. When the heart breaks wide open, rather than close it up tightly, we need to leave it open and broken so that Love can pour itself all the way into the deepest cracks.
When you cover up, close up, and curl into a tight ball of avoidance, Love doesn’t get to seep inside.
 
It’s OK to be broken. Christ came to make us whole, and He can’t make us whole if we’re not broken first of all.
It’s OK to feel like you’ve lost it all. It’s Ok to let go, to release the very thing you thought your life depended on. Because when you let go, you get to hang on even better. Hanging onto God Himself, means you’re safe—from all of it.

I pick up the phone to call my friend who’s lost her mother . She doesn’t answer. I know the feeling of having the life drained right out of you so hard you can’t even answer your phone.
My heart breaks for her. It’s going to be a long road through grief. Walking into your mother’s empty craft room the months before Christmas, alone, when you’ve always created gifts together wouldn’t be easy.
But how could our loved ones meet Jesus if they stayed here, clothed in their earthly bodies? How could they know their greatest joy if their spirits hadn’t let go of mortality? How can immortality be known without the death of mortal bodies?
Do we know, right in our tears, that letting go means abundant life? That when we get the call, and our hearts go down, our loved ones are rising high?
And us still alive on this planet, when we die a thousand deaths, when we release the things God is asking us to give up, we can know beyond doubt that following through means we get to live a thousand blessings.
Because God never asks you to die without promising you life. He only asks you to die temporarily so you can live eternally. 
I push the seeds into black earth, and I smile.
No one but God could bring life out of death. And I trust Him fiercely.

He Goes Before

“The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” [Exodus 13:21]

I ran upstairs with a lump in my throat. Saying goodbye was never easy, but this time, the old farmhouse was even more empty than before.

Sibling number six had just gotten married, and her room was empty, still, lacking those two vibrant sisters of mine who always brightened my visits home. Living forty hours away from family made me wish everything stayed the same when I did get to come home.
But everything changes. Dad’s beard was more grey, mom’s hair a bit more white. And, they were talking of selling the home place.
Gone would be the old wooden gate my brother built for Mom before he passed away. I thought giving him up was change enough, but life keeps moving at such a pace I wonder how the heart can keep up.
Sooner or later, even Dad and Mom won’t be hearty, busy, healthy. And, sooner or later, they will be gone. That’s a change I dread more than most.
We’ve all gone from one large, happy nest to being scattered over the four corners of the earth, as we like to say. One sister leaves for Africa soon, the home she loves more than here. Another sister mothers six girls in Canada while another is about to give birth to her first born in South Dakota.
Two kids out of ten remain at home, and the place may soon be sold to another family of ten, just like we used to be. Life is a swirl, a flurry, and even my own darling kids are growing at an alarming rate.
I can’t hit “pause”. On anything. Not even my own wrinkles, age, or youth. The next birthday will come when it comes, just like the ones before, and the daughter will ask for shoes a few sizes larger than my own while she stands tall at my side.
This is freaky, scary business. Sometimes I want to bury my head under blankets while life speeds by. I mean, really, who ever thought I’d be thirty six years old with a twelve year old nearly as tall as her mama– and nowhere close to being done growing.
They eat, and they grow. That grocery cart in Costco holds enough to feed an army and I grow silent when I see the bill. With four in tow and an over loaded cart, I get plenty of stares.
I’m proud of walking town with a ring on my finger and four lovely kids around me. Life is good, and I’m blessed. But I still can’t hit pause. Soon, they will be teens, then be gone, and it will be my husband and I sitting in those chairs with greying hair and bones just a bit more brittle than before.
So why this dread of change?  Isn’t change what makes the world go round? Literally, the world as we know it would cease to exist if we all stayed young and the kids never left home.
Because if no one grew up and left the nest, no babies would be born. If no one grew old, the young would be left to navigate life alone.
If there was no death of the seed planted in the ground, there could be no birth of new plants springing up.
If leaves didn’t grow brown and fall to the earth, new leaves wouldn’t form in spring.
Life comes in stages, in phases, full of change, with nothing permanent. Even trials don’t last forever, though we think they will. And each season is just that– a season that will soon be over.
The mother drowning in school books will soon be left with a quiet house. And the mother with the quiet house need not fear that this phase of her life will prove less fruitful.
Fruitfulness is a choice, not the happen-stance of a certain phase of life. Fruitfulness comes when the heart is fixated on the Creator and just flat out making the most of each phase as it comes.
Let the kids be young, then let them grow. Let them surround you constantly, then let them leave more than you wish they would. Let yourself be “mama”, then “Mom” by some growing son who wishes to appear manly.
There is nothing to fear. Not even old age, empty house, or growing kids approaching teen years. “Perfect love casts out fear” [1John 4:18], and He’s come to bring abundant life that doesn’t end when one season flows into the next before you catch your breath.
You are born with purpose, created by a magnificent God, and you have no more say over your life than you did over your birth. He has a plan, a story to write, and He wants us to walk each one without turning away in mental avoidance. Each phase of life has His stamp of approval, His touch, His grace, His answers, and His deliverance.
We have only to hold His hand, and all of it becomes a story of grace, one more stroke of His brush over the canvas of our lives. He brushes beauty, He breathes grace when we fully live in each present He brings. Life no longer becomes an inevitable rush grasping us without mercy; it becomes a flow of grace, a story unfolded, a rest learned that will lead us straight to the end with both purpose and peace.
We have only to hold His hand, and follow. Only to find Him, walk with Him, delight in what He gives and thank Him from the depths of our hearts for it. We have only to worship, to be thankful, to rejoice in the place we have in His story.
Because it remains that, at the end of it all, it really is His story, not ours. And because He’s good, He wants to bless us at every turn of the road, not just some. We have only to find those blessings and really live them up.
Let the years unfold with all the changes they bring, because when the heart is set on Christ, more years mean more wisdom, and changes call for added dimensions of grace. The soul becomes rich, supple, amply supplied by tasting of it all. We need fear no passing years, need dread no change, because embracing it all means being embraced by Christ.
Let such a Love lead us straight on with uplifted eyes, right into change without a hint of fear because this life is meant to be power-filled by a powerful God, to be love-drenched by the Founder of Love, to be safely lived in Arms that know how to carry us right around the next turn of the road to our final destination.