An Appointment With God.

It is honestly hard to be as raw and real as this post will be. Because, I am a positive girl. I take captive thoughts that drain me, that aren’t good for me, and I’m usually really good at making those thoughts obedient to truth. Obedient to the fact that His ways are good and perfect. To the truth that all things work together for the good. ALL things. But, I have struggled these past two months. I haven’t struggled in knowing He is good. But, I have struggled with sadness and disappointment.

For a while, I kept calling it sadness. I am saddened by the immense loss I feel from losing people close to me. I am saddened by the hands some have been dealt undeservingly. I am saddened that I have not done the things personally I know I need to do. I am saddened that any child would feel any amount of love that is less than what my own children feel. I am saddened by the suffering others endure. I am saddened there is a family of seven wondering about their next meal. Grief upon grief. Layered one on top of the other. I have cried, almost daily, overwhelmed by it all.

Sunday night, I poured myself out to Kris. I emptied it all. “I am sad,” I told him. And, the more I shared, the more I realized that my sadness was really disappointment. I looked at Kris and finally said, “I am disappointed in this year.” I have been ready for it to end. I am ready for something new. Something different. I told him that maybe we don’t give grief its proper respect. We know loss is a part of the human experience. We grieve. We cry. But, maybe we underestimate the reality of how that loss affects our daily lives. We don’t give it the credence it’s due. Instead, we try to find the good instead of feeling what is really there.

These have been my feelings. This has been my burden. This has been my past two months.

But the ability to finally identify what I feel and call it disappointment finally changed how I see today. How I see tomorrow. If we wallow in our disappointment, it will kill our passion. It will hinder in my own life the greatest forces in this world: faith, hope, and love.

I am of reminded of a message my dad preached so many years ago. He talked about Samson. Samson forgot who he was. He was disappointed in his choices, in the world he had framed, in the promise he thought was lost. Until one day, he felt his hair touching his shoulders, and he remembered. He remembered his strength…he remembered the living, breathing force within him. He remembered the promise. He remembered who he was. And, he knew in that moment: for every disappointment in life is an appointment with God. And, that changed everything.

For every disappointment is an appointment with God. It’s a reckoning. It’s where we feel what we need to feel. Where we allow grief to be what it is. Where we allow disappointment to be what it is. But, there comes a day when, like Samson, we are reminded of our strength. We are reminded that we have a choice. We can stay in disappointment or we can allow it to thrust us forward. Where we connect the dots. Where we remember who we are. Where we use the very thing that disappointed us to push us forward to do the work He has called us to do.

We can hold fast to faith that screams He is able to do more than we can imagine. Faith that opens our eyes to see the unseen. We can trust in the hope that anchors our very soul. That secures us. That keeps us from tossing to and fro when the waves come. When the disappointments come. And, we can cling to love: who we really are. We can love ourselves so deeply that we actually let ourselves off the hook when we don’t live up to what we hoped we would do and be. We can love others with such intensity that nothing they do can ever taint how we see them: real, living souls who are images of God in the earth.

Kris texted me this morning, “So many times we forget what we are passionate about. Your passions are so powerful, and your words are so impactful. You miss just how awesome you are. Life is good, life is hard, and it’s our faith that will keep us strong. Stop holding back. Stop being afraid. You can do it. No matter what it is.” These were the words that pulled me out of my disappointment. And, this was the time God chose to do it. Because, Kris was God in the moment. In this time.

I felt my strength again this morning. And, I remembered. I remembered my passions. I remembered who I was. And, I remembered that I have an appointment with God.

I have an appointment with myself. An appointment to renew what needs to be renewed. And a mission to bring faith, hope, and love to the forefront of people’s lives.

Friends, to you I say: Stop holding back. Stop being afraid. You can do it. No matter what it is. Because, you have the three greatest forces moving towards you in your favor: faith, hope and love. Don’t miss how awesome you are. Don’t stay in disappointment. Trust in the hope that assures us nothing is ever truly lost. The hope that assures us the best is always ahead.

Today is going to be a good day.

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Anna Is A Teenager.

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Anna Takle Is A TEENAGER.

Dear friends and family who remember the blogs the first several years of Anna’s life….can you believe this day is here? Can you believe I survived Anna in pre-school and the calls from her teacher telling me she “couldn’t log into her Twitter account?” That I survived her cutting up my comforter with her Fiskar scissors? Survived her bringing her dad’s wedding band to school for Show and Tell? Survived her insistence on wearing the craziest of apparel combinations? Survived ALL of her antics, mischief, hilarity….survived the days where she literally had no filter?

I did it. WE did it. Being able to share her stories and have you all laugh with me have made getting to year 13 such a fun ride. The truth is, it really hasn’t been a game of survival. It’s been a journey of learning, of growing, and of being blown away by the sheer gift God gave me when He gave me Anna Takle.

One of the things most do NOT know about Anna is that she is the most thoughtful person I know. Her gifts she gives you are well thought out. She makes every gift personal. She puts time and energy and enormous love into everything she creates and gives. Because, the people in her life really matter to her. She expresses herself in words in the most beautiful of ways to let people know how much they mean to her. Is she funny? Yes. Is her wit the quickest? Most certainly. But is she one of the most sensitive and caring humans on the planet? You better believe it.

Dear Anna Marie,

I am so proud of the young woman you are. You make me proud in SO many ways. You are bright. You care that you do well in school. But, you care more that you learn and understand and grow from everything you are taught. The lessons themselves matter to you.

I am so proud of how you continue to practice piano. I am even more proud that you serve with that gift. I love your heart for worship and how free you are to express your love to God. 

I am so proud of your heart for social justice. I love how you stand up for what is right. Your heart breaks for anyone you feel is oppressed or simply anyone who doesn’t know how valuable they are. I can remember praying for you when you were little. Because, you always said….out loud….the first things that ever crossed your mind….I prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for Anna’s heart of compassion.” And, man, have you risen to the occasion with such wild compassion. Your heart aches for those who feel like they don’t belong. You see someone in need, and you do all you can to make sure the lack is gone. You choose people. You choose their feelings. You choose their hearts. You are truly a defender of the weak. And, you always remind me: look at the heart, not at the person. I’m so thankful how you always see the good in people. 

I love how you love watching This Is Us with me. I love how you watch Grey’s Anatomy and think you can diagnose everyone in our house. Actually, I don’t love how you diagnose us. Stop it. Stahhppp.

I love your love for the theater and how you’ve taught every one in this house to enjoy it, too.

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I love how you love your brothers. How you look up to John Henry. I love how you give him unsolicited advice ALL THE TIME. I’m not quite sure he loves that….but, be glad he loves YOU. It’s most adorable how you are forever Little Momma to Jett. I love how you think Jett is the funniest human on the planet….after yourself, of course. Duh.

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I love how you are your dad’s great defender. He cannot do ANYTHING wrong. Nothing. “He is totally Jack from ‘This Is Us’ except without the issues,” you say. Okay. OKAY already. We can shout his praises tomorrow on HIS birthday.

I love how you love me. I love how comfortable and at home you are with me. You’re comfortable enough to tell me when I go in for a second lecture, “I am parented out.” I get it. Sometimes, I am mommed out. I love how you reminded me to write your birthday blog. As if I could ever forget. I asked you, “What would you do if you woke up one birthday and didn’t have a birthday blog to read?” You said, “Well, I’d just write my own!” I have no doubt you wouldn’t. You rarely let anything disappoint you. It’s really quite remarkable.

The other day, I told Anna, “Never text a boy first. He should always text you first.” She responded, “Mom. No. I will not follow this protocol. It’s the 21st century. Women can vote now. I can text first.” Normally, I would’ve questioned her quick response and disregard for my request. Instead, I laughed. And, you know what else I did? I accepted it. Because, just like in so many other life situations and lessons, Anna has consistently inspired me to be open. To listen, to receive, to hear something new. Something that may be out of the ordinary. And, every single time it’s been worth it. She has stretched me in more ways than I ever thought possible. And, I’m not talking about stretching my patience. Of course, she has done that. But, she has stretched my imagination to see more than what is just in front me. She continues to encourage me to see more. To dream bigger. To hope with a daring hope. To expand until I see the glory of God in every single person.

What a fun ride this has been. It’s only going to get better, Anna Takle. Some days, I miss this little girl sitting across from me in a restaurant in Oklahoma City holding baby Jenny.

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But every day I am so thankful to sit across from this girl. This beautiful, smart, caring human that has become my very best friend.

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Happy 13th Birthday, Anna. I am SO THANKFUL to be your mom.

I love you like crazy,

Mom.

 

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Don’t Kill the Wonder.

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I receive these texts every morning with some sort of positive affirmation or healthy advice for the day. Today, the text read, “Unapologetically seek bliss today.” The text link led me to an article called “‘Ikagai’ is Japan’s Secret to Living a Long, Happy Life.” The author writes that ikagai is “the happiness of always being busy, but it doesn’t mean a schedule packed with mindless errands and activities. Rather, the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning, makes you want to work hard, and colors your life with purpose.” She further writes, “When you follow through on things you enjoy and limit the things you don’t, you’re taking steps towards pursuing what’s important to you.” (Anna Meyer)

This came at such a perfect time as my dad and I were discussing yesterday how so many lose their wonder in life. The truth is, we kill it. Or someone else kills it for us. We kill it in our children completely unaware that we are doing it. When we seek after the things that fill us with joy, we inspire that wonder. When we stop, so does the wonder.

We tell our kids things like, “You can’t always get what you want.” We tell them, “Life isn’t always one big party.” I’ve done it. I’m sure you have. I know our hearts behind it aren’t wrong. We think we are teaching them responsibility. And, that lesson is important. We think we are teaching them to be realistic with their wants and goals. Now, THAT lesson isn’t so much. We think if our little ones want too many things, then they aren’t thankful for what they already have. So, we squelch or diminish the importance or value in them wanting something. We kill their wonder.

It’s not that we never use the word “no.” It IS that we become facilitators, teaching them how to create their world. Teaching them that life IS meant to be full of wonder. Teaching them it’s okay to seek happiness. A couple of years ago I read a book by Shefali Tsabary called “Out of Control.” She is also the author of the “The Conscious Parent,” which may be more familiar to you. One chapter was titled, “How to Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No” Effectively.” My conversation with dad prompted me to pull this book back off the shelf. I’m glad I did. I began reading again about how we kill their wonder when we don’t value what they desire. Tsabary writes that we “deliver messages such as, ‘You are being so greedy, you should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t you know that money doesn’t grow on trees? You seem to think we are made of money.’ Shaming our children for their honest desires in this way, we dishonor their feelings. A practical matter has become a personal issue, with the parent feeling frustrated and the child rejected. Our children have every right to want things – this is normal and healthy. It indicates they have a connection to their lives.”

You see our purpose isn’t to run out and buy those things for them. I’m not arguing you can’t. Sometimes, the joy of parenting is saying, “Yes. Let’s go get this.” BUT, the beauty for us as parents is to facilitate their dreams. To teach them to have goals. To help them create ways to work for these things and attain them. To let them know that we are for them and will partner with them. “Our children learn they are active co-creators in their universe, able to actualize their dreams through action. Such children grow up to make good decisions in life.”

I dare say, such children grow up to never lose their wonder for life. Because, we as parents have taught them what it means to truly be created in God’s image – Elohim – creators. Creators are always inspired. And, that inspiration always comes from wonder. So, everyday, they get up and unapologetically seek bliss by actively fulfilling their life’s purpose.

Finally, I would say that this is not selfish. It sounds self-fulfilling. Partially, it is. But, as each one fulfills his or her purpose, the rest of the world benefits. We all gain from each other’s gifts. Am I trying to create a world filled with magic and love and peace and hope and bliss? Am I THAT crazy to think it’s possible? You better believe I am. Now, YOU. Go seek bliss today.

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A New Journey.

Me Jh

John Henry Landreth. How is it possible to love you more with every passing year? How is it possible you embark on a new journey with this birthday? DRIVING. BECAUSE, YOU’RE 15 YEARS OLD. FIFTEEN. DEAR JESUS, HOW? I promise not to be a control freak in the passenger seat making sounds and freaking out over tires touching a line or anything like that. I lie. You and I both know I will. You will get irritated with me over-stating concerns, and you’ll tell dad. Dad will talk to me about it. I will try to do better. You will forgive me. We will get in the car again, and I will be a good mom filled with the spirit and self-control.

Truth is….you know me better than I know myself sometimes. And, although my belaboring of points can drive you crazy, you always forgive, overlook, and still choose to love me and enjoy time with me. This is one of the most remarkable things about you, John Henry. You have the most amazing tolerance and acceptance of everyone’s quirks. You always choose to find the good in everything and everyone. You are truly one of the most positive people I know, and I get to you call you my son and my friend.

I want you to know that your Daddy Kris and I have frequent conversations about you. I will say things like, “It blows my mind how amazing John Henry is.” Your dad has told me, “I don’t know what I did to deserve the goodness that flows out of John Henry.” When you play guitar and worship, you blow us away. Your talent and skill is incredible. But, it’s your heart of worship that just astounds me. Because, at the very core of your heart of worship is the most grateful, thankful heart I’ve ever known.

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Being your mom is one my greatest gifts. But, being your friend is music to my soul. It is the richness in the day to day of my life. And, it is FUN. I enjoy your company so freaking much. I love it that I don’t embarrass you. But, if I’m dancing, you start dancing with me. When I sing the wrong lyrics, you shake your head and laugh. And, I love it that you call me mom most of the time….but when you want something, you call me, “Momma.” Hey, it works for you. I can’t blame you.

You are your sister’s protector. I have loved watching the two of you become closer, share the stage in worship together, and work out your issues together. You are also your little brother’s protector and his buddy. Thank you for taking the time out of your days to play with him. He wants to be just like you. Thank you for setting such an amazing for example for him.

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I remember not being able to imagine my little blonde haired, blue-eyed boy growing up. What would I do without him being so small and snuggling next to his mom? What would I do without his small, tender arms always willing to love on his little sister?

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Now, I know. I would get to watch you appreciate and enjoy things like Ga-Ga’s and Noodles’ friendship.

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I would get to watch you partake in the goodness around the table and add beauty to our conversations. I would get to watch you pray over young people in your youth group. I would get to watch you notice a need and go meet it. I would get to watch you become so aware of every person in the room. I would get to watch you love even deeper. I would get to enjoy concerts with you that I would’ve never purposed to enjoy. And, I would get to become your friend. I am so excited for what else I get to watch you do and become. There is so much more ahead of you, John Henry. So much good. But, right now, I’m just happy to be in this moment with you. Enjoying every second of who you are. Because, who you are is a wonderful, kind, and fun young man who loves with intention and purpose. You are ALL of the good.

I love you more than words.

Happy Birthday 15th Birthday, JH.

Love,
Mom.

 

 

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The Pause Is Everything.

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One of my mentors always reminds me that “hurry up” is not a quality of the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is actually quite the opposite…..specifically qualities like patience and self-control. I know this. Yet, I forget this often. And, self-control is the key to slowing down.

Self-control is the key to the pause.

And, the pause is everything. I mean EVERYTHING.

The other day I had to pick up some papers that were set outside an office building for me. They were being held up by a large 2×4. In my hastiness, I grabbed the papers and knocked the 2×4 on my foot. Every explicative went through my head, and I left there angry at the 2×4 and the people who thought putting it there was a good idea. The reality is I rushed as I do everything. Not paying attention to my steps or my surroundings. I just acted and reacted without giving it any thought. Without a pause. So, the universe simply responded to my actions. Gravity, like it always does, did its job, and the 2×4 came crashing down on my foot. Had I slowed down and taken notice of the moment, I suspect I could have prevented the entire incident.

The spirit has also been speaking to me about the power of the pause in how I take care of my body. I grab a snack bar for breakfast, albeit “gluten free”, because I don’t want to pause an entire 5 minutes to fry an egg. When the egg offers me much more good for my body…..and in those five minutes of pausing, my thoughts slow down. In those 5 minutes, I notice my thoughts aren’t just on the egg itself. But, my thoughts quiet for a moment to hear what my Spirit is saying. To listen. To be still. In those 5 minutes, my entire being benefits: body, soul, and spirit. That’s the power of the pause. Again, I say, the pause is everything.

Abandoning the pause can affect everything in our lives. And, often times, we don’t acknowledge our condition as a failure to pause. When in reality, our condition is often the effect of our haste. We make a bad decision, because we do not pause. We respond with anger or hurtful words, because we do not pause. We hurt ourselves, because we do not pause. We hurt others, because we do not pause.

We miss moments with our children, because we do not pause. We fail to see the goodness in our partner’s eyes, because we do not pause. We miss God in the moment when we are with other people when we do not pause.

But, when we DO pause. We just don’t save ourselves and others from our hasty reactions…..but, we absorb life itself in all of its goodness. We see God in all things and in all people. We walk like barefoot priests careful of where we step, careful of the direction we take, tender with the words we speak. We pause, and we ABSORB LIFE. We absorb His presence, because, His presence is in the pause. We hear Him speak, and we make better choices. We zoom out, and don’t just see the one tree, but we see the entire forest. Instead of looking at one date on my calendar I see an entire week, month, year, life.

The pause makes us thankful, because it becomes impossible to not think of something good when we slow down. That gratitude moves us and motivates us to lead our day with eyes that see and ears that ear what we need to see and hear. The more we pause, the more grateful we become. The more grateful we become, the more good things we see and attract to our lives….simply because we are expanding in our thankfulness for life.

But, it cannot happen without the pause.

I have a cousin named Mark. He is, no doubt, one of the greatest beings walking this planet. He is never in a hurry yet nothing in his world is ever left undone. Easter Sunday, he lingered after church and talked to me for a long time. I had a brief thought of surely he has to get to his family lunch….surely, I have to get to my family lunch. But, I abandoned that thought immediately and paused. There have been moments I have thought Mark paused, because HE needed that pause. The truth is, I needed it. In the moments I have thought I was giving to him, he is the one who has been giving to me. That’s the power of the pause. It’s not just for ourselves.

Pause. Observe. Absorb. You will see more clearly. You will make better decisions. Others won’t taste your haste in word or action. 2x4s won’t make you want to shout explicatives. Practice it. Write it on your hand until it’s written on your heart. Just slow down in every single way possible.

The pause everything.

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Oh, Jett Man. Can You Slow Time, Please?

Jett

This is the third “I Can’t Believe You’re Seven” birthday blog I’ve written, and my heart can hardly take it. I’ve been mostly okay writing Jett’s previous birthday blogs and mostly okay embracing the fact he’s another year older. Until now. I mean….I’m okay. And, I LOVE exactly where he is, who he is, and every single thing these seven years of learning and growing have given him. But, seven seems not so little anymore. SEVEN SEEMS SO BIG AND GROWN AND SELF-SUFFICIENT. Seven is realizing that these tender, amazing years of raising little ones are quickly becoming these heart-wrenching, amazing years of coaching and guiding three incredible expressions of God in the earth. And, the fact that God has entrusted me to nurturing and guiding three remarkable beings makes me want to shout “THANK YOU, JESUS FOR THIS LIFE WITH THESE PEOPLE!” My heart pours out gratitude. Because, being their mom is my greatest joy.

I have loved every single second with Jett Takle. He is the third, the baby, the one who can convince to me buy the Oreo Blizzard (and eat the Oreo Blizzard.) The one who can leave rocks and Lego minifigures in his pockets and make me smile every time I pull them out of the dryer. The one who can say, “Can I snuggle with you?” and melt my heart in two seconds flat. The one who can almost convince me to do whatever his little heart desires. Almost.

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And, the amazing thing about all of this? The other three people in this house pretty much feel the same way about this youngest spark of light and joy living down the hall.

Jett Takle, you make ALL of our hearts melt.

There are so many things I love about you and your FUN self.

I love how you can break out into a dance at any given moment if you think it will make us laugh.

I love how you say, “Hot tubbbbbb, hot tubbbbbb. Oh, how’s that hot tubbbb lifeee?” We don’t even know where it came from, but you do it every single time it’s hot tub time, and it makes us all smile so big.

I love how you’ve made it your daily goal to make me laugh every single day. Not once. Not twice. But THREE times. It’s just your thing. And, you count every time until you hit three.

I love how you tell me, “Mom, I looovvveeee your laugh.”

I love how even at seven years old, EVERYTHING is still so amazing. Please, don’t ever lose that. Don’t ever stop being in awe of how beautiful everything is. How intricate and unique every detail is in all of the things around you. Keep the wonder. I will help you fan those flames.

I love how you have named Pastor Will and Jenny “Paw-Paw and Nanny.” Who knows where you come up with these things. But, I love that you recognize the village around you and how loved you are.

I love how you LOVE to read. I love that it compliments and fuels your incredible imagination.

I love how you love Legos and can put them together with both determination and commitment.

I love how it takes you a long time to let me throw away your collection of empty boxes, because “they are special.”

I love that you love going to bed as much as I do. Seriously, I do.

I love how you love to be prayed for every night.

I love how you loved Bigmama and hugged her every time you saw her.

I love how you love all of your grandparents and think they are hilarious and perfect.

I love how you especially think everything your Far-Far does is hilarious. And, how you think Cathy knows “every single thing” about animals.

I love how you think nobody bakes better cookies than Farmor.

I love how you love fishing with your Ga-Ga. And, I love how you yell, “NANNNN!!!! And run to her every single time you see her.

I love how you love working with your daddy on the farm.

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I love how you think John Henry is the coolest guy you’ve ever seen and light up when he wants to shoot hoops with you.

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I love how you love your sister and still call her “Sissy.”

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I love how you make me appreciate every second of being a mother.

You are a gift to this family, Jett Takle. You are a gift to the world. You have enlightened the way we look at everything these past seven years. I cannot wait to watch the years ahead unfold for you. They will be amazing. Because, YOU are amazing.

Happy 7th Birthday, Jett Man.

I love you so very much.

Love, Mom

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Make Space For the Season.

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The other day, I sat in mom and dad’s living room and began recalling my childhood Christmases. The subject came up when I told Anna about the time each of my parents thought the other was buying my presents. We call it “the Christmas my parents forgot me.” Their only child. Just one. Me. It’s actually one of my dad’s favorite Christmas stories to tell. Well, besides the one when dad asked me when I was a little girl to tell him if the lights on the tree were working. “Now they are. Now they aren’t. Now they are. Now they aren’t.” I didn’t realize they were blinking lights. My mom, however, hates the story of forgetting me. She was a flight attendant then, and her schedule was crazy. But, dad and I have laughed about that Christmas so many times. I was older, and I got it. I wasn’t hurt or disappointed. But, I laughed. (And, I caught my dad later that day writing a check to stick inside my stocking.) I wasn’t disappointed, because everything I ever could have needed or wanted from my parents I received. I’m not talking about the things. I’m talking about the relationships. The love. The real stuff that doesn’t get old or break or fade.

After I told Anna that story, I began remembering all of my Christmases when I was a little girl. I remembered the Christmas morning I got Dolly Pops. I had wanted those for a solid year. I remember the Christmas where Ken and Barbie were sitting on their Barbie horses, and another Barbie was taking a dip in her pool that mom filled with water. I remembered the Christmas I opened up a my burgundy velvet blazer and navy blue tie. I guess I was channelling my inner Diane Keaton that year. I began to tell my parents and my own children that while I knew my Christmases weren’t “big” by most standards, they always felt big. Dad was pastoring a small church on a very modest income. They couldn’t do the big. But, I told them, “It always felt big. They were the best Christmases.”

I watched tears stream down my mom’s face. Did she not know that they always felt big and were so perfect to me? Did she not know that I never felt slighted growing up but, instead, only loved every part of what the season brought our family? The peace, the smiles, the joys, the laughs, the hugs, the thank-yous, the blinking lights?

Last night, I sat in my own living room with my two oldest children who are hardly children anymore. John Henry looks at me and says, “Mom, can you give my big presents to another kid this year or is that not an option?” Later Anna says, “Mom, last Christmas was great. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone loves presents. But, I don’t want so many gifts taking up our time together.” Then, in her hilarious Donald Trump voice she said, “I’m going to build a wall around the tree and gifts.” (Seriously, her Trump impression rivals only that of Alec Baldwin.)

“I want to make space between the gifts and this,” she said, stretching her arms toward John Henry and me. “There is nothing I need. I just want this.”

Did I not know that my kids simply loved every part of what the season brought our family? The peace, the joys, the laughs, the hugs, the thank-yous, the lights that do not blink? Not the things that get old or break or fade. The relationships. The love. The real stuff.

In all of your hectic shopping, your worry over if you have bought enough, done enough, given enough….Pause, stop, breathe. Your kids will have more than they need or want because of YOU. Because, you laugh in the kitchen together while making Chex-mix. Because, you put away your phones and look them in the eyes and listen to them. Because, you take a break from homework and laundry and cry together watching This Is Us. (Have mercy, that show is everything right now.) Because, they watch you say something encouraging to their dad. Because, they watch their dad bring their mom coffee. Because, they see stockings for John Henry’s dad and step-mom hung at my parents’ house. Because, they see what love looks like. How it walks, how it talks, how it moves, how it pauses, how it gives.

Make space between the gifts and this. Fill that space with everything you are. Fill that space absorbing everything your children are. That’s what a big Christmas looks like. Make space for the season. Make space for the real stuff that doesn’t break. But for the stuff that gets you through your hardest seasons. The stuff that assures you that God is always for you and will not fail you. The stuff that reminds you to always make space for forgiveness, for gratitude, and for loving well. The stuff that reminds you that YOU ARE ENOUGH and you are amazing and you are INSANELY loved. Make space for that stuff. Nothing else matters. It’s all about your relationships. I can assure you of that.

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