New Adventures

Today our sixth grader graduates from the only school she has ever known. We toured the middle school this week and participated in a Step Up Day where the other sixth graders at the school also walked through a day as a seventh grader. Changing classes every period will be different for all of them. Crowded hallways will be very different for my girl.

Isabella’s class has essentially been together since kindergarten, and they are like brothers and sisters to each other. It is hard for her at the moment to conceive of the adventure before her. It feels unknown, a little scary, definitely uncomfortable. I experienced these same feelings as an eighth grader starting a non-traditional school, as a tenth grader moving from a small private school to a huge public school, as a 17 1/2 year old moving six hours away from her parents and family.

There are so many transitions in those school years and more that come through life and jobs and marriage and children. Sometimes it feels like things change every time you get comfortable with where they are. My sweet daughter is just beginning to experience the life changes that will come. I want her to learn the comforting fact that the God who created her and knows her better than she knows herself can be trusted. She can rely on Him to meet her every need through this big change in her life. She can depend on Him to meet her every need through every change in her life, big and small. I am still working on learning this lesson as life hasn’t stopped throwing curveballs my way yet. 🙂 I believe we keep learning how to trust our God more and more, in new and deeper ways as we grow in our faith.

I am so thankful that I can point her to the One who will be there for her without fail. I am by her side, but I am human. I am with her as much as my flesh will allow, but He is with her when it’s not possible for me to be there. As we celebrate this accomplishment and prepare for the future, I know there is no better lesson I could instill deep in her heart.

Congratulations, Isabella!! You make us proud, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭56:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭56:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Summer Is Coming and Time Keeps Ticking

My Kindergartener six years ago when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Six years ago, this sweet girl was finishing kindergarten. Today, she has one week left until sixth grade graduation.

Six years ago, my youngest was 9 months old. Today, she is about to finish first grade.

Six years ago, I was a stay at home mom with three little ones. Today, I have two part-time jobs and flexibility to drop them off and pick them up from school every day.

Six years ago, I was dreading summer. I got comfortable with having two kids at home most of the day. I was scared of the weeks and weeks stretching before me that all three kids would be home with me all day. Every day. I was overwhelmed at the prospect of SOMUCHTIME.

Every summer since then, I have experienced a similar anxiety as summer inches closer and the school year draws to a close. I did my best to get out of the house with the kids, to not always be stuck in those four walls and the one acre of space we call home. I need breaks, and it was good to go and do things, enjoying the weather and the freedom of summer with no coats/hats/boots. But taking three kids anywhere is…stressful. Intense. Mind meltingly loud and crazy. So sometimes I avoided it and just stayed home. Which was also mind meltingly loud and crazy, to be honest.

I survived those six summers. This year, as the school year nears its end and summer stretches out in front of us, I find myself irrationally calm about it all. One thing I recall from last summer is that it went by so quickly. It wasn’t easy (can we just not revisit spring/summer 2020, please?). But it was gone in a flash. I have enough summers under my belt to now realize that this one will feel the same way. I know it won’t likely be easier, but I know from experience that it will be short.

Time is ticking, it’s flying by me, and every time I try to grab it, slow it down, take a pause, it’s too fast for me. I can’t control it, but I can appreciate it while it is here. I feel like I’m getting closer to that point. I am grateful to have time in the summer to spend with my kids while they still want to hang out with me.

Just remind me of this post in about mid-July, okay?

Tough and Tender

I remember being told in Bible college that a life of ministry would require a tough skin and a tender heart. It’s pretty applicable for all of life, actually. I have heard it said that, as we age, we become more of what we already are. The kind person becomes kinder, the wise person becomes wiser. The cranky person becomes crankier, and the hardened heart becomes harder. Without the hope of Jesus who changes hearts, I can see how this is true.

When I think of tough and tender, I’m reminded of a good medium rare steak. To get a good crust on a steak, high heat is required. I have found that those times of high heat in my life, the really challenging circumstances and seasons have actually softened me inside. There are times when I respond wrong, and that grief over my sun and repentance that follows softens my heart toward other sinners. It has kept me humble and reminded me that there is always more to the story than what we can see. I also find compassion for others experiencing similar circumstances. My brokenness has given me deep compassion for others who are broken as well.

The toughness comes when I see what God has brought me through. That thing I didn’t think I would survive? I survived it. I’m still standing, and by His grace, I will survive the current one as well. I’m still not as tough as I want to be. I don’t want to be hurt by the little things, I want to find my identity in Him and not in the opinions of others. I am still working on these things. I have not yet arrived, but I press on.

Do you let the circumstances of life soften you inside? Are you growing more compassionate and caring toward others? Do you seek to know God and walk in Him so that you have a tough skin toward things that would seek to harm you or distract you from your focus? Today I am praying that you will seek both the toughness and the tenderness we need as followers of Jesus.

“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:10-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬