One of my parenting goals from the beginning has been to embrace each stage as better than the last. Let me tell you, this goal is really being put to the test in this current season. The launching kids out into the world stage does not feel better than the everyone sitting around the table eating, talking, and laughing season. My heart and mind feel confused often. Because God allows us to feel multiple emotions at one time, I can be excited for the adventure and maturity awaiting my kids outside of my home and feel sad about them not being down the hall at night safe and sound in their beds. Life keeps on moving. Even though people told me the days were long and the years were short I didn't really know just how short the years would be. I hear the years just keep getting shorter, too, so I must continue to work to discipline myself to be present, engaged, joy-filled, and purposeful. But it is stinking hard.
So do not fear, do not be dismayed. I will strengthen and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
For I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8
Change happens, indeed. There are only three years between these two photos. We are all smiling, but if you could read the story through each and every moment between the lines you would see joy, pain, laughter, doubts, success, failure, hurt, apologies, time spent well, time wasted, family together time moved into launching them out time. All of it combined is the change that continues to lead all six of us to become who God intends for us to be as individuals and as family. Chad and I seek to be good, good parents as an example to them of God as the good, good Father. He never freaks out in the midst of all our human changes, so I'm on my knees asking him to help me not to freak out, to be steadfast in him, and overflow with thankfulness and security when it all seems quite wobbly.
I have two tattoos symbolizing my family. The one on my leg is a good representation of the family season. We are all stars surrounded by a swirl of community support and togetherness. The one on my arm represents Psalm 127, my quiver full of arrows. We spend intentional time to craft and hone each arrow to be unique, to love God, and to love people. When you shoot them off, you pray so hard they will fly straight. The permanent marks on my body represent the permanent prayers of my life. I pray my life demonstrates deep love for my family and the ability to launch them well. I long for them to continue to love God with all their hearts as he shows them how to love and serve people. May it be so, Jesus.