Thursday, June 13, 2013


I can remember when each of my children were toddlers and were just days away from taking their first steps. They would timidly let go of the table or couch or whatever they had been hanging onto and at the encouragement of me and others watching would put one foot in front of the other and begin to walk. Maybe it was only one step at first, but they would continue to try to take one step and then another until they were walking. Taking steps farther and farther away from me, but always walking back toward me. Never really too far.

And then I began making sure that they would not fall. At first they seemed comforted knowing that I was there in case they lost their footing and ended up landing on their bottoms or falling forward into a piece of furniture or onto the floor. But, after a while they seemed a bit bothered that I seemed to be hovering to make sure that they didn't fall. My husband would encourage me to move away from the boys, especially, to give them the space they needed to explore and possibly fall.

That was hard for me and still is. At 22, 11 and almost 9, they continue to wander farther away from me and I feel like I need to move in closer in case they fall. I don't want there to be bruises or tears. I don't want them to experience the hardships of growing up and making mistakes. I want to be right there, protecting them, catching them when they stumble.

But, I know that I can be there for them without the hovering. That they need to experience life and make mistakes. And I can be there when they fall, wiping away the tears and encouraging them to get right back up and to try again.

I have bruises. I have made mistakes and experienced hardships. I am sure it was not easy for my Heavenly Father to watch me as I wandered away from Him, from the safety of His embrace. But, He lets me explore and challenge the boundaries and suffer the consequences and patiently waits for me to turn back around and into His grace.

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Monday, June 03, 2013


I never imagined that life would be like this. I had grandiose dreams of what married life would be like.....endless hugs and kisses, candlelight dinners and a continual honeymoon. But, when you start married life with three children, dreams and plans change. No one prepared me for married life, let alone married life with two 9 year olds and a 5 year old. Instant family mixed with high expectations meant a lot of work. Entangled with the joy and smiles were heartaches and tears. It was not what I imagined.

Children are born with an empty canvas to hopeful parents that begin to draw upon the backdrop of their lives praying that the strokes are loving and that the picture that is being created is one of stability and that as the paintbrush is handed off, the children will continue to create a masterpiece that is whole and complete and holy.

But, when you begin to parent a child whose canvas you did not start to paint upon there can be strokes that are broken and hurtful, created by a parent that is broken and hurtful. Those strokes can not be erased no matter how hard you try to hide them with new strokes of love, acceptance and grace.

Hurt people, hurt people and no matter how you try to mend a heart or a masterpiece that has been marred, you can not erase the damage already done when you are suddenly given the piece to nurture. The hurtful marks of the biological artist remain.    

And in turn you become the easy mark for the hurtful words and the ugly actions that come from a canvas that has been created by someone selfish. Years of hard work, prayer and perseverance can be erased with a few hours, days or a year of lies, no rules and a material showering of love.

Marriage is hard. Parenting is even harder. Harder than I ever imagined.

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I am not sure how it started. I guess maybe it was a genuine illness at first. Then the teenager babysat a little late on a Saturday night. ...