Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Last night, after I put Leighton to bed, I went in to say goodnight to my older girls who share a room. Leah was out cold but Rivers was still awake. She asked me to cuddle with her a few minutes so I climbed up to her top bunk. So glad I did. Often, especially at the end of long days, you just want to go crash and often times I do. But sometimes I crawl into bed and listen to them tell me random things about school or friends or what they will be when they grow up. You know, the good stuff I am probably missing as my husband and I watch “Swamp People” on the History Channel (It’s like a train wreck and you have to watch these men catch these alligators and before you know it you are familiar with the characters…Oh Lord!!)
Last night, as Rivers told me about a couple of new girls she met at school on the playground, she shared how they asked if she was a girly-girl or a tomboy (this is a child who tried a chocolate covered insect during “Green Kids Club” at school). Rivers said at first she told them she was a girly-girl but then she said no, I am more of a tomboy. I told her this is what I think is so special and great about her! She is herself! A mix of lip gloss and a handful of worms! To this my amazing seven-year-old daughter said…Yeah, I really enjoy being me.
Oh how my heart took flight. I don’t think I have ever heard words from her lips that blessed me more. My daughter enjoys being herself…the wonderful mix of qualities that makes her “Rivers.” There are so many days when I fret about my mothering and pray strenuous prayers and over and over God has to tell me to chill out, basically. To lean into Him and let Him be my focus. Otherwise, I am concerned with how they may struggle or the effects of my mistakes as a mom. Some days I declare inwardly I will not write another word on this blog because I will not ever write in pretense. Then someone speaks an encouraging word to me about my writing…a mom stops me at preschool and says, girl keep writing that blog I am reading! And in my strain and striving I am reminded to focus on His strength. His power. His goodness. Like a magnifying glass, whatever we focus on gets bigger. I am reminded my desire and ability to write out and share my heart comes from Jesus. I couldn’t conjure it up if I tried. I am reminded, lying on the top bunk with my blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl, that her cheerful heart is like good medicine. Along the way in the rushing and impatience of getting ready for school and the snappy mama moments, the other stuff gets in, too. “God made you girls special…He has a great plan for your life…Always be yourself and let your light shine.” As parents, we want to be perfect but that is an impossible goal and will leave us with a broken spirit…sapped of strength and joy when we can’t reach it. Instead we can trust God with our weakenesses, focus on His power and love in our lives, and rest that God is big and having His way in our children as He has His way in us.
Rivers…one day when you are much older you will probably read this blog of mine. All those times you ask what I’m writing and I try to explain…know how today, March 16th, 2012 I am full of gratitude and joy that you enjoy being you! I enjoy you being you, also! And I pray that when one day you read these words you still are enjoying being you. I whole-heartedly believe God means for us to enjoy being ourselves and yet most of us have such trouble doing so. Because you like who God made you to be, you are free to share your cheerful heart with the world around you…and I know you will change that world. Love you forever, Mom.