The long days of {a mother’s} summer

Thoughts on a world full of tragedy

School took place from late August until the end of May, but summer was when you got your education.

It was July of 1994 and we were free.  A two-wheeled Huffy gave my brother and I all the freedom we could ever need.  We’d bike down 2 streets and knock at the door of my brother’s friend, then zigzag on to the next house, our numbers growing each time.

An empty acre of grass beckoned — for 2 hours I was one of the boys.  Sitting in deep centerfield, I alternated between catching fly balls and picking weeds.  We’d stop at home and rummage through Dad’s change jar for dimes so we could buy ourselves a nutritious lunch of Jo-Jos from the corner market- 10 cents a piece.

Those were the glory days.  We owned our time and felt as though we owned the world, nevermind we had $12.87 in our piggy banks and ate Ritz crackers as though they were a staple of survival.

We knew nothing but living life.  


 

It is 22 years later and the Ohio humidity hasn’t changed one bit.  I’m now the proud owner of two vehicles, 4 bikes and enough Chinese plastic in my garage that know that while I may not own the world, I certainly own enough of it’s junk.

The news is heavy again.

Before I’ve had my toast, my newsfeed reminds me these are dark days.  There is hate and violence and death.  How long, Oh Lord?

I’m not the little sister anymore, I’m the mom to a little girl and her two older brothers.  And while the day-to-day parenting doesn’t change, the times feel like they have.

Maybe the incidents of violence have not increased, but the 24-hour news reminds us everyday of the sad state of our hearts.

Orlando.  Nice.  Dallas.  Minneapolis.

The kids are engrossed with Teletubbies so I take my coffee up the stairs and turn on the TV in my bedroom.  I’m not ready for my children to know these things– to hear the manner in which so many lives were lost.

The truth- Motherhood changes your perspective.  Men that were killed, those are your husband.  How do you explain this to your children? An 11-year old run over by a truck?  How do you wrap your head around the sick soul that ended the lives of 10 children?  Mothers weep for the mothers who have lost a piece of their heart.


Olen cape

It’s 4 pm and the baby is up from her nap and we’re in the backyard.  It is the heat of the day.  The blondie’s cheeks turn a bright shade of red.

I watch him swing higher and higher.  He’s learned how to get himself started, to pump his legs.  His t-shirt cape flaps in the wind.  He is 4 years old, but just like his momma once felt, he knows he owns the world.

I pray, “Oh God, help me to focus on this moment.  The joy.  The element of carefree.”

My nature is the nurture them in tighter.  To hold on.  To stay in and hide them from the bad that can happen.

Are my children worried?  Do they know?  Do we change our outlook when we step away from social media and Dateline and the “Summer of Chaos” and instead look at the summer through the eyes of our children?

My children trust in us (their parents) for their safety and then fully enjoy their life.  I too, can trust my Heavenly Father and then go forth.  Be free.  If I’m living for heaven and not for today, I have nothing to fear- for myself or my children.

The long days of summer just got a little sweeter.

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Hey Christians, do you really value life?

Dear Christian,

I see you wearing a pro-life shirt, yet you scowl when I sit next to you at the restaurant.

You see, that baby turns into a squirmy, squealing 17-month old.  She’s full of movement and determined to never lose to her older brothers.

I hear you joke that you’re glad your hotel room isn’t next to mine.  And then wonder if I’m maybe a Catholic or a Mormon.

I’m not, but I love Jesus.  You know, the guy who said, “Let the little children come to me.”

value life

 

 

Having three kids in four years has proved one thing to me- that most Christians don’t really support life.

Sorry.

Have we forgotten that babies grow up–  and to support life you have to like babies, and toddlers, and sassy preschoolers?   Maybe what you really support is women having babies because it makes you feel better about yourself?!  Oh, Pharisee!

 

This isn’t easy for me, either.

Somedays I want a break.  A vacation.  A quiet house.

I forget that when I love on my kids and teach them grace and love and mercy, that I’m literally doing the Lord’s work.

I forget that when I spend extra time to do all those little things- brush teeth, wash behind ears, cart them to the grocery store and swim lessons and homeschool outings, that I’m investing in them the way that Jesus invests in me.

There have been days I have wished them away so I could JUST get my house tidier and my toenails painted.

We’re on this journey TOGETHER.

 

I don’t want you to babysit.  Or offer empathy.

I want you just to stop.  Hold your comments.

Maybe chew on this,

“Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3 NIV).

 

Not every Christian needs to have 19 children.  Or even 3.

The disobedience lies in our hearts.

 

Do we love children?

Do we value the next generation?

Do we value Christ’s view of children?

 

I’m so thankful the Lord  blessed me with these three little hearts.  They have revealed my own selfishness and my wicked heart in regards to children.  I pray that your heart will reconsider your actions towards children (and the moms and dads doing the hard work to raise them up)!

 

In Christ,

Leah

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