Wednesday, September 10, 2014


One of my favorite things to do with my boys is to read books to them.  It doesn't matter if I've read it a thousand times before or none.  If they bring me a book, asking to be read to, it is really hard for me to say no. 

This is handy, because it seems like anywhere I turn, someone is encouraging me to read to my child: the doctor, the pre-school teachers, the grandmas (who were/are school teachers), websites, bloggers, etc.  I'll take all the positive reinforcement I can get.

Reading promotes the bond between reader and hearer, encourages literacy, and stimulates the brain in unique ways.  Reading expands our experiences.  Reading gives us a frame of reference.  Reading is exciting and interactive.  And the bonus is that good stories are really enjoyable--even when they're written for a four year old.

And, I hope for my boys that reading serves as a precursor to knowledge, and that knowledge will pave the way to wisdom.

It's funny thinking about the wisdom of a toddler and preschooler.  It might come in the form of a fear of bees, knowing that bees sting, and knowing that they want to avoid the pain a sting would bring.  It might come in the form of a "sweet face," knowing that sweetness generally melts their parents into a buttery mess of saying okay to whatever question is accompanied by such a face.  

It's a little tricky thinking about the wisdom of parents. What form does it take?  Are the wise the ones who read the most books?  Are the wise the ones who keep the most rigorous schedule?  Are the wise the ones who research the best school for their child?

Nope. None of those, according to God.  It seems as though the wisest ones are the ones who are humble about their own wisdom, and dependent on God for his.

But true wisdom and power are found in God;
    counsel and understanding are his. Job 12:13

The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; 
to forsake evil is real understanding. Job 28:28

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, 
fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:7

Perhaps the best way that we can instill wisdom in the children God has given us is not to emphasize how smart they are or how many books they like to read in one sitting, but to help them understand the massiveness of God's wisdom compared to the tinniness of the things they know.

I'm learning to be okay with not being all that wise. It's a work in progress.  As I journey, I take great comfort in knowing that I have unsearchable storehouses of wisdom on my team.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. 
He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


To arrive.

Images of success and completion come to mind, or making it to one's destination after a long journey, or getting to the place where you wanted to be. 

To arrive.

It seems as though we try to break down life into segments of arrivals.

For my preschooler, it is getting to the end of a long day and snuggling down in his bed next to his seven favorite stuffed animals. Or it is getting to go on the donut date with Daddy that they've been anticipating for weeks. Arriving is comfortable.

For my toddler, it is pulling into our garage and yelling, "Home!" Or it is successfully getting his shorts on all by himself. Arriving is joyous.

I grew up with the unconscious notion that there would be a time when I would "arrive." And I would be comfortable and full of joy... When I would get married. When I would establish a career. When I would become a mom. There was a notion deep in me that with those things would come a cease from striving and straining, a peace from the struggle against an unmet desire.

But just like the phenomenon of feeling like you were very grown up in 8th grade until you experience high school, and just like you feel grown up in high school until you experience college, I find myself in the midst of realizing how much more I need to grow. 

God is bringing to light the depth of growing and striving and straining and struggling that is ahead of me.

I will never "arrive" as a wife. The longer I am married, the more I feel this truth. I will continually have areas where I can improve. My love and I will struggle as we experience hard life situations. We will strive toward the goal of a relationship that is pleasing to God and each other. We will grow as we are challenged to love each other as God loves.  But there is no arriving: just striving, straining, struggling, and growing.

And I'm starting to realize that I will never arrive as a mom (so I'm a little slow sometimes...). As I hear the concerns of moms who are twice my age, it is strikingly obvious that there is no arriving in motherhood. There are constantly new battles to fight. There are endless areas of improvement. There is an unending morphing of the relationship between mother and child as years go by. Striving, straining, struggling, growing: yes. Arriving: no. 

These things in my life, these areas of growing, these never-completed roles keep me humble.  And they keep me focused.

Focused on arriving in a place with no more need for striving, straining, struggling or growing.  There is ONE place where I can truly arrive, and that will be my final home.  Heaven. Safe in my Father's arms.  Free from the sin that prohibits completion.  Free from the straining and striving.  Settled and complete. 

In the midst of feeling incompetent or incapable as a wife and mom, in the midst of feeling like the growing pains are too much to take, this is a beautiful truth. Oh, my heart yearns for it. And I thank God for the hope that arriving brings.

I yearn for my boys to know it.  Somedays, I am tempted to talk about next year with more passion than I use to talk about eternity. But instead of making a big deal about a new shoe size or tick on the height chart, I want to draw their eyes to how they are maturing in their forgiveness or how they are growing by leaps and bounds in the way they show love to others around them. I pray that God can use me teach them that the importance of their failures and successes is measured by the way in which those experiences prepare their hearts for eternity.

 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14

Someday, there will be a cease to this journey.  Someday, there will be an intimacy that doesn't need tweaking or redefining. In a beautiful mess, the growing we do here points us to the arriving that we will enjoy there.

This vision is for a future time.
    It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
    for it will surely take place.

    It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3