Two hours of sweating and screaming and pushing and then . . .
She was born. My beautiful Ella was out of me and in the world, and all of life was about to change.
I couldn’t hold her though. I was shaking and exhausted and hot and cold. Jesse took her.
After a few minutes, the nurse placed her gently on my chest, and I held her close and cried. She was a wonder, and I was in awe.
Over the next few days I would stare at her and think, How could anyone not believe in God? Life is so incredible.
Each phase of her growth was lovely to me. Watching her discover something new, or say a word, or crawl, or giggle was all so fascinating to me. She was this little human who needed me, but who was going to grow into her own person with thoughts and opinions and a personality all her own. Who would she be? What was inside of her? What color had God put into her very soul? The fact that I had a front-row seat to this human’s life was wild to me.
Within the next few years, two more new lives came along, and with each one I was completely and utterly amazed. I was tired all the time, and being responsible for three little ones was tough, but there was still the wonder of it all. I was responsible for taking care of these precious ones, making sure to nurture them and teach them about the world and give them what they needed to be healthy and loved. It’s a serious thing to raise a life.
Welcome to the world, little humans; I am your guide.
I will show you how to navigate this great big, wondrous, sometimes-overwhelming world. I will do my best, but I’m still walking through it and figuring it out, as well. At least we’re in it together.
Parenting is a crazy thing, isn’t it? While trying not to lose our minds in the responsibility and sleeplessness of it all, we are also the ones who are teaching and training and helping our little people to understand and be somewhat healthy in this world, adding beauty to it, and making it a better place. We are not taught how to do this, at least most of us aren’t. I don’t remember taking any Raising Humans 101 classes, do you?
And even if there were, this raising of intricate souls who have their own bents and colors and gifts and sin is complicated. How do I do this parenting thing well, when most of the time I’m faltering at my own life?
But I’ll tell you, I long to give this parenting role my best—understanding that my best will often be a bit of a mess, but at least I will try. I will give myself to the work, to the season, and I will—I can only—surrender myself to the Lord and ask for His grace as I learn to parent in a good way.
Dear Lord, help us all.
There are days when I feel so out of control with parenting. It can be overwhelming thinking about my responsibility to raise my children so that they can navigate life and in turn be life-givers to the world. I not only want them to know about the God who made them, loves them, and has a purpose for their time on this earth; I want them to be productive human beings—giving, serving, loving, and communicating intelligently with others. I want to prepare them for surviving in a sin-infested world. I want them to be Kingdom-bearers and influencers for good.
The fact is, there is so much beauty and goodness in the world and in people, but there is also a tremendous amount of darkness. I want my children to be light; my hope is that they will know and love the Father and then know and love others. But even if they never make a personal commitment to Him, I still want to have the assurance that I invested my life in caring for and building good things into their hearts, minds, and souls so they can live well—so they can live fully. As much as I believe that they will never live full lives without them knowing the One who places the fullness of light and life in us, I want them to know I love them no matter what.
There is nothing they could do or say that would make me love them more or make me love them less. Could I be disappointed or even brokenhearted over choices they may make? Of course. I have no greater prayer than that my children walk in the truth. But they are my babies, and they always will be. It’s my job—my opportunity—to love them, honor them, and nurture these individuals whom God made them to be. It’s not about my agenda for their lives; it’s looking deep into them, discovering who they are and where they shine, and helping to pull their God-given gifts out and develop them.
What a joy it is to help a fellow human being, created in the image of God and loved by Him so dearly, uncover and help cultivate his or her potential.
You just read an excerpt from Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure…Right Where She Is (which is on sale now for only $2.99 on Amazon Kindle). It’s a book about the longings of our soul and how to see God in the midst of this hard, beautiful, complicated, crazy life. It’s also about delight. My stories and my own unfolding and discovering lead the way, but it’s also for you, the weary ones, the dreaming ones, the ones who want to make sense of the tension between longings and reality. And yes, there is some parenting in there as well, because it’s all a part of soul work.
I pray that the words in these pages will bring you relief where you are thirsty and a hand to hold and uplift you where you are weary.
We do not walk alone.
If you have some soul questions to work out, if you have some unmet dreams, if you want to delight in your life deep down, I’ll be a friend who walks alongside you.
With love, Sarah Mae
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