Julia: More than 13 years ago I delivered my first child, Evie. I was in my early 20s and felt totally unqualified for the job of mom. Human babies come out so completely incapable of protecting or fending for themselves and so INCREDIBLY needy. I remember being completely shocked that babies got up during the night more than once, like every two hours!
Today I’m standing eye to eye with my daughter, and she’s borrowing my shoes. How my insecurities have changed! She is more than halfway through her adolescent life and what have I taught her? Is there enough time in the world to teach all she will need to know to be safe and successful in this life? Now I’m freaking out. I look back at all those wasted moments where I wasn’t holding her face to mine, explaining how to create lasting friendships or her investment portfolio. Even now, the topics are infinite. How do you prepare someone when you don’t know what life will throw at them?
Evie: While my mom panics over a quart of Rocky Road, here’s a couple things I appreciate about her. My mom is not afraid to talk to me, and I’m not afraid to talk to her. The thing I love most about my mom is that all the respect that I give her, she returns just as much. She doesn’t treat me like a stupid little kid. She respects me as a maturing “young woman.” I can’t imagine her treating me any differently when I grow up. She helps with all the problems I can’t solve on my own. She always finds a way to make me laugh. She comforts me and lets me be weird around her. My mom isn’t always 100% on my side, but that’s a good thing. She lets me learn from my mistakes and from hers, teaching me to take responsibility for my actions. When I mess up, she takes me back as if it never happened. She’s not perfect. No one is. But my mom is sitting right by God, shaping me into a great person.
Julia: This must be exactly what my mom was experiencing when she said the day before I got married, “I haven’t taught you anything.” My response was, “Mom, you taught me all I need to know to get through today. Tomorrow will take care of itself, and I have faith you will be there to help the rest of the way.” Maybe I should listen to the wisdom of my 23-year-old self and have faith that for as long as God allows, I will be there for Evie whenever she needs me. But ultimately He is the answer to all a mother’s prayers.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105
Will, Ronan and Arielle were running around the worship center as their dad and I were rehearsing for the upcoming service. In an effort to keep them occupied, I gave Will and Ronan our phones, encouraging them to use the flashlight to find “hidden treasures” in the rows of seats (keeps them busy, helps clean the church = win-win).
The house lights were down as dramatic music cued the beginning of my solemn monologue. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the flashlights in the bleacher seats as my three- and eight-year-old ran along the top row. Half way down, my two-year-old was trying to come down the stairs but instead of shining the flashlight on the path ahead, he was shining it in his face. “Dear Lord, please just don’t let him fall.” I looked back at my prompter and rushed through my lines, glancing over at every pause. Surely he will turn the light around instead of struggling to find the next step down.
Miraculously he remained uninjured—but he also only advanced two steps. The verse in Psalms about God’s word being a lamp to my feet came to mind.
And I wondered if I do this to Jesus. How often to I allow His light and wonder to shine in my face but not influence my choices? What’s the point of having a flashlight in a dark room if you never use it to help you find the places you could be going?