There is something about being challenged. I hesitate to challenge myself sometimes because I know the work it takes. I know the things it opens up. I know the faith it takes to see the outcome. Challenging yourself takes obedient steps forward, even though you are comfortable in the present. It takes your life being opened up to others. It takes experiences. It takes vulnerability.
Being challenged is something that can be hard as a parent to instill in your children. When I look back to the first few months of school and Audrey’s hesitation of a new beginning and new friends, it took everything in me to not hold her hand and protect her from all her fear. In those first few months, each morning presented the same drop off routine. She would cry. I would have to let her go all the while assuring her all this will give her the ability to make new friends, be open to new situations in the future and give her the tools to face fear on her own, with out mommy.
Now, Audrey is a bottle of confidence. She has made sweet friendships, tried new things and tells family and friends of her happiness with our family’s move. I pray I can continue to help guide her on the tools she needs in life to be in new situations and not always have mommy shielding her from everything. I pray she is challenged in situations where she has to decide yes or no. I pray that she has the foundation of faith, so when the going gets tough, she doesn’t run to affairs, drugs, alcohol or a mans approval on social media but to God, the only man she truly needs in her life. I pray she becomes a Godly woman because of her challenges, even though it will break my heart if she ever experiences any of the above. In the book ” Walk Two Moons” there is a quote that states, “You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair”. I hope Audrey will choose to take the “birds of sadness” through her life and use them to strengthen her instead of letting them nest in her hair.
Parker grabs my heart in a different way. Multiple times a day that child tells me I am the perfect mom, how much he loves me and how he will never stop loving me. Being the youngest, it is a little harder for me to put him into life’s challenges. He is the baby, my baby There is something about the bond between a mother and son. Maybe its because I know one day he will meet his wife and I won’t be his first love anymore. So, I am soaking up all the time I can while desperately praying for who he marries. However, that overprotective love doesn’t get Parker anywhere. He develops dependence when I am around and is often not challenged. It doesn’t grow him.
This past month I was challenged with a question from a book I’m reading about the love we have for God titled, “Crazy Love”. I highly recommend this book. It challenged my faith in a way I didn’t know it needed challenged. The question was, “if Heaven had all your loved ones, no sin, bitterness, jealousy, guilt, the perfect city with everything you wanted, no suffering, no more tears, all that heaven is according to the book of Revelations, but didn’t have God, would you still want to go?”
Crickets. Scared to answer? The fact I had to think about it, challenged me.
I wanted God to say, that’s ok Dana, I know you still love me. But, that is not what was said. Being 35 ( Audrey told me I should leave my age out of the blog or people would think I am old:) I am daily challenged in my faith. I wish I could say it has all been easy but it hasn’t. There has been suffering, loss and realizations on life and people that I wished I never experienced. But…….it has brought me to love deeper than I ever knew possible. It has brought me to appreciate every single moment and the beauty and divine things around me. It has caused my eyes to open and to be loved in ways that I would have never allowed happen before. It has brought me to absolute gratitude in so many situations that I never would have seen the thankfulness before. It has brought so many amazing individuals into my life which I cannot even comprehend the depths of our relationships and connections.
I think about the long distance David and I experienced the year before we were married. I could not wait to move. It wasn’t the house, or the home he was making for us. It was him. I loved him and wanted to be were he was.
That is how it should be with God and Heaven. Yes, I want to go to this place called Heaven. Who wouldn’t? But, I want to learn more about this God that was and is the beginning and end. The God that is making this place for me because his love for me is something my human mind cannot possibly comprehend., I ask… How much do you love God? How much do you know God? Is your faith about the heaven after? Or the heart behind it? The one that loves you unconditionally? Or the one that simply wants your love back?
As we were driving a couple days ago, Parker said……Mommy, I have forgotten Jesus.
(Brakes) What Parker? How is that?
Because Mommy, I can’t stop thinking about God.
Steps by Faith,