“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” We have all hummed this catchy little tune a time or two. It is based on Matthew 5:16. Jesus had just finished healing thousands and giving us the gift of the eight beatitudes. Jesus wasn’t talking about making sure we turned on our porch lights at night. He was talking about letting the Holy Spirit shine brightly within us. The Holy Spirit is sent to each believer to dwell with us. This “glow” means the light within you is how you allow yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit.
That’s right kids. The yeses will build your dreams, your confidence, your income, and your career. The noes will build your character. The noes will teach you to look for an open window when there is no open door. The noes will teach you how valuable your voice really is.
The noes will show who believe in you and your abilities.
The noes will test your resolve.
The noes will test your patience.
The noes will push you to dig deep.
The noes will teach you fear is a reaction.
The noes will teach you courage is a decision.
The noes will make you feel insignificant and unworthy, but my darlings, you are.
The noes will teach you wisdom and build your faith.
The noes will teach you the goodness of life lies in risk taking.
If you want your child, tween or teen to be kind, you’re wasting your breath. Lip service doesn’t do the trick. A recent study suggests parents have to work harder to show that they actually value things like helping an elderly stranger as much as they do getting A’s. Kindness isn’t taught, it’s caught.
Welcome to the mother ‘hood’: Where you will forever be chasing how to be a better mom. Motherhood is a place where you have no control over anything. The time and day no longer matter. Your purse has officially become a dumpster fire. Showering is optional, coffee is not. Sleep will be nonexistent for the next 18 years, and everyone will have an opinion on how you handle the hood. You will repeat yourself a hundred times just to get shoes on. You will never get to pee alone again and now you get to cross your legs when you sneeze.
This should be the official welcome declaration that is read in the tone of the Miranda Rights to every new mother as she waddles to the bathroom in her hospital mesh underwear just after birth.
And I’m recognizing the signs. I’ve done this once before with your sister. She’s twenty-one now and on her own. Even back then, I wasn’t ready. And I thought it would be easier the second time around. But feels so new and fresh again. I can’t find my feet and I feel so wobbly.
It’s time to let go and I’m not ready. But you are. That’s the way of motherhood. Letting go when we don’t want to. I know it’s time. I know you’re growing and becoming.
And sometimes it’s hard for you but more for me; oh darling, hear me out.
For years, I never wanted kids. I didn’t want to be tied down. I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to see the dreams in my heart come to life. I didn’t want to give up my freedom. But, then I dreamed about you.
But that’s the point isn’t it? Friendships are built on gritty, messy, imperfect everyday moments. Friendship like doesn’t happen overnight. And it reminds me what I tell my kids often, “The day you plant a seed is not the day you eat its fruit.” Friendship and community are like that. It’s built on a series of 1,000 little everyday moments, taking the time to invest in someone else. It’s built on answering the phone at 2 a.m. when you’re already exhausted from a teething toddler or a teen who missed curfew. It’s built on showing up for 40th birthday parties, and Juice Plus events.