About 15 years ago I led a small group of sweet teenage girls.  We talked about big things like having a boyfriend, moms who didn't understand, pimples and lack of curves, and was God in the middle of it all?

As we discussed the age old topic of faith, I told the girls everyone has to choose. You can be raised in a house that does it all right, gets those sleepy teenagers between two pews every week. Make sure they don't leave the house wearing skirts too short, or compromise with the boy who's happy to use them, just to have someone to go to the football game with. Say no at the party when everyone else is saying yes.

You can push and shove and beg and pray, that they will choose what you've chosen for them. At some point they have to choose it too, or it never really was theirs to begin with.

Lay it down.

It's terrifying.

You stand by and pray hard while they consider their options. If they pick it back up, make it their own, then it's theirs. Their faith, their convictions, their standards, their line drawn in the sand that they won't stick a toe over. At least most of the time.

You come to grips with the fact that you can't be there all the time, make every decision, protect them from everything in the world, including - and maybe especially - themselves. Some would call that 'letting God be God.'

You try to let that awkward, not sure, boy in a man's body, 'choose whom this day'.... when you're not sure he'll even choose to study for his Spanish test.

It's like that first time you let them cross the street by themselves, ride their bike to the store, or ride home with their best friend who just got their license, and everything in you is screaming 'here, let me look both ways, watch for traffic, strap you in.'

I never got to the point where it felt good.

There were moments, weeks, months when I wouldn't have bet money on how it was all going to turn out. Back then we were all growing up at the same time. Not a pretty sight. Praise be to God, all three of ours picked it back up and made it their own.

Answer to prayers sent up for years on end, that often felt like giving birth to them all over again, your husband wiping the sweat from your brow, holding your hand while the doctor said "push."Prayers that consisted entirely of 'God, do you know who they're dating? Who they chose as a best friend? What I've heard?'

Mostly in spite of our best efforts, a gracious God watched over them, shaped them, til it became their creed to live by, their center, and this mama is blessed to see it now being handed down to their little ones. Ones who are getting teeth they'll have to grow into, or any teeth, who will possibly pass their mamas and daddys up in height and questions asked, and eventually choose for themselves.

In the second half of life, I'm learning that choosing process never ends. Considering other options. After three years, to the day, of living this lifestyle that was somewhat chosen for me - in the middle of nowhere, forty minutes from milk and bread, fighting fire ants, feral hogs, coyotes, skunks, snakes, and such - sometime in the past year I took it all off. Put it down, and considered it anew.

I've picked it back up, made it my own. Life seen from the backside of a camera lens has helped me see the beauty around me.

See beyond fire ants and feral hogs and an always empty gas tank.

Hear coyotes serenading us, and nothing else,  at night from our porch - and know it's a gift.

Watch the car or van pull up, and kids pour out, running to our house ready to start their lake adventure.

Be surrounded by nature and beauty instead of traffic and noise and more stores than I'll ever need.

Thankful for a gracious God who is so patient with us, when His blessings are right in front of our nose,

but we still miss them. And thanks to Stephanie, who puts it this way:

Live the life you love, love the life you live. 


Kelli said…

I am enjoying this new adventure, learning at the feet of women who have gone before me.

Thank you for being one of those women at whose feet I can sit, and listen, and learn. said…
Beautiful words and photos!
Barb said…
I love this. Just love it.

And I love all your photos but most especially the photo of our mom. xo
It may have been awhile, but I found you once again. Barb was sweet enough to post a link. Of course, maybe you change your blog all the time so you can avoid the likes of me. Whatever that would be. LOL!!

Love the pictures and I love the wisdom you've gained from the Lord. It's not easy, but He's always there. Mine are 19 and 18 now, so this was a wonderful word to hear.

I'm trying to get back to blogging. I miss it. We'll see if I can pull it back together.
Maria said…
Beautiful photos and reflections. I've got my 18 year old twins living away from home at different colleges. One following the Lord, one not. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement.
Karen said…
I LOVE this!! Love and blessings, Karen
Toni said…
Sweet amen to that.
Nancy said…
I love this. Such a gifted writer...

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