Come along

Wherever Lauren and I went this morning, a ragtag band of stuffed animals were invited to come along.

The caravan started while playing in Lauren’s room. We were having a “picnic” on the floor, and Lauren’s philosophy was the more the merrier. So, Elmo, Cheer Bear, Rapunzel, and giraffe, puppy and dinosaur friends joined us and the picnic became a party. When we moved the fun to the living room, Lauren decided to bring her friends, too. It took a few trips, but soon they were all settled in watching Super Why.

Lauren hanging out with her stuffed animal friends

Bringing friends along is worth the effort.

It is easy to get caught up in your own life and family and schedule, and soon it all revolves around you. But, God has placed people He cares about deeply all around you, inside and outside of your family, and God intends for you to bring them along.

Most of us understand that as Christians our lives are on display, but much of the time this holds a somewhat negative connotation that causes us to work to protect ourselves or just feel guilty about the reality of where we are in our relationship with Jesus compared to where we think it should be. So instead of getting right with God and shining our light without shame, we work to build curtains inside our fish bowls.

Today, our party started in a messy room, passed through a kitchen with dirty dishes that didn’t make it into the dishwasher last night and landed in the living room where the carpet technically needs vacuumed. And, everyone had a great time! Just as my house will never be completely clean, my life is not perfect. But that doesn’t mean I don’t welcome people over to my home and shouldn’t share the love and good news Christ has given me.

Jesus wants me to bring my friends along as I learn and grow and stumble and succeed in my faith. Through it all, God has promised to never leave me or forsake me, so when I invite friends to join me, even to hang out or to go grocery shopping, they get to be in the company of Jesus. I’ve been amazed at what God can do through a simple text, an invitation in passing or a conversation over dinner at home.

Just as Lauren brought her furry friends around with her this morning, I am praying for God’s guidance to be more intentional about bringing along the people He has placed around me.

First day

After his first morning of preschool, Jackson sits on a bench outside the elementary school to show me the ocean he made.

There is nothing like first days to drive you to your knees.

Jackson began preschool today, and like most moms I think I was just as nervous as him. It is a wonderful and aching feeling to watch your child grow up. As we prayed together in the car before going into the school, hearing my son talk to his Heavenly Father was so precious. He walked bravely through the halls to his classroom, though I know he was a little scared, and marched right up to his teacher to inform her of a few things before he went off to play. Snapping a few photos of him wearing his new backpack felt so momentous.

I could tell I wasn’t the only mom who was definitely looking forward to seeing her baby, I mean preschooler, and hearing about their first day, as we all stood outside the school waiting to pick them up mid-day. The class came streaming out to open arms and hugs and kisses, as they all clamored to share their stories of the morning.

As we have been preparing for this day, I have found myself praying more and more fervently for my son as he enters this new world:

  • that God would guard his heart and keep it tender for what is true, noble, right, pure,  lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
  • that Jackson would be kind, friendly and polite to those around him.
  • that his friends would be positive influences in his life, and that God would protect those children and bring their moms and dads into a saving relationships with Him.
  • that God would strengthen and shower his teacher with wisdom, patience and grace.
  • that his teacher would help Jackson to learn and encourage his curiosity and creativity.
  • that Jackson would know, more than ever, that God is with him and loves him.

As the years pass, and first days of school come and go, I know my heart will echo these prayers again and again.

Jackson and me getting ready to leave for his first day of preschool, and after four years we still love being cheek to cheek!

Jackson and me on my first Mother's Day in 2007. As most parents will say, I can't believe how fast they grow up!