lean in to your kids

Ever since my boys were strong enough to hold their sister, they’ve posed like this for pictures. I’m guessing our collection of photos goes back to ages 6, 4, and 2. Nowadays, having the three of them together is a rarity, so I always insist on capturing the moment on camera.

As our families grow older, and time creates distance and space, we mommas need something more tangible than our memories to fill our heart space. Something about the constancy and predictability of tradition infuses a deep sense of peace, strength, and assurance within us—all sentiments hard to come by in today’s broken world. As we all continue to witness, evil seems to carry the same certainty, but drains us of the surety we desperately need.

It’s so important for us to hold on to every moment of assuredness when it’s right in front of us, then press the contentment deep into the crevices of our heart. When we are mindful and breathe in this life-giving energy, we build up reserves for us to call upon on the tough days when nothing in this life makes sense.

Tomorrow’s fate is unknown by earthly standards. The only true constant is God’s love. And we see and feel this love through our relationships with other people, the strongest ties within our family. God gifted us with each other, human beings with His Divine image in our hearts able to connect with this same image in others…deep calling unto deep.

As I look at my grown kids, I realize how fragile their lives are—already rocked to their cores by a horrific school shooting at their high school back in 2012. No human being deserves to experience such terror and trauma, let alone a child. Yet, the number of people who do continues to rise. My mom heart breaks into pieces with every new story because the pain and fear still runs through my veins.

Yet, here my kids stand in this photo. Survivors. Smiles illuminating their faces, igniting a resonance of joy and content in my mom heart. Love abounds, you can see it. My boys, both pillars of strength for my daughter, and she a lightness of spirit for their worlds. All three a balm for my beleaguered soul.

Moms, take a long look at your kids today. Peer into their eyes if you have them with you, see their soul, feel God’s presence. Look with love at your spouse, parents, friends, acquaintances. This is the lifeline God gives all of humanity, the oxygen we need to survive. Because, wherever the Spirit of the Lord is present, He gives freedom. And the Spirit is EVERYWHERE.

God knows we long for freedom—freedom to live and love and laugh and experience the grandeur and beauty of this precious life He’s given us. Free from evil, discord, scarcity, oppression, shame.

If we would only look longer into the eyes of every person we meet, friends and foes, perhaps the God in them would have a better chance of connecting with the God in us. Together is the only way we press forward through these moments of suffering. Arm in arm, heart-to-heart, breath to breath.

In faith, hope, and love for Jesus and self and neighbor. New life awaits us every moment of every day. But as fast as we inhale this gift, it can be taken away the next. Countless families will go to bed tonight having “only” a photo to remember those they love. God hold them tight.

Let’s make sure we love what we have, right now, with every fiber of our being.

Love binds, love sustains, love endures, love heals, love wins.

Be LOVE, crazy Mommas.




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A self-described “sappy soul whisperer and sarcasm aficionado,” Shelby is a wife of 27 years & mom of three 20-something kiddos. She has a deep love for Jesus and storytelling, and most days she muses in rhetorical wonder over what God was thinking when He put her in charge of three humans. Although God’s quick to remind her how capable she is, apparently He sometimes does so while crossing His fingers behind His back. You can read her stories around the web and in print at Guideposts.