To The Mentees And The Mothers – An Open Letter

Screenshot_2015-11-27-14-54-59-1

If I could have, I would have hand written this note to all of  you with a fine writer and had it posted to your house. Here’s the next best thing.

Dear ones,

Thank you for believing that my journey is worth something, thank you for believing that by taking pieces of my story, it will help yours. Some of the pieces that glisten now were once broken and dull; Jesus has taken them into his wondrous workshop and spent time on them. You’re welcome to those too.

I want to remind you that you’re doing an incredible job, your children play, laugh, come to you for comfort and delight in the joy they bring you. I saw how you smiled at your son and your heart brimmed with love afresh; I know that look, I’ve felt it too. I love how you hold your 6 month old close, wrapped into your body – but I know you cry because some things aren’t perfect.

I’ve loved watching your journey, listened to you talk about the books you’ve read, the people who inspire you, the patterns you want to follow. I cried when I’ve heard of your pain, the loss of  a promise into the ‘old-familiar’ of a hospital where they see it everyday, but to you (and I) it was your baby and you have to wait for heavens hallelujah to embrace that child again. I remember seeing your face, being brave, but swirling inside. I know that feeling. I’ve felt it.

I know you feel you haven’t made the best choices, the right turns or danced to the same beat as your peers. But God. His redemption is now. His mercies are new today. Your strength is renewed in this moment. He is the God of fresh starts, I thank Him for that everyday.

And I hold your baby, giggle with your toddler, tease your teen because they are an extension of you and that is a sign and a wonder. I see the power of your prayers and the torment of the tears you have sown into this week and I praise God for the fruit of your toil, your labour and your longing. The years don’t go so fast when you live them fully. When we’re present in our children’s lives we live every moment.

That can be exhausting. That can be exhilarating.

I know you feel lonely at times. Sometimes even I miss that look amongst the crowd of masked faces. I like it when you take yours off and tell me. And we cry messy tears and make plans to make it better.

There are many inspired moments and methods and ways to do this and that, but I have to show you Jesus, He is the WAY.

There are many stories and successes and picture of grace and beauty; but I have to teach you through His Word. He is the TRUTH.

There are many elaborate celebrations, well-timed snapshots of light, life and creative callings, but life is the stuff we live between the clicking of the camera. Life is what I want to show you. He is the LIFE.

If my journey ever shows you the way, leads you into truth or draws life from your bones, it’s all because of Jesus.

There’s no such thing as super mum.

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Letter

IMG_20150703_150430

“Love her but leave her wild.”  Atticus

 

To my daughters,

I never imagined doing life so close and intensely with two other girls; two girls who came from my womb, whose hearts grew and beat inside me, who fed from my very body and face life, daily, right in front of my eyes.

I never imagined loving two emerging women so fiercely and at times so fearfully. Your beauty and grace exude you; your spirits are strong, as is your will. That can be hard at times.

And I have so much to say, so much I want to tell you, so much I want to pass on – from my frailties and imperfections. Not that I expect you to be perfect but I long for you to live, to be authentic you, to be free; even though you look a little bit like me.

You are incredibly unique; there really is no one like you – not just in a snowflake, fingerprint way, but in a womb dwelling, heart swelling display. There’s a place for you in the caverns of my soul that was created before the beginning of time. I was made for you and you for me. The web of your design so intrinsically connects with the threads of my twine. You so delicate, I so strong – inseparable, in harmony like a perfectly crafted song.

I see a woman in your eyes; your voluminous childhood voice gives me a choice to tame, shame and extinguish, or I can love and guide and blow upon the embers of passion, life and liberty in your song. I refuse to quash – I choose to wash over you with words of encouragement, inspiration and light.

IMG_20150703_134631

And here you are living in the midst of a social explosion; a connection erosion through scrolling screens and vicious teens and my inmost being wants to drag back in, like a near dead body on a front line battle, the clear and the combined and coherent process of living again. Guard your hearts dear daughters from the pressure of Pinterest perfection which leaves authentic being as just mere inflection; which leaves girls like you (and me) in a sea of correction and rejection. Lift up your eyes and see your King; the One who knitted your inquisitive soul and made you whole.

He is the mirror we hang on our wall and stare into timelessly until we no longer feel small.

See the detail in the day; His splendour on display – let your senses come alive, breath deeply daughter – thrive!

You see I could come at you with wisdom and lived advice but in the end that’s like rolling a dice; you can choose to walk my way and follow patterns of my life – I can guide you into motherhood and inspire you as a wife. But I’m compelled to show you Jesus through every season of your days so when success or favour crowns you it’s to Him we give our praise. Or when darker days are heavy like grey clouds on the horizon – I’ll teach you to kneel, and look up; there’s always a glimmer of light about to break through; a peace that helps us wisen.

My daughters you need to know it’s by grace I daily mother your souls and I get it wrong so often; I pray with every fallen word your forgiving hearts will soften.

My dependence upon Him ties me to you and to what your future holds and I guess what we’ll watch unfold. But in these days ahead I’ll love you lavishly and liberally, unhindered in peeling back the surface of your pleasing, precious, present and imperfect life.

I love you.

This is an excerpt from my Kindle book ‘Moments On Mothering’; you can purchase the whole book here – enjoy!

Cautious Bravery – A Reflection On Introversion

IMG_20150629_142255 (1)

With glistening skin and sandy toes we’re slowly emerging out of our camp cocoon into the reality of laundry and the glaring need to valet the car!

Watching my children by the water was revealing for me and forming for them; from extreme caution to fearless bravery they all approached the same ‘task’ in such different ways.

Hoping that their appetites might be the homing call for dinner I lovingly prepared spelt bread (made at home), slow cooked lemon and herb chicken (yes, even on a camp site) and salad; but instead I had to send out a search party for my eldest two children which unsurprisingly led me to the water where they were so immersed in fun and community that they barely heard their stomachs rumbling. I watched them run and jump repeatedly off the jetty, high into the sky and come down with a jubilant splash!

As I walked my youngest two to the waterfront, one with little hand tucked into mine, the other child running ahead; even their clothes spoke of their glaring differences. One in full swimming attire, fully intending to dive right in – the other still in shorts and t-shirt with swim shorts in hand ‘just in case’! They were both cautious of the cold water, dipping toes and running back to base. One face lit up and let out squeals of delight, the other pondered, straight faced, considering the cost.

After a delicate process of entry one wannabe water baby lay fully in the shallow water, head safely above chin level and shouted ‘I’m swimming mama’; and with every subsequent ‘dip’ said child took less and less time to get brave on the descent.

And my cautious child went waist deep after much cajoling and he finally smiled; we cheered and whooped and high fived him on his exit. He grinned all the way home.

 …and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep.

Ezekiel 47

I was starkly aware of my own personality peering at me with mocking eyes; not the diving and repeating but the caution and the toe dipping.

I was the shy, compliant child; desperate to please, then I was the quietly adventurous traveller walking this lonely planet; scaling the streets of New York city with new found plane friends but loving the alone.  Then I was the mum at the theme park holding the coats and the baby five year old. And then there are the times when I don’t want to answer the phone or go to that party; I can talk to hundreds but struggle with the one. I like books and stillness; they bring fullness to my struggling fuel tank. Apparently I ‘push the red‘ and my seeming extrovert self is dead.

You see introversion can walk the path of shyness and ‘the quiet one’ but passion and creativity push through that wanten personality and we become who we are with that familiar recharge of still and silent and quiet.

“It’s not our experiences that form us but the ways in which we respond to them;” ― Pico Iyer, The Virtue of Stillness

I have this friend; she’s the run around the park with the kids, dragging shore line introverts into the water, stay late around the campfire, join in the water fight, include everyone party mum and I love her. I love her for many reasons but one big reason, between you and I, is that I want to be more like her. We so often admire qualities in people because we see them in ourselves. In my case I see the possibility of those traits in myself. I have to make those possibilities a reality, it’s my choice.

So where I used to dip my toes reluctantly into the braver aspects of life, I’ve been around long enough to know that you eventually acclimatise to the cold water and it becomes fun, and easier – and then you can go a bit deeper.

And it’s in the depths that I want to live; learning to swim freely through the open waters of God’s love, freedom and opportunity.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7

So next time you see me trying something new and I’m not smiling (yet); give this introvert a minute or two, keep cheering me on; I’ll get there eventually and make sure you high-five me on the way out.

(And then leave me alone for a while…)

Smile.

The Swallows (A poem)

swallows
Felix Bracquemond, The Swallows, c. 1881

And with the swoop of the swallows
I know the season has changed
The return of the familiar
The comfort and the soul smile

And they race and chase
Dipping low in a circular motion
Embracing the air
Like a lasso above my head

And when children are sleeping
I sit in the quiet of the day
As the evening sun dips into the lows
I await their fading, moving sound in the skies

And I lean in
Like an old friend on the telephone
“I recognise that voice”
This turning of a new season gives me no choice

By Leah Boden