The tags off the backpacks have been clipped. I’ve labeled their stuff with a Sharpie and lime-green duct-tape. I’m sitting on the carpet floor checking off the school supplies list and rummaging through two paper bags in front of me one last time. Before school starts the next day.
One bag is for my kindergartner Caleb. The other for my third-grader Josh.
Josh is entering into third grade and I can’t help but think of little girl me.
There is a big world inside him — a story that is being told where he is the author and I am one of the biggest characters shaping his memories.
I am his mommy. My words speak straight into his soul, louder than he realizes, even though I wonder if he is really listening.
But, I remember little girl me and I am reminded: my voice is imprinting into his soul.
So I hug him a little tighter today as I whisper into his ear this morning, “I love you, son. I’m so proud of you.” Then, I kiss his cheek because I still can, before Eric walks Josh to his third grade class.
Then, I hold Caleb’s hand to walk to the other end of the school, where the slides are shorter and the monkey bars are lower.
As we make our way there, a forever moment happens: the first day of kindergarten for Caleb.
I am his mommy. “I love you sweetie…Remember Jesus is with you.” I say, giving a squeeze to his hand.
“Mom…Jesus is IN me!” He says it, with big-boy bravado.
And I’m reminded, God has soul words for me too.
Milk and Honey
Josh and Caleb. We named them after the two spies Moses sent into the Promised Land. The only two spies out of the twelve who saw a land flowing with milk and honey, while the other ten spies saw land filled with scary giants.
Josh and Caleb could look ahead into the future and have hope. They saw the world differently — because they knew who they belonged to. And belonging to God filled their hearts with faith and courage.
When my children look into their school days — when look into their new experiences — will they see giants?
Then, I will help them see the honey.
Will they see the big and scary?
Then, I will nourish their hearts with milk for the soul.
I will feed their young hearts and minds with soul words.
Words that strengthen their bones —
You are loved.
You are special.
I am proud of you.
I know it’s hard.
It’s okay to be nervous.
It’s normal to feel worried.
I’ve got hugs for you.
I’m here for you.
They will know what it is to belong to God through me. I will help them by planting soul words in their hearts with my voice.
But mom, math is hard. We’ll get through it together. I will help you.
But, mom, I don’t know anyone. It takes time. Let me tell you a story.. it was hard for me too…
The times we live in nowadays can feel scary, with gargantuan problems.
I want them to see life differently.
We can help our children write a better story inside them — in their hearts .
I want to give them a wellspring of soul words to echo — to grow them into young men, who in turn pour soul words as husband, father and brother and friend to others.
But, in order to give these words — fresh and living to them — I need to receive these soul words into my own heart. Into my own story.
I need to make space to nurture my soul.
Time For You
I need whitespace time for me. To enjoy the things my Heavenly Father wants to give to the little girl in me.
To have our own child-like conversations with Him.
About our questions. Our dreams.
About what’s hard for us. What’s unclear.
About what makes us afraid. What makes us happy.
Then the answers God give us will be the living words and stories we share with our children.
We will become real people to our children — with a real stories — that can feed into theirs.
To journey together with our children. Not just as authority figures separated from their hearts.
So they will come to know God is real — that He cares for us. No matter what the journey looks like.
We often work so hard to shield our children from what’s rough and what’s hard.
But, what they really long for is to have the presence of someone who will love them through it, give them space to have a voice.
To be known.
Nourish Your Heart
I know I can’t do any of this by sheer will and commitment.
Absorbing all the emotional drama that comes with guiding little people to grow up — amidst homework, pressures to perform, conform, fit in, playground politics, and navigating changes — is very soul stressful.
It triggers everything that’s hidden inside you.
We would never want to send our kids to school soul-hungry for love.
Will we give ourselves permission to feed our souls too?
As we pack our kids’ lunches, let’s send our kids to school with soul-filling, heart-courage affirming words for them.
And make some space for ourselves too.
So when the days feel rough, we will have something to give.
Don’t give up on yourself, your story or theirs.
God is our Heavenly Father. He can rewrite our stories. Nothing is impossible for Him.
You’re worth it.
Nourish your heart today.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled,
we will be able to give them the
same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
What does your soul need today?
What soul words would comfort or encourage your child?
Spend some time expressing soul words with your child today.
Pull up a chair. Click to comment.
Take The Journey of Rest With Me
Take the Finding Spiritual Whitespace journey to make space to rest.
Take the journey of self-discovery with Jesus with journaling prompts for individual or intimate group exploration.
Purchase a copy of my memoir-driven guidebook for yourself and your friends. Because rest isn’t a journey we need to take alone. We need each other.
Let’s be kindreds. Let’s meet between the pages of Finding Spiritual Whitespace.