As a mom of three kids who are so close in age, there’s not much my kids don’t do together. When they were little, because two of them have birthdays a week apart, we often did birthdays parties, together, and in this current season of our lives they are learning how to drive together, exploring colleges together, and this fall – all three will experience high school tgether.
Recently, I wrote about how I’ve learned the importance of consulting God in everything I do, and then obeying His directions for my life. One of those things has been our new official church community – a place we had visited on and off for 18 years – but just chose to make it an integrated part of of our lives in 2017.
My word for this year is miracles. I’m believing in them, I’m creating them, and I’m sharing them. With help from a few books and bible studies, the past five months has been nothing short of the miracles that have manifested in my life. If I were to sit and name them all for you right now, we’d be in the middle of 2018.
One of those miracles was the decision by all three of my teens to accept Jesus Christ in their hearts as their Lord and Savior. Sure, I had done my best to raise all three in a Christian home understanding the importance of God in our lives, but something happened this spring.
First Jada (the youngest I might add), then CJ, and eventually Tyra all came to me individually and initated conversations about grace, salvation, sin, and peace. Our church does youth baptism on the 5th Sunday, and that led us to the last Sunday of April.
For one of the few times in my life, there are no words that described the fluttering in my heart that weekend. I had already discovered that in addition to miracles, God had orchestrated a series of events that let me know that this year, our lives would be about faith, community, and friendship.
We are part of a community of friends in Dallas who love us so much they couldn’t bare the thought that we almost moved to Mississippi last fall. We are part of a church community that may be large in numbers, but small and close-knit in biblical teaching, acts of kindness, and authentic relationship-building. We are part of a new neighborhood where I can rattle of the names at least five neighbors in a famliar suburb close to work and school. We are part of a community in life that is so rich, I don’t feel the need to constantly document every aspect of our lives on social media, and I’ve decided to savor every moment of authencity and keep it hidden my heart and memories.
And that community supported us like no other on baptism weekend. I was speechless.
I wasn’t speechless because I didn’t know we were loved. I was speechless because one of the few times in my life, I slowed down enough to look around and appreciate the beauty of life as it happened around our family. For the first time, I wasn’t worried which camera and which lens I would shoot with. For the first time, I invited people over to our house and made sure I sat down and visited with our guests. For the first time, I let myself lived loved – even when we had to start our day at 5:00 am and the last person did not leave our hourse until 9:00 pm.
The weekend ended with intense beauty and reflections on my love of God, my family, and my friends. It taught me that everyday I want to be the kind of friend who:
- Draws us closer to God
- Draws us closer to others
- Helps us become the real person God created us to be
- Is available
- Does not care about the size of my house or the things in it, but the amount of quality time I spend with those who we love.
And by keeping those things in my heart, I am #NeverUnfriended.