I so enjoyed seeing so many of you at the conference in Colorado Springs last weekend. You are all my heroines. I receive so many emails and letters and thoughtful expressions of support and encouragement for our ministry. I really keep going because of so many of you. I am sorry that I am not on top of all of my correspondence, but I do read every letter and comment and it really helps me to keep writing and speaking. I have been quite weary from the past few weeks of events, and so especially appreciate those of you who have prayed for me!
Sarah, my lovely daughter, is one of the speakers at our conferences this year. So many women said how much she really encouraged them and touched their heart. I thought I would put an excerpt from The Mom Walk that would give you a little glimpse into her life and how she has been a blessing to me. This story was about January and a friend sent it to me yesterday, so I thought I would pass it on. Please encourage your friends in California and Texas to come to a conference as we still have some room left in both conferences. It seems that the encouragement of the Holy Spirit is palpable! We teach freedom, grace, love and joy in the journey and have lots of foundational encouragement for your precious moms. Hope you have a good week!
“When the soap had been measured into the washer, I grabbed a pile of clean shirts and ran upstairs in a huff to Sarah’s bedroom to find out when she was leaving for work and why it took so incredibly long for her to remember to get her laundry off the dryer. I knocked on her door loudly, still catching my breath. Her muffled voice from the other side of the door calmly bade me enter, and I did in a great hurry, feeling a need to keep up my momentum. But as I stumbled in, the sight of her stopped me dead in my tracks. I just stood there and, for an instant, was quiet.
Amid my own hurry and bustle to get the day started I had quite forgotten to spend any time in quiet. Surely with the holidays we’d had enough times to sit and be in beauty. But apparently Sarah didn’t think so. She was beginning her January in quite a different way, and I was magnetically drawn into her world. She sat in her maroon chair, regarding me quite serenely with a book in one hand and a pen in the other. Haunting piano music was playing through the room (I found out it was the soundtrack to the new Pride and Prejudice movie) and three tiny vanilla candles flickered in different spots around the room.
The unhurried beauty of the room was strongly present all around me, evidence of Sarah’s determination to make room for loveliness and serenity in her days. She had matted small prints and postcards from our trips and arranged them along her walls and in lines above the shelves that held her numerous and much-beloved books. A barely wilting Christmas rose stood in a tiny crystal vase on her windowsill, and there were pine branches still fragrant in a basket by the door.
A basket of cards and writing paper with her favorite pen sat next to her rolltop desk, guarded by the brightly painted eyes of her Matryoshka dolls. I noticed a new picture on her shelf too; a brightly sketched pair of birds, done by an artist she had just discovered in Canada. There was color, symmetry, and music, and everywhere I looked, I was confronted with the richness of a soul made visible in the world it created and quite determined to enjoy this moment despite the rush. I felt stopped in my tracks by the sudden presence of this choice to begin the busy day in an instant of soul-beauty instead of frenzied worry and hurry. I felt I was somehow catching my mental breath.
“Hi, Mom,” she said, raising her eyebrows in a can-I-help-you sort of look. I waited a minute before replying, letting my pulse (if she only knew) return to normal. “Here’s your laundry,” I said slowly when my breath came back. In the presence of her room I didn’t even remind her that it had been sitting on the dryer for two weeks. Nor did I notice the lumpy pile of new laundry, expertly concealed with a blanket next to her closet. I simply smiled and took the paper she handed me as I walked out of the room.
I had thought the note she handed me was some sort of information, but as I glanced down, I saw that it was a card for me, written just that morning. Dropping into my desk chair, I opened it and read:
Just thought I’d tell you that I’m praying for you as you go back to routine life. I just know that God is going to bless you soon. You are so faithful and have such an enduring heart (I’ve been reading Revelation and one of the big themes I’ve caught is endurance), and God is going to bring greatness and beauty out of your perseverance. God will redeem all of us kids because of you. He’ll bless you with the fulfillment of your dreams, and He will make my way and all of our ways straight before us. He will do something new!
So don’t be discouraged as you sit and pound away at your book and tame all the messes. Great things are going to happen and I love you so much – and that’s got to count for something.
So blessings and love and peace of Christ be with you.
In that moment I felt as if I had been given a gift through my daughter. It was as if in the rush of my day, God had put it on her heart to stop me in my tracks and call me back to a spirit of calm and beauty. Sarah embodied for me what my soul held so dear – a life reflecting the beautiful reality, goodness, and love of God because of her filled soul.
Sitting in my chair and catching my breath, I realized that my sudden rush of feeling overwhelmed, I had completely lost sight of what mattered. Yes, the house needed to be cleaned and presents delivered to their various new spots and food needed to be bought for the cupboard. But it was all so that our home would be a haven, a place rich with life and warm with thought, love, and beauty. My spirit that morning, thought, was one of frenzied worry that cared only that things get done, not that people be loved or life enjoyed.
Glancing up as I thought this, my eyes caught a glimpse of Sarah’s present to me that year. For Christmas she had given me a hand-drawn scene of an old country home by a pinewood, bathed in the light of a brightly setting sun. In the sunset sky, she had inscribed my favorite verses of the year (Psalm 16:5-6) in carefully formed calligraphy:
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup.
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places,
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Beautiful to me…Sarah represented a physical reality of the philosophy that the Lord wants me to continue to embrace. The Lord’s presence in my life is beautiful, and I want my spirit to be one that accepts it in thanks and appreciation – even on January Monday mornings…
…Instead of hurrying downstairs, I took a deep breath and walked away slowly, planning what I would do next. I consciously made a decision to brush away my previous mental list of important things to accomplish and replaced it with the high priority of focusing my efforts on how to communicate love in the hours left in my day.
I put on the kettle to make Joy a cup of vanilla-almond tea. I lit every candle I could find in my little living room and turned on my favorite Celtic CD. I lit the gas fireplace so that we could have a glowing fire and made a piece of cinnamon toast to accompany my little girl’s tea. Then I called her in and invited her to snuggle up next to me on our cozy, overstuffed couch. I kissed her sweet head and told her how glad I was to have time alone with her. We finished reading together the end of the book, Heidi, cloaked in our own spell of beauty and intimacy…
…At the end of our time and to my great surprise, she suddenly turned her eyes to me very tenderly and said, “You know, Mom, I would rather have time alone with you when than even my Christmas presents and parties. I missed you when we were so busy. I just love it when we spend time alone. It makes me feel so special.”
God had used Sarah to gently remind me that, after all, I had another sweet girl just waiting for me to help her become another princess for His glory. And it wouldn’t require hurry or bustle or modeled irritation at the busyness of the world. It required love, and love expressed tangibly through time, words, and lots of beauty Love, it seemed, truly was the greatest gift after all.”