Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What I Love About you at Sweet 16


I always tell other parents to let yourself mourn the loss of milestones or things that hurt. We like to say, "It's okay to cry as long as you stop." I want to give others room to mourn, yet arrogantly I expect more for myself. I've been at this longer than most of my people and feel like I should be better at it by now. In some ways, we've grown to meet new challenges, but they're by no means easier and sometimes more difficult.

Each year brings new accomplishments and new losses. I get to follow the kids she was in preschool with and sixteen is a hard one. It is one of significant independence and our comparison is significant dependence. The gap widens each year and the future feels more fixed than ever before.

The hug

This year Abby has perfected the hug. She will take her own hands and put them on our shoulders for a real hug. It's one of my favorite things in life. There's nothing more precious than returned affection.

What I love about you at 16...

My list is shorter but bigger this year because not much as changed in who Abby is since the 15 post. This year may not have had a lot of growth or change to show in Abby, but it marks some monumental changes in us. Who we are because of our Abby is what we celebrate today. Her little life has so greatly impacted the people we are today, and by the grace of God who we are becoming. The highlight of this milestone of sixteen years today infuses so much purpose in one life. Oh! How I adore this girl's life!

Seven lessons we've learned because we get to be Abby's parents

1.  God is Able. He continues to turn our "Darkness into Dancing"... After 16 years, we've learned there are so many hard days, but God... Today we celebrate Abby because God is able to do immeasurably more than we ever could've asked or imagined (Eph.3:20).

2.  LOVE without expectation of anything in return. We give our hearts away knowing they'll be broken over and over again. Knowing if we do this LOVE thing right, it will hurt. It will be a lot of ugly cries. We choose to  Let our souls grow through the loss instead of growing hardened and bitter with life.  We make this choice because we know what we're called to. Abby is teaching us to love fiercely through the pain.

All of Me by Matt Hammitt

3.  It can be well with my soul. No matter how crazy life gets around us, it can be well with my soul. The crazy is big, folks. It even surprises us at times. Our pastor asked last Sunday what was the one thing if lost that would wreck us? Immediately I knew the answer was Jesus, only Jesus. I couldn't say that even a year ago, but today, by the grace of God, it is my truth.

It Is Well by Bethel Music and KristeneDiMarco

4.  Every line of our story has purpose. Even when the struggle seems worthless, it's all part of a bigger story. Nothing is wasted. 

Every Line by Newspring Worship

5.  Who we are is less important that who we're becoming. I spend too much time worrying about the future because I live too close to the scary of the past. After moving I've wanted to get back to who I was, but I realize now it doesn't matter. We can't go back but we can #STARTOVER.  We have to keep getting up and moving forward. Each stage is a new normal to be discovered rather than another season to mourn. 

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey

6.  When I don't know what to do, I trust.  I don't know what our tomorrows will be, but I chose to trust. I will cry, I might scream, but I trust in a GOOD GOD who is sovereign and working things out for my good regardless how I feel in the moments. 

Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

7.  Broken Together... With each passing day we're figuring out how to be live in the broken... beautifully broken. "Marriage is one of God's best refining tools" (Beth Moore) and "Marriage is evidence to the world the gospel works" (Clayton King). We aim to submit to HIS work in us to show our girls, family, friends, and a watching world how to be broken and stay together. It's a fight, but by the grace of God "We press on to the goal to which God has called..." (Philippians 4:13)

Broken Together by Casting Crowns

***If you could share how you are different because of Abby and/or her family in your life, it would greatly bless us...

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