Dear Daughters,

Your dad caught me by the elbow as I poured my second cup of coffee the other day.

“We need to talk,” he said and led me to the kitchen table, patchy rays of sunlight flickering in through the open blinds.

Your carefree giggles floated from your bedroom as we sat and wrapped hands around warm mugs, your innocent banter a stark contrast to the weighty dialogue I knew was coming.

It was time for a tune-up.

At some point over the past few months we’ve descended, slowly and stealthily, into the pattern of a life we don’t want to live. Increased hours at work, decreased hours together, and the necessary, temporary neglect of service, relationships, and creative outlets have left us barren and bone-dry, drowning in responsibility while desperately thirsting for purpose.

Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink…

We sat at that table and cried, agreeing that this is not the life we ever expected to live, much less the life we so meticulously planned for ourselves in the early days of marriage – those days when dreams were big and possibilities were endless and the word “family” was little more than a whisper of hope in our hearts.

And now two girls, two jobs, stacks of bills, exhaustion, stress, and days that feel as if they’ve been cosmically set to “repeat” inhabit the space where inspiration and desire once dwelt.

This is the stuff of life in a fallen world, the daily stresses that grate on senses and wear on expectations. The stuff that really doesn’t carry much magnitude in the grand scheme of things, but in the minutiae of daily life, well… sometimes the little things sure feel like the big things, don’t they?

What are you doing, God?

I found myself asking this question repeatedly today, as if I actually expected to find an answer in those patchy rays of sunlight.

For now we see dimly…

I’ve been captivated by stories for as long as I can remember. And now, on the heels of my 30th birthday, I realize that my lifelong delight in books, my compulsion to turn page after page after page, my childhood habit of hiding flashlight and novel under my pillow each night, all resound with the echoes of eternity.

Because WE are players in a Story, participants in a magnificent tale of sin and wickedness, redemption and grace. And when the story seems to go awry, when the plot twists in ways we never saw coming – or maybe just when asthma and leaky washing machines and dreams deferred dominate the storyline – the temptation to, at best, question the Author, or at worst, shelve the Story altogether, is nearly irresistible.

As if the created could possibly plumb the depths of the Creator’s artistic vision.

But that night, as I watched you both running freely through grass that needs mowing and weeds that need tending, I was reminded that every story must include conflict, that without antagonists and pressure and opportunities for sanctification, the characters remain static and the resolution remains just out of reach.

And when the evening light ignited fiery streaks of copper and gold in your tangled springtime tresses, when Laynie reached for two brittle twigs and called out, “Let’s play magic fairies – these can be our wands!” I realized that those patchy rays of sunlight contained answers far beyond my comprehension.

For in those patchy rays of sunlight, I found glimpses of grace:

Little girls running wild and free.

Weeds that more closely resemble flowers.

Innocence, wonder, and unfettered delight.

Sweet evening breezes and fairy magic.

All promises of an Author who fully understands the elements of a Story. (Because He created them, after all.)

And when a master Craftsman is hard at work laying strokes on a page, we know two things instinctively: we know that His Story will be far bigger, far better, and far more complex than we could ever hope or imagine.

And we know that the ending will be good.

I love you every day,

Mama

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