The Invisible Brave

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Note the looks on their faces. Somewhere between, “This is Stupid” and “I hate you for moving us.”

Emotions run wild.

On the first day of school. Wherever you are. Whoever you are.

Check out the rooftops below. The newness. The growth. The sun. So much is different and yet all is the same.

I wish I could take that same picture every day. Day two was filled with smiles and a little less, “I hate you.”

I wish I could show the progression. The houses being finished. The becoming. The growth. Courage. Strength. Success.

I wish heart growth wasn’t invisible. I wish my kids could wear courage like a badge of honor around their neck. I wish they could receive recognition for being brave and learning new things and “doing it afraid”. I wish the pictures could catalog the strengthening of their resolve and the opening of their hearts and the banishing of fear.

They (and we) live in a world of Facebook and instagram and Twitter posts that look like perfection but feel like lies. No bravery or vulnerability in sight.

I considered posting the cuter picture, the one where they were smiling. I considered trying to wrap this up in a bow, falling into old patterns, achieving, performing. But God is doing a new thing here in Texas. And in my heart. He has assured me I have a bigger, better, braver story to tell.

The real one.

No, we can’t wrap this up in a bow with a pretty picture. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Because a picture can’t do this journey justice. A picture won’t show how we are becoming who God designed us to be. A picture will never show our trust and our surrender.  It can’t convey how those things make us stronger. It can’t capture the transformation of our hearts.

No, we can’t see what matters in a picture.  So we tell our story.

He is trusting us to be brave and to tell the story well.

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

 

Letter to My Daughter on Her First Day of High School

This post originally appeared on the blog in 2012 when my oldest daughter started high school. This year my younger daughter starts her freshman year. I’m reposting because  I’d say the same things to her. Of course I would say some different things too.  Because she is different.  And now, so am I. But as I read this again I realized the things we hope and pray for for our kids never really change. We moved to Texas 5 days ago from a lifetime in Illinois so my second daughter is facing some unique challenges. But here’s the thing…Places change, people change, years go by…but a mom always wants these things for her kids…so here’s to this year! And to Mom’s everywhere sending their kids off…blessings to all!

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I woke up this morning thinking “Where did the time go?”

I remember the day you were born. Well, actually, I’ll be honest, it’s a blur. After being induced and then going through 24 hours of labor, I was exhausted. And then upon seeing you, I was exhilarated… and scared…and overwhelmed. I felt a keen sense of “everything is different now”. I felt blessed and terrified.

I realize now, that’s what parenting feels like. You alternate between feeling blessed and terrified.

And on your first day of high school, that describes my emotional state.

First, I want to thank you. You have taught me so much. I am certain now that God uses children to shape and form and teach us. You have taught me and you continue to do so. I am humbled and honored to be your mom.

As you enter those halls filled with thousands of other high schoolers there are some things I want you to know. Since you act mortified when I try to sit you down to “talk”, I figured I’d write instead and you can read it when you want to. Plus, I don’t have time to put you in the car and drive around which seems to be the only place we can have a meaningful conversation.

Here’s what I want you to know.

There are days that will be fun and exciting and days that will really stink. And this is okay. It is all part of growing up and becoming who you are meant to be. We cannot enjoy the mountaintop without the climb.

If you are going through tough times, remember, there is always hope. There is a rainbow waiting for you at the end of the storm. Always have faith.

Whatever is happening to you, matters to me and dad and it matters to God. Talk to us. You are never alone.

Sometimes people are nice and sometimes they are mean. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Stay nice.

Boys that are cute on the outside aren’t always so cute on the inside. Trust your instincts. Character matters. If you feel something’s not right, it’s not. Go with your gut.

Drugs are bad. I say it every day and I know you are rolling your eyes right now but I’m serious. Don’t even try them. Say no. Say it again. Say it louder. You are precious and your body and mind and soul will be destroyed by drugs. Don’t even start. Don’t even try. If you see them in the room, leave. This cannot be emphasized enough. I don’t care if you need to blame me and make up outlandish excuses to get out of there – leave…run. On that note, anyone who offers you drugs is not your friend. End of story.

There will be all kinds of people at high school. This will give you a glimpse of what the world feels like. There will be lots of new faces and you will be tempted to compare yourself to others. Don’t do it. Comparison is the tool of the devil. See, the fact is, there is no comparison. Each person is unique and beautiful and created by God who loves them. We come in all shapes and sizes…we excel in different things…we have different gifts but we are all important and vital parts of this world. We were created for a reason and God has great plans for us. We can’t compare ourselves because our journeys are so different. It’s like a giant puzzle…we all look different but without one of us, the big picture would not be complete.

You have to try. You have to try to get good grades, you have to try to make friends, you have to try to get involved, you have to try. You have to put yourself out there to grow. You cannot wait for life to come to you, you have to go out and get it. This can be scary but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Get out there…opportunities await.

Have fun. There is no rush to grow up. Laugh, meet new people, listen and engage. In every situation, there is some way to eek a little fun out of it…even math class. Life is what you bring to it so bring joy.

Believe in yourself. This sounds trite but it’s true. I believe in you, Dad believes in you, God believes in you but what really matters is that you believe in you. When you believe you deserve great things, the universe will conspire to give them to you. When you pray for good things with the expectation that they will happen, God will hear you and answer you.

I’ve heard it said that we should pray BOLD PRAYERS – that we should not ask for a C, we should ask for an A. So here’s my bold prayer for you.

Lord, I ask for great things for my daughter…I do not ask for her to just “get by” and “do okay”. I ask that you bless her abundantly. I ask that you give her strength and courage and determination. I ask that you give her eyes to see her own beauty and the beauty in the world around her. I ask that you put her in situations that are positive and life affirming and that you give her the right words and the right actions to succeed and to thrive. I ask for good people in her life…good friends, kind classmates, and inspiring teachers. I ask for teachers that can light a fire in her heart and soul and make her want to shine. I ask for teachers that understand and encourage and inspire. Be with her. Give her signs to know you are with her. Burrow deep into her heart so she knows she belongs to you. Protect her. I ask for all of these things with the expectation that you will provide. I trust you.

Oh, and Lord, before I end this…thank you. Thank you for the gift of my daughter. Thanks for knowing I need her and she needs me. Thanks for putting us together.

And while I’m at it…please bless and protect all kids starting high school and all moms. This isn’t easy but it is exciting.

See, we are back to the beginning…blessed and terrified.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

 

If These Walls Could Talk

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If these walls could talk, what would they say?

Would they tell about the love? And the tears? and the growing pains?

Did they see when I was unsure and afraid and stepping out the door with trepidation?

Could they feel when I returned and sank deep into the comfort of home?

Do they know how much I needed this place?

Do they realize how it made me feel to call this home? Proud. Safe. Blessed.

Would they talk about the laughter and the silliness? What about the dancing and the music?

They couldn’t see it from the street but you could.

Did you see how the lamplight looked from the street? Did you see it and call it cozy?

Because inside it was. Cozy. Warm. Friendly. Kind.

Peace.

It isn’t perfect. But that’s good because neither am I. We fit. With all our quirks, we held each other.

It embraced me. It soothed me.  It sheltered the people I love.

If these walls could talk, I think they would whisper blessings. I think they would tell me it’s okay to go now. It’s time.

They would hold my sacred secrets and wish me well.