If I Could Have Seen the Future

We went to Tinkertown this last weekend with some friends, and had a wonderful time.

There were so many moments of the day that were just plain wonderful, and made me mentally stop still for a second, in an effort to take it all in.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. Hello, September-dressed-up-like-July.

The first thing I saw when I came in the gate was a tree covered in bright orange leaves, surrounded by all the other crazy colors of Tinkertown. It was the most festive fall scene I’ve seen in a long time.

I loved seeing Anika with her friends, bravely taking on every ride in the park. She’s a little daredevil. It makes me kinda happy.

And Kaylia followed in her footsteps, like usual. Awesome. Motion-sick Me will take pictures while everybody else whirls and twirls like crazy.

But deep down, there was something else really amazing and meaningful for me about being at Tinkertown. I kept thinking about it all day long, and if it wasn’t such a bright, crazy, colorful, fun place, I might have gotten emotional.

Five years ago, we took Anika to Tinkertown for the first time, and she loved it. We loved being there with her.

But it was right smack in the middle of those years we spent dealing with infertility. Our family was so small. It often felt like we almost didn’t qualify as being a “proper” family, just because we were so small.

So our tiny, little family went to Tinkertown five years ago, and I tried very hard to have a light heart that day. I tried to enjoy Anika as fully as possible, and not long for more. I wanted to feel like we were enough, just us three.

But I found it difficult to be surrounded by so many other families with tons of children. I wanted to have tons of children. I wanted to be one of those frazzled parents, being pulled in 10 different directions.

But we calmly walked through Tinkertown with our one child, perfectly calm and under control.

This last weekend, we walked through Tinkertown with another vibrant, chubby-cheeked little girl, full of life and enthusiasm, lisping mature words she’s heard from her big sister.

Now I can feel like we’re enough. Not a ton, but enough. If I didn’t have health issues to deal with, maybe there would be more. I don’t know. But this is the life we’ve been given, and it’s so good.

I wish that in those dark, heavy times, I would have done a better job of waiting. I wish I would have chosen to rest instead of panic. I wish I could have given myself fully to those days when we were a family of three.

I often felt back then that if only I could see the future, if only I could know God was going to answer our prayers for another child, then I would be able to wait for a miracle with peace and joy in my heart.

But in wishing that, I actually missed a miracle. I missed the miracle of waiting in faith, with the peace and joy only God can give, instead of joy in receiving what I asked for.

I once heard a preacher say we need to long for the Giver more than the gift.

I missed my chance to learn how to long for the Giver in that situation.

I’m sure there will be many more chances in the future, but the chance to learn it in that situation is over. I received the miracle I was longing for before I learned the miracle of how to wait in patience and faith.

If I could go back five years ago to tell myself something, it would be this:

There is no need to see the future.

God was good back then, He is good now and He will always be good.

He had miracles for me back then in those dark moments, whether I could see them or not, and He has miracles for me today.

The miracle of today erases those hard, hard years.

We all know that in this world, there many sorrows and hardships. Sometimes the future looks very uncertain.

But I see Kaylia, and I am reminded that the future also holds many blessings beyond anything I can imagine. I want to be surprised with all that joy. These days, I don’t long so much to see the future. I’m learning to live in the moment.

And not just because I got what I was longing for.

As soon as I got what I wanted, you can be sure I came up with new desires pretty quick. It was then that I started to realize joy and contentment would not come from getting what I wanted.

It comes when we just live today. When we see the miracle we already have in this moment.

It comes when we trust God with the future, and thank Him for all that we have right now.

Best Sisters Forever

Anika started praying for a sister when she was two years old. She kept praying for three and a half years, and she never stopped believing that God would answer her prayers.

And then He did. I will never forget what it was like to call Anika from the hospital with the news that her baby sister had been born (and of course my mom captured the moment on camera!).

Anika just giggled. And kept giggling.

And now they giggle together.

They also fight a lot, the most popular reason being Kaylia’s large area of personal space, and Anika is forever getting in it, trying to hug and kiss her….while still refusing to share her toys. Things can get ugly at times.

But things can also be so beautiful, too.

One of the greatest joys of my life is watching our girls being sisters.

So, in honor of Kaylia’s birthday, I put together a little slideshow of Anika and Kaylia…

Sad

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about emotions.

I spent years believing that I was a very emotional person. My sisters have always been the  cool, calm, and collected type. And then there was me.

They were busy pursuing careers in nursing and business. I was busy flying off the handle.

I was always “the emotional one.”

It took a long time and a few counseling sessions for me to begin to realize that the way I saw myself was not completely accurate.

See, my counselor told me that everyone has the same amount of emotions – it’s impossible to have more emotions than the average person. I may just think about them, analyze them, and communicate them a lot more.

Great. That made me feel weak – I have less control over how I communicate my emotions than other people.

And that idea of myself also stayed with me for a long time. Kind of depressing.

What’s bugged me the most is that there are things that I feel pretty passionate about, and I long for so much more in this life – more of God, for me and for other people.

And when I make dumb choices that bring me away from all that I long for, or I see other people making those choices, I usually end up getting really frustrated and angry.

Then I make Ben listen to me rant and rave, and get all worked up, which really doesn’t help anything.

And I end up sounding really critical and judgmental, and things just go in a bad direction.

But this week, a friend told me something that could possibly change my life.

She said, “When you don’t know what to do with sadness, it can become anger.”

And something just clicked.

Since then, I feel the truth of this again and again. The longing for change and for more of God is good. But when that doesn’t happen, when wrong choices are made, I feel…sad. I really do. I just never recognized it before, and skipped right ahead into being frustrated and mad.

I’m noticing what a huge difference there is between sad and mad.

Sad makes me cry instead of yell.

Sad makes me hurt for someone and what could have been, instead of looking down on them and judging them.

Sad can make me quietly carry a heavy burden, instead of making me say or do things in the heat of the moment that I will later regret.

Somehow, sad is leaving me a little calmer, and allowing some extra head and heart space to realize that I need to bring my sadness to my Father. It was never a burden that I was meant to carry, sad or mad.

I like it. I think I’ll keep giving it a try.