The birds are singing a sweet summer song while I sit here at the computer gathering thoughts and words that are hidden in my head. While my kids are on summer break, this mom is also finding herself on thought provoking hiatus. It’s hard to sort through emotions, feelings and life seasons when the words just aren’t quite there.
I shared the above photo (taken by my toddler from his stroller view while we were out for a walk) recently over on Instagram because every time I scrolled past it in my phone’s photo gallery it tugged a little at my heart. Here’s what I posted:
“I’ve stopped at this photo nearly every day since [he took it] as I scrolled past the day’s captured highlights. I’m not sure why it resonates with me so strongly, but it kind of symbolizes life right now. Beautiful scenery, amazing and bright, plus lots of summer to look forward to. Close to the pavement in front of me, following the lines, staying on the road. While straight and seemingly smooth, there are hidden bumps, divots and rough spots that aren’t seen without a closer gaze. I see that curve up ahead in the distance, but I’m not sure how long it will take me to get there or what’s around that bend. When God said, “Arise”, I wonder if it meant all of this too? I’ll keep walking to find out.”
My heart has been going through some aching, some wonder and a little bit of solitude lately. As a homeschool mom, summer often becomes the time for exhaling at the close of another school year, but not for long before planning the next one. While it’s always exciting, it is also a daunting task to take on in order to best fulfill the educational needs and pursuits of each of my children. Trying to revel and enjoy each of these summer days comes with its own list of daily, unique pros and cons. Being torn between the many outside chores (all of which I really do enjoy and consider hobbies, like gardening and tending to my flower gardens), but also feeling the tug of my heart longing for rest that wants to put my feet up and grab a book. Then there are my children’s commitments and activities away from home that require my time and shuttling services, in addition to all of the fun summer things they want to get out and do. My introverted desire to just stay at home becomes at odds with the realities of the genuine need to seek and foster community for myself, but also for my children during these glorious summer months.
While in the early part of June, another heartache of a new change in our family took place. My brother and his family packed up and moved south to begin anew after my sister-in-law landed a new job in Florida. The predictable family comfort of having my parents a quick hour away and my only sibling two hours away had shifted, no longer holding all of our connection in the heart of Minnesota. Saying goodbye to that certainty that I’ve always known has left an unease that’s still being mapped out in new ways of familial heartstrings remaining strung together through other forms of technological interactions. Yes, absence may make this family stronger and modern day technology may also save our relationships.
These were the kinds of things I was sorting out that day, as I pushed my toddler in the jogger. I didn’t know then that he’d snap a photo from his vantage point that also contained the one that my heart was seeing too. The one that reminds me that God is on this ordinary journey with me in some of the extraordinary, surprising twists and turns, but also on the straightaways. I don’t really need to know what’s around that bend or how long it’s going to take me to get there. The scenery is fine, the grace is sufficient and I’m guaranteed to find unexpected blessing along the walk.
How’s summer treating you? Are you finding it tiring and uncertain, or filled with promise, plans and excitement? I see you there. I am with you in all of the emotions. Let not our hearts be troubled or dismayed. Let fear of the unknown be banished with overflowing peace. May the song of the birds, the rustle in the trees, the warmth of the sun and the happy shouting of our children across the yard be welcome distractions for our sometimes weary, anxious hearts.
A Prayer for Summer
Father, Creator of all, thank you for summer!
Thank you for the warmth of the sun
and the increased daylight.
Thank you for the beauty I see all around me
and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation.
Thank you for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family,
and for the more casual pace of the summer season.
Draw me closer to You this summer.
Teach me how I can pray
no matter where I am or what I am doing.
Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence
and light my path with Your Word and Counsel.
As I enjoy Your creation, create in me
a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You.