Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Because she is fierce and she will move mountains

The list of things I don't want to do on Tuesday starts with getting out of bed. We realize late Monday night that the kids’ school is a polling center and as a result, no school for them on Tuesday. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of editing 1000 pictures with the kids constantly interrupting and banging on the computer and otherwise causing chaos, Adam decides a family hike is in order. I am not convinced. In fact, I lobby for him taking the kids on a “family hike,” while I stay home in my pajamas and edit pictures from the comfort of my bed or maybe the couch, accompanied by coffee with peppermint creamer and perhaps a slice or two of his freshly made zucchini bread (my suggestion sounds better, I know).

Instead, I find myself helping get the kids unloaded and lifting Caden into the backpack, which Adam somehow manages to hoist onto his own back. Jayci’s disappointment rings loud that she forgot to bring crayons and paper to map the forest. Thankfully, the pre-made map from the visitor center appeases her, and I laugh to see all three members of my little family studying the trail maps intently.

I find it increasingly difficult to hold onto my stress as Jayci chatters excitedly and tells Adam all about the really-cool-toilets, explaining in detail how it all goes under the building and you have to close the lid, so it can compost. I breathe deep, crunching leaves under my feet while the crisp fall air nips at my heels, and I declare I should have worn longer socks. Caden immediately insists on getting down from the backpack, and we comply. He follows Jayci down the path, yelling BLUE BLAZE and pointing at the tree each time she does. I remind them to please be careful, and cringe as they trip over acorns and tree limbs and snaking roots. Adam laughs and they pop right back up to continue their wild trek into the woods.

We can still see the welcome center when both kids beg to stop for a picnic of peanut butter and jelly. They have found an impossibly huge rock, which clearly makes the perfect picnic perch. Jayci climbs up and down again and again, explaining to Caden just watch your big sister and then you will know how to climb it. I sit on a log beneath them, eating a sandwich from the bag Jayci has carefully labeled m-o-m-m-y, and watching the water rippling over the rocks. I snap pictures and try to trust that Adam wont let the children fall.

After lunch, we hike deeper into the woods, following the trail and tree trunks marked by slashes of blue paint. Alone in the woods with our family, Adam stills the chattering by asking the kids to listen to what they hear. Wind rustling the leaves; acorns falling; birds chirping; water trickling in a small creek we didn’t know was there. See, Adams reminds them, you miss out on the amazing things all around you unless you take the time to stop and really listen.

We continue crunching through dried leaves, occasionally stopping to pick up a particularly pretty yellow or red one. I laugh at our pace, raising my eyebrows in agreement when Adam admits a four-mile hike might not work out so well.

I watch Jayci and Caden running haphazardly down the path, alternately jumping over rocks and tripping over roots. And I realize something at some point beneath the canopy of fall blaze as I watch Jayci: she is not me. For sure, there are times when she is frighteningly like me. Pieces of my DNA and results of my nurturing peek and twist through, but she is not me.

Sometimes I find myself so busy trying to change things about her to stop her from getting hurt the ways I got hurt, to stop her from making the mistakes I made. And I forget that she has been uniquely and carefully crafted even before she grew in my womb. That a Father, who knows both her and I in intimate and beautiful ways, has breathed over the deep to create and write a story with each of our lives that will draw both of us to Himself. He called us to Atlanta knowing full well who Jayci is, and who she will become. It was not a mistake, and he knew that she would love her neighbors well. That she would remember all the kiddos names easily, just like her mom; and dance wild with them like her dad.

As Jayci’s mom I have the wild and beautiful privilege of teaching her to settle into herself. To climb high and jump into her daddy’s arms, trusting he will not let her fall. To run and trip over the bumpy path. To embrace her mistakes, brush the dirt from her knees and keep walking. Because yes, she is a girl. And yes, she is much like her more-introverted and easily-embarrassed momma. But she is also fierce. And beautiful and whip-smart and stubborn-as-all-get-out. She climbs and slides and runs, and reads and draws and dances. And she will move mountains.

We loop back around and the welcome center comes back into view as the sun pushes through grey clouds and drips through golden-leaved trees. I gasp at the beauty of the last leave bravely gripping an other-wise bare tree. A subversive clinging draped in cobwebs and dappled by sunlight. Looking down, though, I see even more beauty and life in letting go. In trusting the seasons and the Savior who made them. The brilliant red and yellow burn even more brightly against a carpet of forest floor littered with browning leaves. And yes, winter might come and the colors will fade. But spring always follows winter. And the leaves compost into dirt and nurture new life as the earth turns and God promises that joy will always always come with the morning.

And so I know that I cannot always protect Jayci, or stop her from making mistakes and getting hurt. But in releasing her to the One who made her, I can know that He will use those mistakes and falls and scrapes and bruises to shape her and nurture new life and growth in her. And spring will come, dawn will break. There is death in holding on too tightly, and there is always life in the letting go. She climbs and I close my eyes and watch her jump, knowing her daddy will always catch her. And if she falls, then he will gently draw her to her feet, tend her wounds, and she will be wiser and stronger for the hurt. Because she is fierce and she will move mountains.


  1. It sounds like a perfect day. : )
    You are a very talented writer, Becca.

    1. Thanks friend! :-) and it was a good day . . .

  2. Yes. Yes. and Yes. I needed this today. And every day.
    I, too, have a daughter who is. not. me. Thank you for reminding me to let her be herself as He created her to be.

  3. One of Carla's favorite quotes: “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” -William Shakespeare-

    My daughter is like me in some ways... and in so many way completely different. I am now (finally!) old enough to really appreciate those differences and embrace them! Please always write in some capacity -- it is a true gift.

  4. this is beautiful in so many ways, Becca!

  5. oh friend- you have a beautiful heart.
    you made me sniffle in the middle of my day.
    you also made me change up the way i pray for my girls- Lord, may they move mountains in Your name.


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