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From Strength to Strength

Usually a hangover is something one notices in the early morning, but if it's a vulnerability hangover, I guess those can come on at any point after one has been vulnerable. For me it started last night, after sharing a parenting struggle of mine in a small group of new friends. I'm not wanting to shame the friends here, I think it would've happened regardless of their response, but it happened nonetheless, and it made me want to crawl under my covers and never come out again. Thankfully, it was close to bedtime so I was able to get away with it for awhile. But, oh that darn sun, she still likes to rise everyday, regardless of how social I'm feeling. This is why previously scheduled commitments are helpful.


Today it was yoga. I go every Thursday morning at 9:30, or I have for the past six weeks anyway. My teacher is a total badass, but she has a tender heart, which she shares it with us every week--along with a passage to meditate on, and some great music. The verses she shared today were from Psalm 84.


5. Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

6. As they go through the Valley of Baca

they make it a place of springs;

the early rain also covers it with pools.


Verse 5 in the NIV ends with "whose hearts are set on pilgrimage," which is an image I like as well, but today I was thankful for this additional picture of a heart filled with "highways to Zion" from the ESV.


When my oldest kid was a baby I wore out a CD by Lauryn Hill that featured a song called "To Zion." Though I wasn't single, I still related to the story Lauryn tells in that song of being a new mom. I was also scared for the future and for my child. I also wondered if I'd be able to take good care of my baby, to be the person to lead and instruct this precious soul for the next eighteen years or so.


That was more than twenty years ago, and we've added two more kids to our family since then, but I still have lots of thoughts and feelings regarding my role as a Mom. My kids are still to quote Lauryn, "the joy of my world," but I still worry about them, too. I question my past actions, I fret over their future decisions, I second guess all of our present instincts, and I know all this is fairly normal. Especially if you're an Enneagram 4.


But I'm slowly coming out of my hangover this afternoon, as I realize that even though I played a role in the activity that led to the conceptions of each of my children, I did not fashion their hearts. Someone else did that, and he's the one I have to trust with their lives. So whether they end up in church as grownups, or find fulfilling careers just out of college, or ever go on any romantic dates, it's not up to me to determine whether or not the highways in their hearts lead to Zion. I've done my best to show them my own heart, and I've prayed for their hearts as well, but they're the ones who get to decide where to travel.


It's scary, yes, but it's also freeing. It frees me up to do more loving and less worrying, and maybe even show more vulnerability, like posting these few paragraphs just moments after I write them. It's not my usual MO, but today I want to remind myself that I believe there's great strength in vulnerability. And I want to move on to more strength today, regardless of what valleys lie ahead, believing that no good things are being withheld from me.

What words are you hanging on to today? Tell me in the comments, or shoot me an email: jybarber@gmail.com. Thanks for reading.

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