Freedom is a magnificent word. I didn’t feel free twenty years ago. I was overwhelmed, with three young daughters, working in campus ministry. My three girls are all now in their twenties. How did this happen? Aren’t I still in my twenties?! My hot flashes assure me I am not physically, yet my truest self knows I am still the same soulful woman who loves to be silly and laugh hard and dance like I’m in high school (my girls turn away when this happens - completely mortified).

I was recently looking at a picture from the early 2000's. Our family made the 30 minutes drive to Ganyard Farm each fall to ride the hay wagon out to the field to pick pumpkins. I loved seeing the Ring Pop’s, baggy jeans, and all the hair clips. I mostly loved seeing my girls in my arms…hugging them close. Sometimes I want to go back — to re-live some of those moments. I want some do-overs.

I can’t go back, yet I can speak to my younger self some things that re-frame and bring healing to my heart even now...

Dear Younger Self,

You are worthy of infinite love. You matter. You are enough.

You are powerful and strong. You play a vital role. Your words matter. Your voice matters. You have a glory that is desperately needed. And you are tender and kind. Your heart is good and it is needed.

Making time for rest and care for your body, mind, and soul is not selfish - it is vital...for everyone. Naps are good.

As a mother you will make mistakes ... big ones. You will disappoint. You will miss their hearts. You will not do this even close to perfectly. It is OK.

And when you do make mistakes, offer the gift of an apology from your heart:  “I am so sorry I missed your heart. I know that must have hurt.” Then STOP. No more words are needed. ESPECIALLY NOT, “but if you would have only obeyed me, I wouldn’t have gotten so mad!” Nope. Not helpful. That’s not an apology - it’s an excuse.

Focus on the girls' hearts, not their behavior.

Learn to breathe deeply and slowly. Deep yoga breaths. Actually, do yoga.

Feel the freedom to tell your littles, “I don’t know … I’m not sure about that … let’s figure it out together! Let’s ask Jesus what He thinks!”

There is a freedom in the less-than-perfect ... in the undone ... in the space ... in the becoming.

Be fully present. Try not to wish these moments away…to hurry to the next (easier?) season.

Laugh more. Enjoy the way they say “cone fall” instead of “phone call” and have more dance parties for no other reason than to be silly and free!

ALL GRACE, Beloved One.

The invitation to live life to the full in the midst of the hard and unfinished, and to walk in more and more freedom continues for me.