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Where I Stand

High on the mountain of motherhood, far past the treeline of parenting books, Google answers, and even advice from the wise grandmas in your Sunday school class, you feel exposed and vulnerable. The weight of your child's future digs at your shoulderblades, making even small everyday decisions seem... well... weighty.

You try to focus on the next little hill, to take life a day at a time, because if you look too far ahead, that's even scarier. Because really all you can see are more mountains. The wind is cold, and all day you pick your way around boulders, which may or may not be piles of unfolded laundry.

Suddenly, as you reach the top of the next rise straight in front of you is a high alpine lake.

Reflected in the pool, I see the face of my daughter, the dark brown eyes and curly hair of an island world I left behind. She bursts into a giggle and I see my own smile. The only difference is she has only two bottom teeth.

You might see the true heart of the struggling teenager who has been wearing a mask for a month, or maybe the look of determination on the face of the schoolboy who has suddenly found the courage to tackle his long division again.

When you get a glimpse of your child's true self for even just a moment, your feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy turn to awe as you realize...

No one has stood where I stand.

Far out in the desert of complicated relationships, things get prickly. Sometimes it feels like everything you touch has thorns.

The sun beats down hour after hour, and all you feel is awkwardness and discomfort. Maybe sometimes you get stuck in the role of the go-between, the peacekeeper. Now that's a hot job, and it's really easy to get burned.

And just when you feel like truly understanding another person is only a mirage, a fantasy, you find a tiny oasis. Together you drink from the little spring of connection. You look into each other's eyes and share a laugh. This moment is anything but awkward, and you realize...

No one has stood where I stand.

Deep in the valley of exhaustion, you seem to be in stuck in endless twilight. You can see just well enough to put one foot in front of the other, but you know all too well that your perspective has become distorted.

Gigantic trees and tangled vines are everywhere, and the voices in your head whisper like the wind. "If only you would exercise more, you'd have more energy...

Don't tell me you're eating carbs again, young lady! I know you're just after that sugar high... Why can't you get your life more organized? If you would do that, you wouldn't be relying on that afternoon coffee... Doom scrolling again? That's just like you to try and numb out with technology!"

It's a discouraging place, this valley, and it's hard to "effort" your way out of it. Especially if you mix endless errands, stacks of paperwork, a full inbox, middle of the night nursing sessions, and the perfect potluck list that just popped up on the sister's chat again.

But some days, when you're trying to hold back the yawns and the negativity and rein in the chocolate cravings, a ray of sunshine lights up a little stream. Gladly you bend over to wash your face in the cool water. Inspiration replaces exhaustion as you realize...

No one has stood where I stand.

I wish you courage, fellow explorer!

God left some mountains, some valleys, and some desserts for each one of us. They're all different. He wants us to feel that deep connection with us that only comes from facing a challenge that may seem lonely, but that's filled with rivers, springs, and big old lakes of love and grace. They flow endlessly.

Inspired by the song I'll Face the Challenge with my Lord.

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