Stumbles and Bruises


“No, Joy.”

My voice was calm but firm…and quickly losing its calm. This child. This sweet surprise. Blonde curls and blue eyes snapping with humor and spunk.

She was gonna be the death of me.

I’d told her a dozen times to stop playing on the picnic table. I’d back away. She’d climb back up. It was as if she had spent every one of her 20 months on this earth storing up ways to make me pull chunks of my hair out. Was almost-two this hard with the other three? Or have I just gotten old?

I turned my attention, for a split second, to a passing vehicle, taking inventory of my other children, making sure all were away from the road. And, like sirens, her wail rose high – hitting frequencies I didn’t even know existed.

She’d fallen. Hard.

I scooped her up checking for major injuries while hugging her to me, my body already swaying in a dance she knew well – the slow dance of a mama’s body hugging her child close and rocking. Soothing motions as we swayed together.

Eventually her tears stilled. But the bruise, ripening to a deep purple already, would remain. The gash, that would leave a scar at the corner of those deep blue eyes, was bleeding red and angry. Still we rocked, as my oldest, one who’d learned (most of the time…for now) that mom’s words were meant to protect and guide, quickly headed to the van for our first aid kit. I cleaned Joy up as I spoke words of love and comfort to her.

Sometimes God treats me so. I get so mad at Him when He doesn’t give me my way, give me what I’ve so perfectly planned out. I stomp my foot and forge ahead in my own power anyway.

And then I stumble. Sometimes I fall. Face-first, in the gravel, where life hurts most.

And He picks me up. He allows me to feel the pain my actions have caused. Yet He gently reminds me that this is why He came. So that my foolishness would be covered, and I had a way back to Him.

And sometimes, if I’m feeling especially wise, I let Him hold me and redirect me, showing me His good and perfect plans for me. Plans that might look different than my own. But that will be so much sweeter, so much more fruitful.

And sometimes I ignore His words, His heeding, and I continue headstrong and rebellious, insistent on doing things my own way. And at these times, I may feel the pain of His discipline. But it is a pain so much sweeter than the pain of silence, of a Father removed and distant. It is a discipline from a Father who loves me too much to allow me to keep going my own way.

And that is lavish love. A love that scoops me up from my stumbles and caresses my tender bruises.

1 thought on “Stumbles and Bruises”

  • I love reading you post! How did such a young woman become so inspiring? You amaze me and your love of family and God is so inspiring love you and miss seeing you

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