t was after the waves.
After the waves of contractions, after the waves of blow out diapers and wet nursing pads that leaked through the let downs and the damp spit blankets that piled high at the bedroom door.
Long after the waves of colic at 3 am and the 4:30 am crying, both the swaddled and terrified toddler, and the sleepless nights in that faded worn flannel that blurred into long stumbling years —
after she had used up all the young and just hung old everywhere, clung and nursed and pulled right out.
It was after all that decade of crashing waves that she stood on the shore with the children, tanned and limbered and long, and they dug castles. She had known visions of castles. What she hadn’t known is that things come true in the most unlikely ways.
Sometimes the crashing waves don’t wash you away, but wash you alive.
She still stood.
She stood and she didn’t know how —
because she’d yelled about tossed socks and abandoned bowls and slamming doors and flipped up toilet seats and she’d hollered and fallen so many times, her skin was right grass-stained with this tripped-up world.
She hadn’t known: Grace is the backbone of every woman still standing.
She was over half way now.
If she was given a full seventy years, she was over halfway now.
Half the sunrises behind her, half the harvest moons, half the fading summers — and all the beginnings and the firsts and all her own babies, all that behind. And it made her hurt and it made her smile: It’s all the things already behind a woman that bring her beauty to the front.
She wondered then if it had been a lie? For women, men, everyone…. It had been a lie and she didn’t know where it had got started except maybe back when it was all paradise and is that why they had lost paradise, because they’d believed the lie?
“You can have it all” — isn’t the whole truth.
No matter where you — it’s never all easy. A crop is made by all the seasons and the only way to have it all — is not at the same time… but letting one season bring its yield into the next.
This is how to have no fear —
each season makes a full year.
The girl ran through the waves.
And three of the boys dug with shovels and hands and pails.
And the firstborn stood with his father at the edge of the water, shoulder to shoulder, talking man to man on the rim of the world.
She had delivered this. And she had been full and round and she, together with him, they had delivered this, each of them, and now she stood full all over again. A mother fills, only to empty, and empty, and empty, which fills her full again, and isn’t this giving away the way to have it all?
And she could feel it, there on the beach with all the children birthed, the light in their hair, in their eyes, all the time passing under her like sand:
There are a thousand ways to be stretched thin and it’s the stretchmarks that a woman wears that can be her thin places, giving her more of God.
The only way to have it all… is to have Jesus — and like Him — to give it all away.
Fall was coming. Summer fading.
She could feel it in the air, on her face facing right into wind.
She watched how the boys wrestled a log off the beach. She watched how they launched it into waves, into sun, into that endless horizon and everything unknown.
And in the goings and the launchings, she stood there brave — all the seasons were going to do nothing less than make a full year.
The seasons could turn. The seasons could bring it all as He meant it to be.
And she could stand there after the waves and before the waves and she could feel it —
She wasn’t afraid of swimming in the deep end, way out of her comfort zone.
When you can’t touch bottom, you touch the depths of God.
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