A couple of weeks ago we had a WET weekend. Literally. We got wet. And in the days since, I realized I learned some valuable life lessons from all that water…
1. Perfect is over-rated. Last year for Brynna’s birthday, we had a bounce house. In the rain. The perfectly pretty picture in my mind of kids bouncing in the sunshine was only half-realized. There were kids bouncing; it just wasn’t sunny. And they loved every soaking-wet second of it. This year, while that was a fun learning experience (not really), I planned to have a party with a more manageable Plan B. You know, something indoors. My people don’t care about what’s manageable, though. They care about what’s fun. And bouncing in the rain was apparently the most fun thing ever. So Dad and Brynna vetoed my vote and booked the bounce house in January. I think they both spent the next 2 months praying for rain because…you guessed it…it rained again.
This time, however, I didn’t try to fight the rain. I embraced it. (Meaning, I embraced the concept. I didn’t actually get wet. Let’s not get crazy.) I emailed parents and explained that it would be wet, so send a change of clothes. I laid towels on the hardwood floors and didn’t give another thought to wet feet slipping and falling. I didn’t run around trying to decipher if parents were genuinely amused or cursing me in their heads for sending wet kids home in their nice cars. I laughed and talked with parents. I watched little people with giant smiles compete to see who could make the water puddle splash higher. At the end of the party, Brynna didn’t ask where I’d been. I saw every flip off the slide and every trick jump.
It wasn’t picture perfect. In fact, this picture of Brynna blowing out the candle is the only picture I took. But perfect is over-rated. Life is much less stressful when you don’t aim for perfect, Sister. If perfect is what you’re shooting for you’ll miss every time. But if your goal is to love people and laugh along the way, you’ll do just that. And you’ll show your kids how to do the same.
2. Life is in the big stuff. I used to subscribe to that adage that “Life is in the details.” I am a detail-oriented person. I notice details, and I attend to details. But that’s not where life is.
The weekend of that wet birthday party, we also had a baptism. Brynna accepted Christ last fall. I (maybe like you) thought she was too young to really understand such a thing, but then I listened to her. She told us that she understands she’s not perfect and God is. She said that Jesus died for our sins because we can never be perfect enough to be with God, and she wanted to ask Him to live in her heart. Shame on me for thinking it needed to be more complicated than that. Soon after, Brynna started asking to be “babitized.” We talked about it, I wasn’t sure she fully grasped that particular concept, so I told her we’d revisit the topic when she could pronounce BAP-TIZE.
As time passed, and I realized she was beginning to understand what baptism is (a symbol) and what it isn’t (the way you get to Heaven), I started mentally planning details – dates, times, outfits (Don’t look at me crazy. You know that’s important.). But then some things in our life changed. We were asked to lead a team that changed our schedule, and it became clear that while family was in town for the birthday, it would be best to do the baptism at the same time. No time to plan details. No time to sweat the small stuff.
Brynna wore a dress we had from Target, and I had on my standard jeans and wedges. Everyone we know wasn’t there, but her grandparents, church friends and play cousins were. There was no big party at our house afterwards, but there was a huge celebration in Heaven that day. The details don’t matter. The big stuff does. Brynna made a decision some adults struggle with most of their lives. She will spend the rest of her time on earth and eternity in Heaven knowing that God is with her, she is loved, safe and secure. Don’t get lost in the stuff that’s not important, Mom. Life is in the big stuff. If you do that, the rest really doesn’t matter.
3. All my fountains are in You. After Brynna’s baptism, the worship service went on like nothing was different. Everyone around me kept singing like life hadn’t changed profoundly. But mine had. Because hers had. And then this song began to play. As I walked past the fountain outside our church (That’s literally a picture of the fountain – I know it looks like a stock photo. It’s really that pretty.) later that day, the words were still repeating in my mind.
A flood for my soul
A well that never will run dry
I’ve rambled on my own
Never believing I would find
An everlasting stream
Your river carries me home
Let it flow, let it flow
Open the heavens
Come Living Water
All my fountains are in You
You’re strong like a river
Your love is running through
All my fountains are in You
“All my fountains are in You.” The water in that fountain never stops. It doesn’t have to be refilled periodically. It’s constant. Life is never going to look perfect, Mama. You’re never going to have all the answers. Your well will never be deep enough to be all your kids need. You are less than perfect. If you’re anything like me, most days you are aware that you are WAAAAY less than perfect. But God is. And if you’ll let Him be the source you draw strength from, your fountain won’t run dry. Your well will always have more than enough for what they need.
If you aren’t sure about all this Jesus stuff, but you need that kind of source, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk you through it. It’s not as complicated as we make it. (Just ask the nearest 5 year old…)