by Erin Mullen


You know that moment with your kids, when you have the very conscious choice to either run and get the video camera (let’s be real…the iPhone) or to organically, plainly take in the moment at hand? Just experience it without a screen in front of your face? Simple. Real. Present. No chance for Instagram, let alone latergram.

I had one of those moments today. To run or not to run? It’s such a gamble! Can I trust my memory? Can I really tuck this away? Savored. And actually recall it later?

I stayed. Eyes fully aware. Trying to memorize every movement of delight. Every challenge. Every win.

You see, the kids and I got a last-minute chance to hop in the van and head to the beach. This melancholy, choleric loves a calendar and a good list of things to get done each day. Not to mention, I have a routine! But let’s get real…it’s the beach! It all went out the window. This momma packed suitcases and sand toys, and was out the door fast!

Today was day two, and the kids were in full swing of sandcastle designing (which ends up being just a hole in the ground), boogie-board pulling, and focused, no-shell-left-behind collecting. But let me fast-forward ahead to my above video-taping dilemma moment.

It was near the end of our play day, and I had resolved that my Raising Girls book was just not going to get read that afternoon. So I took my little, curly-headed sweetie by the hand and made my way out into the water. To my great surprise she began to plunge her goggled-self under oncoming waves like a pro. It did not take long for my other two minions to notice one sibling getting undivided attention and come running. Soon, all three were repeatedly, without hesitation, throwing themselves into each oncoming wave.

It was in that moment that I decided to take it in. To stay. This moment was not going to be shared with anyone. It was just for me.

And you know what? Even through the crashing waves and giggly shouts from my pack of monkeys, God whispered. With each crashing wave, God spoke to my heart, “Isn’t this what life is like?”

At that moment, my eyes, ears and heart were straining to take it all in. Not one word. Not one attempt. Not a single thing lost on me.

I watched as my kids never gave up, stayed joyful, responded and rebounded, succeeded and fail, loved and kept on loving. In that moment, those steady waves and diving children started to give me a visual of what options I have in my present journey to healing.

I watched my Levi be determined and persistent, but God love him, his timing was all off. I can’t tell you how many times he dove under the smallest of waves only to stand back up and have the next wave crash into his face. Full on face crash. And he kept going! No complaining. Un-waivered.

I watched my London take correction and improve; learning and watching to make appropriate responses to each individual wave. She knew she had a choice: rise above, push on through, or take it like a champ and let it crash all around her. She was focused and resilient.

I watched my Addison learn from her siblings, take little chances, enjoy the moment, and keep smiling while trying. Hesitant, but not running away. Unsure, but staying all the same.

You see, I am just a couple weeks from the one-year mark of a journey that has taken me down a road I never expected. On one hand, there has been present grace and divine endurance. And on the other hand, there has been deep brokenness and wearying neediness. The Lord’s faithfulness through my unbelief and faithlessness, cannot be overstated. Storms came and blew and even some linger still. It has been a year of plenty of full-on face crashes and strategic attempts, but sadly many moments of wanting to throw in the towel. Thank goodness He has never left me and His mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

We all know the childhood song and Bible parable about the wise and foolish builders’ foundation choices (Matthew 7:24-27). And even though most of us love the beach, even as children we knew it was crazy to build a house on sand, but that’s beside the point. The consistent element of this Bible story is that the rains come down and the floods come up in both situations. Wise or foolish, neither are immune. The storms will come. Not a matter of IF, but WHEN.

In this moment of letting the Lord teach me through my water-babies, I saw the year behind me and even the year ahead of me. The storms will come. The waves will crash. The walk of a believer is filled with times of choppy water, but these times also have choices.

In the end, I love what Psalm 93:4 declares:

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,

mightier than the waves of the sea,

the Lord on high is mighty!

Erin Mullen


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