Create + Write + Inspire
Unparalleled: A Litany of Love
by Jennifer Kelly on August 11th, 2015

When you're walking your kids to school in the desert, during the unrelenting heat of August, the early morning time is actually quite magical. Only because the sun hasn't been out long enough to stir-fry pavement and people yet. Before 8am, it's actually cool enough for the birds and the bugs and bees to come out and play.

So on weekday mornings, my kids don their backpacks and tennis shoes for the trek to school. We always have water, we always use the sidewalk, and we always pass a hill on the way.  We wave 'hi' to parents and friends. We talk about their activities, schedules, and any other special events that will be happening during the day. And sometimes, we hold hands. 

Monday through Friday the school bell rings at 8:12am. And every morning at 8:12am, Spectrum Elementary school kids go into spastic-rush-mode to ensure their spot in line. It's like a million butterflies released from a cage. They're so young and vibrant and move in living color. They burst with adrenaline and noise, haphazardly, but jubilant.

It's one of my favorite times of the day. 

But today was a little bit different. The bell still rang at 8:12am, the kids still exploded and found their way, and parents were busy giving out hugs and 'bye's to their little ones. My little kindergartener, Khloe, decided to step out of line today. After the bell had rang, and right about the time when the teachers are getting ready to lead their students to class, Khloe came looking for me. She shuffled over to the big, green iron gate where other parents are standing and watching. Some of us parents like to stand there until the very-last-possible-second of witnessing our tiny, little creature walk into class.

Waving and blowing kisses.
Waving and blowing kisses.

Khloe ended up finding me with ease and slid her skinny arms and hands through two big, green iron poles of the gate. Khloe has a crazy amount of intensity about her. She lives vibrantly and dreams wild, wonderful dreams. Khloe is dramatic and florescent in everything she does. Khloe is a blooming flower.

As soon as I realized Khloe was heading toward me, I immediately knelt down to reach out my own worried-mom hands through the same opening of the gate. Our hands and skin connect, Khloe exhales and says, "I love you mom".  
​I think one of the most important things I've learned as a parent is that one solitary moment of love can reassure, can encourage, can help, can be and do, can provide and release everything a child needs in a day.

I make sure Khloe's eyes see my eyes with a reassuring smile and tell her, "I love you more".

I quickly instruct my daughter to hurry back and get in line. Khloe always says, "ok mom", then withdrawals her fingers and her arms. She starts to rush back to her place in line, and as she heads back, she turns around one last time to see if I'm still watching her.

And I am.
I'm that mom waving and blowing kisses.
Waving and blowing kisses.

She is all smiles and back in line in a jiffy. Back in line with her friends and teacher. Back in line where a whole day of wonder and learning and friendships are ahead of her. Back in line to do what she needs to do for the day.

And now I'm here. Sitting and thinking. Trying to get my own self back in line to do what I need to do for the day. I lean over to grab my coffee and try to focus, then I exhale and reach over the other side of the table and grab my strawberry smoothie. I can't make up mind, and I'm really not sure which one I want.

I like to write in little cafes with corner windows. I need my white mac headphones and certain books with specific music for inspiration. I have very practiced, ritualistic habits that are tried and true in aiding my writing mojo. When it works, It's like the school bell ringing and my mind releasing a million butterflies at the same time. I usually love to practice writing words on a screen, because I can't help myself. But for whatever reason, today is different. I'm stumbling to find the right word or adjective or sentence, but in reality, really struggling with so much more than that.

It feels like forever since I've written something. Summers can seem eternal and extremely terrifying once your trying to get back in the grove of things. I've wrestled with what I should write first, and I go back and forth, like my coffee and a strawberry smoothie. And I still don't know what I want.

I think I broke every rule this summer of what the publishing world says you should/must do if you want to become a published writer. "You should write regularly (I didn't write a word), you should have a goal in mind of how many words you write in a day (again, I wrote not-one-iota-of-a-freaking-word), you should have a blog schedule (not one blog posted), you should..." You catch my drift.

And besides my writing woes, living through this past summer felt like another world. Like traveling somewhere far, far away and I've just come home. I'm trying to unpack memories and lessons learned. There were some really crazy, big moments this summer and I'm in a bit of culture shock. I feel like the school bell is ringing and I've exploded, but very unsure and haphazardly wobbly. Like a drunk butterfly.

And that's it.
I need to step out of line for a moment. 
I need a solitary moment of love to reassure me, to encourage me and help me, so that I can be and do what I need to do for the day.

What comes so natural as a mom to give freely to my child is so extraordinarily difficult to receive from God as His beloved child. 

I'm always afraid I've messed up too much, blown it too many times, or just not worthy enough. I try and hide or scamper, fight or withdrawal, crumble or cry, rather than go to the very life source I need. Why do I do this? Why do we all do this?

Isn't funny that most of the time I think I'm here for my children (to teach them, instruct them, encourage them, provide for them, etc.) and it turns out (more often than not) that my children end up teaching me so much more than I could possibly imagine.

So, for my first writing exercise back from a much needed summer break, I choose love.
How could I possibly write about anything else?

The grace and forgiveness that God extends to me, to us, is unfathomable. If I could just practice to step out and look for God's love, God's reassurance and God's mercy when I'm feeling pressured or anxious or scared, I wonder how different my day would be? How living in God's love is so completely unparalleled to living out our lives on our own. 

In Brennan Manning's book, The Furious Longing of God, he writes, "If you took the love of all the best mothers and fathers who have lived in the course of human history, all their goodness, kindness, patience, fidelity, wisdom, tenderness, strength, and love and united all those qualities in a single person, that person's love would only be a faint shadow of the furious love and mercy in the heart of God the Father addressed to you and me at this moment" (Brennan Manning; italics my own).​

I wish you could see my Khloe. She's had such a fantastic start in kindergarten this year. I'm so unbelievably proud of her. And as I think about her now, I can't help but wonder if any of you need to step out of line today? I wonder if maybe you might feel as if you're in a bit of culture shock as well, or if you're just flat out struggling with life.

More often than not, we just need a moment.
A moment of hearing God whisper, "I love you more".

I love you more.

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