This morning my sweet little Katherine looked up at me with big, toddler, tear-filled eyes and my heart melted.
It was seriously the Sweetest. Thing. Ever.
As I was about to head out the door, Spencer told Katherine to tell me bye and love you. And as she looked up at me and said, "Bye-bye. Wuv you" in her precious not-yet-two-year-old voice, her eyes began to fill with tears. Then she tilted her little head down and wiped them away and looked back at me.
And I felt All. The. Emotions.
She understood I was going away; she felt sadness and expressed it. And in that precious moment I felt overwhelmed by love from my little one. I felt appreciated and longed for. I felt grateful for the time I get to spend with her each day. Because it matters to her. That tender moment showed me that it all matters to her.
And that start to the morning gave me a greater appreciation for what was to come throughout the day.
A week ago I was graciously given a ticket to a writing conference taking place this weekend. I hadn't planned on coming to Jeff Goin's Tribe Conference because financially I knew it wasn't feasible, but when the ticket was placed in front of me if I wanted it, I accepted that gift. (I could write a whole other blog post on saying yes...and I probably will.)
And it has been just that. A gift. A gift I will definitely be processing for the days to come, but this conference has been an absolute gift in many ways.
This morning Ally Vesterfelt spoke so beautifully about the importance of finding your voice. And at the end of her talk she walked us through an assignment that involved thinking through our own childhoods. And as I thought through the things I heard in my childhood home and those phrases that stick out to me, it made me think about the things Katherine hears and the phrases we repeat to her. As much as Ally's assignment helped me process where I came from, it also impacted my own parenting greatly.
When Katherine and our future kids sit down later in life and tell others what they heard in their childhood home, what will they say? What will they remember hearing? Will they be strengthened and spurred on by the positive or will they need to process and grow from the negative? How will their childhood impact them? What will our home mean to them later in their lives?
I want them to remember messes and laughter. I want them to remember encouragement and joy. I want them to remember bubble baths and tickles, oatmeal and eskimo kisses. I want them to remember bedtime stories and bedtime songs. I want them to remember the, "Mama and Daddy love you," and the "Jesus loves you the most." I want them to remember gratitude and holding hands and amens. I want them to remember the mundane and the adventure, the risks and the rewards.
And ultimately, I just want what they remember to point them to Jesus. And then in turn, for them to point others to Jesus.
Throughout the day I heard wonderful speakers share about content marketing and building an email list and using social media and redefining success and all sorts of helpful, practical knowledge. My mind is overflowing. And my introverted self is a bit drained.
But the last speaker of the night made a profound impact on me. Jeremy Cowart shared his story in a remarkably moving way and his words have forever changed me. Throughout his presentation he reference how his parents consistently told him that he could do all things though Christ who strengthened him. And when he felt like he couldn't do something, his parents would be there cheering him on with those words.
Once again, as much as Jeremy's presentation helped me think about how I can use my voice to make a lasting difference in this world, it also impacted my own parenting greatly.
I have an opportunity every day to speak life into Katherine. I have an opportunity every day to give Katherine what she needs to succeed. I have an opportunity to invest in her future by what I say to her today. I have that wonderful opportunity and that great responsibility.
I started the day with the sweetest moment in parenting. And as I end the day processing everything I learned with my sweet Katherine sleeping beside me, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I didn't expect to learn parenting lessons at a writing conference. I didn't expect to be forever changed. But I am.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.