03 Oct 2016

I’m SO glad I did this with my kid!

It’s been a year now since we first started talking about what it would look like if I took one of the kids with me when I travel.

I don’t travel a lot.

But more than I expected.

I get to go and encourage other moms. Yes, I get to. I remind myself, it’s always a gift. An honor. To be invited to step into the sacred spaces where women question and doubt their mothering. To be invited to remind them how brave they are. Because it’s not brave if you’re not scared.

All this year I’ve thought, what if I started taking one of my kids with me when I travel? So they could see what it is I do when I’m gone. Besides just pick them up gifts from the airport kiosk.

What if they came so they could see from the inside out what it looks like to follow Jesus when He calls. For me it looks like airplanes and carry-ons and sometimes long and car-sick inducing cab rides and nervous pacing and practicing my talk in hotel rooms far from home.

But it also looks like hugging so many women, so many other moms who struggle the same stories and doubts and questions we all do. This reminder that we are all on the rollercoaster together. The beauty of being welcome in their midst and able to laugh and cry with total strangers who become dear friends because of our shared stories.

What if I invited them? Would they be up to the invitation?

Two years ago my nine year old had traveled with me first. His brother has been eager for his turn. His brother with all the big feelings who pushes all my buttons and struggles with his temper and could I be brave enough to invite him to come with me?

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I could. I did.

He came with me back to Boston to my alma mater.

He came back with me onto the campus where I swore I would never be anybody’s mother. This son who has stretched me and grown me up like nothing else in my life stood next to me on the stage and heard first hand all the stories he’s given me permission to share about him.

I’m telling you, God makes all things new. Wildly, insanely new.

We documented the whole trip on my Instagram Stories and he was the best travel buddy ever. He was funny and insisted on pulling my carry on. We got the big pizza I always get before I fly and we both picked out travel snacks for the plane and wore our respective headphones to listen to our tunes and movies with no talking to each other LIKE A TRAVEL BOSS.

He whooped with excitement through the hotel room and expressed his pleasure in every detail – look we both get our own bed! Look at the tub! I can’t wait to watch movies late at night tucked into the comfy pillows! How great is this hotel breakfast!

Delight poured out of him. At being invited into my world.

I don’t know when last we spent that much one on one time together – not since he was a newborn. And he drank it all in. It was like milk to both of us – strong and nourishing and I could feel the deep bond of like and love wrapping around both our hearts.

He’d picked out his outfits and packed his own backpack and styled his hair in the mirror right next to me the morning of my talk.

The night before we’d gone out to dinner with an Instafriend who is now officially a real life friend and he’d finally said at the end of the evening what I’m always thinking anyway, “OK, but let’s go now so we still have time to watch movies in bed!”

So we did.

And then my kid got out of his bed right next to me and untucked the sheets from the bottom corners of the bed.

It’s such a small thing. But it’s the exact same thing I always do when I travel too. And yet we’ve never discussed it. There it is – he’s quite simply inherited my same quirky dislike of being trapped by my blankets.

Just like he inherited my big feelings and my blue eyes and some days my temper tantrums.

I’m staring at those untucked sheets and I love him so much I can hardly breathe.

Our kids are on purpose and not by accident.

You are EXACTLY the mom they need. Don’t let your doubt shout louder than Jesus’ trust in your motherhood. Our kids are living mirrors that God uses to show us what our lives look like and where we need to grow. And where we ARE growing.

He did his own intro speech. Because OF COURSE he did. He’d practiced and practiced and the sound guy was a little taken aback when the 8 year old asked if he would also be fitted with a headset mic or if he’d get a handheld.

Handheld it was. (Click here if you can’t see the video of Micah’s intro).

I stood on the stage and shared all my Micah stories with Micah right beside me. He wanted to be “backstage” – so he sat tucked around the tiny wall behind the podium. I could feel him there, chuckling and listening along with the audience.

And when I got to the book signing table after the talk he was already seated with pen in hand ready to have at it. And everyone wanted his signature and so I sat, shoulder to shoulder with my son, and we shared a calling this weekend.

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This boy who has broken me into tiny pieces that God has slowly reassembled again – this weekend I got to see all those parts of me I couldn’t when I was a senior in college. When I was terrified about losing myself in motherhood and determined to prove myself through my career. Patient, amazing Jesus saw both versions of me – the stubborn, insecure twenty year old and the tired, mended mother of three.

He is never limited by our perspective. And sometimes, sometimes you have moments like this weekend when He lends you His eyes and you see how much He loves you. How much He always has. And it gives you hope for what comes next. Because you finally believe that He sees that too.

So Micah and I walked the whole campus and drank our hot chocolate and he ate as much as a football player in the cafeteria and then we packed ourselves up and back to the airport.

This kid who had the drill down every time we disembarked and told me, “You go to the bathroom first, this time mom. I can wait with the stuff.”

This kid who made me brand new.

Who made what I do come alive in a whole new way this weekend. I’m so insanely grateful.

Inviting our kids into our travel or work cubicles or art studios or classrooms or kitchens. It’s us that it really impacts.

Jesus loves me this I know, for my children teach me so. Amen.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Don’t be angry with me, but WHERE DID YOUR BABY GO??? Is this what I have to look forward to in just over a year. Oh, my word. So handsome, though!! (I’m not sure I can handle that either, by the way.) <3

  2. 3

    Lisa-Jo, I am so amazed, always, by how God sees us in our fullness and we, in these beautiful moments, see glimpses of how He mends our broken hearts. You have inspired me, sister. I want to do this–bring my children into more of my ministry. Also, I loved hearing your darling Micah speak and sign those books! Wow, he will never forget this. Ever.

  3. 4

    This is awesome! I love Gordon. I’m also a 1998 graduate but I have yet to take any of my three back to the campus that shaped so much of who I am. On a much smaller scale I will share that I am an artist and by nature like to sequester myself away in order to work. My children are forever interested and wanting to “help”. It’s difficult sometimes when I’m working on a deadline and I get annoyed. I mean it’s difficult to work on the computer with a three year old on your lap reaching for the mouse. But then I am reminded of how short this time is and how much they gain by feeling like the priority. I can’t wait to read your book thanks for the encouragement!

  4. 5

    What a special experience you got to share with your son. One that changed you, and I am sure changed him. Thanks for sharing this story. It reminds me of my children and how much they want to know about my life and encourage me in little ways no one else does.

  5. 6

    Wonderful! so glad u wrote this. Kids are not an interruption to our lives. learning how to integrate our lives together is such a joy. Really glad you braved it, did it, and is sharing it! I wish my school-going children aren’t so busy and my husband would let me take them!

  6. 7

    I loved this Lisa-Jo. Well done Mica you are AWESOME.

    Our children so need to see the world we interact with so that one day it is not as scary for them. I know each of our kids have interacted with Rob at work and been blown away at the man he is and how he works with patients. it changed their perception of their dad.

    Go check what they posted on youtube: Cancer stories Meet the Ballantine’s. We had no idea and were completely astounded at their insight, wisdom and ability to see Jesus in so much of the trauma we have faced through voice loss and cancer. So proud of the people they have become.

    Love you so very much and all you mean to the women of this world.

  7. 8

    I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!

    When our boys turned 15 we held a Rite of Passage ceremony — welcoming them in to the company of men. And then I got to take them on a trip anywhere in the US for about 5 days. It was the best parenting money ever spent! I learned SO much about them and we shared adventures!

  8. 9
    Julie Reynolds says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound condescending,but I love watching Jesus change, stretch, and grow you! As a grandmother I’m constantly amazed at the way our Father is so faithful to give us grace as He stretches us beyond what we can ask or think or imagine, I’m so proud of you Lisa Jo and I’m sure God is beaming!

  9. 10

    I loved reading this! When you were at Declare a few years ago, your Micah made me think of my third one-“G-man” and life watching him grow up. All those buttons pushed and all that love wrapped into one package! Glad he went with you and you made that deeper connection that we all want with our children. Years from now he will still be talking about this experience with Mom. I am thankful for your sensitive mom’s heart and for your sharing this with others who may have a Micah or a “G” of their own who make mothering a challenge and a frightening experience some days. Well, most days actually. :) But they do grow up and they are such interesting souls!

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