Being There and Sorting Seashells


Watching the Littles this week reminded me of  my childhood. When I was six I liked to play teacher, make up stories, and shove pennies in between the wall and the counter. As a kid I was quiet and content. My temperament really hasn’t changed much.

There was one thing I absolutely loved to do. There was a basket of shells on the top of our entertainment system. My mom would get them down for me, then I would sit on the carpet and dump them out. For hours I sat there sorting shells into categories. I was just there with my little thoughts and piles of seashells.

At some points during the week I wished my kids would just sit and sort shells, but not all six year olds are as dorky as me.

There were points in the week where I was tempted to lay down and sleep in the grassy knoll while they ran around, sat on me, and pulled my hair. It is hard to just be there when your kids require a lot of work and your lacking in sleep because one of your campers keeps wetting the bed.

In those moments I need grace, buckets of it. You can’t really give out grace unless you have it yourself. So, that is when you kneel down by the living water that rushes with hope and carries all of the grace in ripples. A quick sip and your good to go. You can love your kids all day, even when they are being stinkers.

Being there in the moment requires grace and it allows you to see areas full of ash begin to bloom.

Some of the little ones are carrying baggage to heavy for them to hold. They hit other kids and call them names because they are breaking under the pressure. There little hearts have been broken into pieces by people and situations that storm their lives. Some of them grow up faster than they should because horrible realities get shoved into their suitcases.

We may just be able to lighten their burden a bit by being there for them. They need ears to listen to them and eyes to validate their existence. Being there, fully and with grace gives those little hands the attention they need so they can start tilling the ash and watching it bloom.

I sorted shells because I loved to do it and I spend my summer weeks with these kids because I love to do it.

Sometimes I’m still selfish, sometimes I get frustrated, and sometimes I am so tired that I refuse to get up at 2 o’clock in the morning to read a book. When we mess up there are always second chances and when we need some grace the living water is always there.

Just one sip can help you be there all week for crazy, energetic, and lovable littles.


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