While I hate to say it, summer is coming to a close.  This summer has been amazing, but then again I say that every summer.  I love having my kids close- love spending time with them.  I remember years ago a woman told me “Just you wait” that eventually I’d hate summer and being with my kids…But so far that hasn’t even been close to the case.   My friends Carissa and  Elisabeth, and I were commiserating as we talked about our soon to be middle schoolers and how we are sensing the closure to that magicalness of childhood.  Jonah has grown up so much in the past four months, every day I see new changes.  His chin has become more defined, his legs are longer, and he doesn’t look little anymore. He has made some pretty mature decisions this past spring – not to do tackle football this fall in order to do fall baseball.  He has a friend who is a girl…but may be more.   It was as if I blinked and my little boy was a little man.  He is still my Jonah but I wonder if this is the last summer where he prefers to be around us.  Where he still loves being with me.  

Other things that are changing…Micah will be in school all day, Daniel will be considered one of the “bigger” kids in his school.  Grace will be in PreK.  My sister Kaitlin, My Kaitlin, is living with us. And I’m going back to school. Dyp has been so excited and supportive as I head towards my own dream of being an LMT.  I find myself more  concerned about who my kids will have as teachers then I do about my own stuff, so that hasn’t changed. My blog is also going to have some changes, as I feel more of a call towards Women’s ministry some guest bloggers have agreed to join me and write for the Joyful Mysteries. I’m so excited!  Those are good changes. 

I am usually someone who does well with change.  And some of these changes have been fabulous, but some are really scary.  I remember being about 7 and my first grade class took swim lessons at the YMCA across the street from our elementary school “St. Jude.” I hated that year.  My parents were getting divorced, and kids weren’t allowed to be friends with me any more.  I still remember the day we were supposed to jump off the diving board and someone was below to catch me.  I was terrified.  They kept telling me it would be ok, and even though I saw them, I couldn’t do it.  I told them my stomach hurt, because it did, and I refused to jump.  I looked down from that light blue diving board and just knew I would die. I knew no one would catch me.  It was too scary.  

Some of these changes remind me of that.  Watching my kids change is scary.  Letting them go is even scarier.  What if someone hurts them? What if someone breaks their heart?  How will they handle being broken?  I go through these emotions every summer but this summer is even more scary.  Maybe it’s because Jonah is asking for more independance.  Maybe it’s because his Dad agrees. But either way I feel myself paralyzed by thoughts and fears of losing him. Trying to find that balance is new for me, another change. Because whether I like it or not, summer is ending and my kids are growing up.

There are so many things I wish I could tell them…looking back at my own life, how the friends who treat you nice, those are the ones that are worth your time.  They are the ones you should spend time with.  The people that are only sometimes your friends, or seem to be only interested in you when there’s no one else around- they aren’t worth your time. I relearned that this year. I wish I could tell them, that when someone says they’re your best friend, but is mean and hurtful – spits on you to embarrass you, and constantly says things to other people about you, they are not your best friend. I wish I could tell them that while you can’t help who you fall in love with, if someone is constantly telling you how much you mean to them, but they don’t want to date because “you’re my best friend–my sister said I shouldn’t date in high school” and then they call and then stand you up or drop you off  after they break your heart and don’t ever call you again, they weren’t worth your years of love. That you will always wonder about the nicest boy you ever knew and hope his life is blessed and full, and you will always wish you’d kept in better touch with the people that showed up, when you weren’t good or worthy. That things that happened and shaped things I did and said, won’t define them later on if they are open to good. That there is so much good. That you were worthy of love and good friends, but maybe I won’t have to tell them all this.  Seriously, I’m so thankful for Taylor Swift in moments like this – she truly is a lyrical genius when it comes to growing and being broken.   

But I digress.  All these years later…my life is so much greater then the life I dreamed of then.  Once I chose to jump and allow my life to change, allow myself to dream bigger, believe in the possibility of so much more– I found so much more. And I didn’t die. 

The changes in the past year of seeing a loved one lose it all, to another person I love fight for it all, to another continue to work each day towards health has led to a whole new realization of how while I can’t “change” or carry the weight of the world, I can still jump. I can still look over the edge and know that while things may not turn out,  that people may not be who I thought they were, but there are people waiting, the people who love me are right there, and He will always catch me.  

For a while this past year I felt like I was drowning, but once I stopped trying to fight off the changes and just allowed God to be God, and myself to be flawed – to be broken, to be uncomfortable I realized I wasn’t alone — in more ways than one.  

Change is inevitable.  And sadly so is evil.  But the good will always prevail, when there is the promise of hope.  Regardless of how scary the water is below my feet, how deep, how dark it seems, I’m going to jump.  I’m going to close my eyes tight and hope and pray for the good. 

And when I come to the surface, my eye lashes may be heavy, but I hope to blink a few times and see the people that have treaded with me and cheered me on…my sisters, my friends, my parents, my beautiful kids that are such a testament of the kind of love I pray they will know someday, and my best friend – who called me first, the man who drove 8 hours once to take me to coffee, whose passion for everything inspires and leads, and who loves me so completely and envelopes me daily with the security of a love and joy so powerful that my knees still get weak and is so much better then anything I imagined.  Back then when I watched the light dance on the wall dreaming in high school, I was afraid of change, not because I had the wrong dream- but because I didn’t know how good it could be. How good the One who caught me is.  He is faithful. He is always there. 

The summer is ending.  My family is already in the water.  So I jump.  I prevail. I join them.