The Toddling Twos

It was July 17th, 2014 when we moved into the Obrien house. I remember the day well. I was moving out of my friends house and listening to “fight music” (Oceans I think it was) in my earphones, fighting back tears, fighting back fears, fighting for faith.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail . . .

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves . . .

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Fast forward to July 17th, 2015. Our faces were actually stuck like that for awhile. Scary.

I remember that day well also. Not because it was a huge celebration, but because it wasn’t at all like I imagined. I didn’t blog that day, because I had nothing. Here’s a journal entry from that day, no doubt fighting back tears, fighting for faith . . .

A year since I said yes with all my heart to moving into the neighborhood. The hardest year of my life, without a doubt. Today feels anti-climatic. I had pictured this day with banners and streamers and celebrating with friends in worship of who You are and what You’ve done in the neighborhood. I had pictured sweet notes to everyone I’ve grown to love. And a magazine to pass around to supporters. I just don’t have energy for that. Honestly, I’m just not in the mood. If I celebrated today, it would feel fake and forced. I have more questions than answers right now.

If I’m totally honest, in that moment, I was ready go MacGyver on it all. Light a match and walk away without a backward glance.


This week marks two years and though it’s been clumsy, toddling growth—my heart recognizes the faithfulness of a God who is present, who is good and who is not silent. I can’t even explain how dear our neighbors have become to us as we’ve shared backyards, popsicles, s’mores and life.

Life is not tidy or easy. Not all of the questions are answered. Most of the circumstances remain. But I’ve changed.

There’s no way to sum it all up in a blog post, but there are two take-aways from the past two years that I wanted to record. Whether you find yourself in a MacGyver moment or in a all-is-s’mores-and-smiles moment, I hope this is encouragement.

1. I can’t watch plants grow.

They grow so slowly. Oh! Do they grow slowly. But. they. do. grow.

Jesus told a story, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

His life in us, it starts so small and fragile, but it grows. And His life becomes the biggest thing in the garden. It actually becomes a tree and supports the weight of those seeking refuge.

I can’t hurry it. HE BRINGS GROWTH in His own time and His own way. Its slow and comes through pain mostly, but it’s strong and sure. He knows what He’s doing and He never looks away from the plant that He is tending.

2. My role in my own life is peripheral.

It’s totally impossible to zoom out on our own lives, because we are way too close to them. We are living them. Every failure, every self-righteous attempt, every snotty nose, and every Monday afternoon. But if we could zoom out, we would see that God is painting a story that He started at the beginning of time, and is still writing. It’s a story of His glory. It’s a story of redemption.

And there is only one Hero in this story, and its not me. My own story just supports the Lead Role.

This isn’t comforting to the ego, but it’s comforting to the soul. I was made to stand in awe of Him and worship Him and give it all away for Him: my full satisfaction being His glory, not my own. When He starts to work this into our souls, it frees us to hold onto the right things with supernatural tenacity and let go of the wrong things quicker and with fewer tantrums.


I have no idea where I’ll be on July 17th, 2017, it will probably be messy. But I pray that year three will find me at the feet of Jesus, rediscovering the Treasure, and that many will be drawn in by His glory.


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