Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
At least once a day some conversation with one of my kids begins with, "When I grow up...". Usually it is followed by, "I want to be a "fill-in-the-blank".
Right now my youngest son is obsessed with clowns. When he grows up he wants to be a clown. Yes, a clown. He's been researching juggling, having me paint his face like a clown, wearing a hat... He's predominately interested in being a mime - very specific in his clownly desires.
So, I've been answering lots of questions about his attire. My response has been, "Yes, Cooper has decided he wants to be a clown when he grows up." Then I sort-of roll my eyes and say, "Really aiming high, huh?" Being a clown just doesn't seem to be an aspiration, plus could he support himself? Pay the bills? I mean, really -he does need to get practical
I've been thinking about it though...my oldest son - he used to want to be (and maybe still does)a comedian. He's totally funny - a real gift. I have people come up to me and tell me that he's the funniest kid they've ever met. And my middle son, he'll help anyone or anything. Once I saw him pray over a dying baby bird. He has a double dose of compassion.
So, it seems that I have children that want to grow up and entertain people, make people laugh, and care for people and animals. Man - those are things to want to be when you grow up. Those are things a mom should be encouraging, not rolling her eyes about.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get lost in the labels or the expectations of life. Maybe it's just this time of my life... But, when I grow up, I hope I am doing those things that my children are so attuned to. I hope they don't lose that wonder at life and that they never stop imagining what they will give to the world.
So - what about you? What do you want to be or do when you grow up?
I remember when I had my first child, Carter. They laid his sweet, perfect body all tightly swaddled in a hospital baby blanket into my arms. I gazed down at this little miracle and took in every ounce of him - they way he smelled, how fragile he felt, how utterly dependant on me he was. Mom's of older children would stop by the house to meet him and every single person would say, at some point in the conversation, "Oh, he's so small. I forgot how little they are."
I would think to myself, "You forgot? How could you possibly forget this?" And, then - Carter grew and I forgot. And, the next two times I had baby's I remembered this...this time is so short, it's so precious, it goes by so quickly.
All my kids are growing up and in some respects the are growing up so that they can leave me and move on to new adventures in life. Every day they and I are saying good-bye.
But we're not saying good-bye to each other forever. We say good-bye to parts of our relationships, but there are always new things which make their home in the places which were vacated. I said good-bye to holding them all night in my arms, but said hello to giant celebrations for a great goal on the soccer field. I said good-bye to making bottles and feeding them, and said hello to baking cookies with them and having them set the table.
I know that they will leave physically at some point, but I also know that they will never truly be gone. We're a part of each other.
I'm leaving seminary. Today was my last class, Friday is graduation. Lots and lots of good-byes are on the horizon. Seminary has been a home for me - a safe place. That will be gone - the physicality of my showing up on the campus will be gone.
In some respects life is a whole lot of good-byes strung together. But it's also...a whole lot of hellos. We can only have the opportunity to say good-bye, because we once had the opportunity to say hello. Evey piece of seminary, every class, every professor, and mostly every student is part of me now. I've been raised, in part, by seminary.
Good-bye. Hello. Adios. Hola! Au revoir. Bonjour! Go in peace, serve the Lord. The Lord be with you.
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.