Oh, how to introduce my precious friend Lauren when there is so much to say.
Although our moms were roomates at Auburn, Lauren and I didn’t meet until she began her interview process with Chick-fil-A. Then, we got to work on the same team there and now we are forever friends. Many of deep talks, pouring out dreams and wishes. So much wisdom and advice from HER (the WAY younger one) to me, many hysterical times and antics on projects. Such spiritual growth and breakthroughs for me at her parent’s retreat.
Lauren and her parents are THE REAL DEAL.
Never bringing attention or talk of themselves. Always eyes and hearts like LASERS on the person in front of them. It’s so inspiring.
She didn’t change in one way when she married singer, songwriter Chris Tomlin. She’s the same ole Lauren. I love that about her. I’m so grateful she’s allowing us to peak inside that profound brain as she processes the birth of their new daughter, Ashlyn.
THE HEART OF A NEW MOTHER
It’s always a beautiful thing when a song, or a fragrance from your past enters into your present moment.
Nostalgia. It pauses time. There’s this song by George Winston—a beautiful melody from my childhood, called “Thanksgiving”.
The dance of the keys on the piano is as playful as it is haunting. As a three year old little girl I used to dance to this song around our living room. I KNEW Jesus with was with me, watching and delighting in me as I twirled around the room.
From then on the song never played again. But those moments and that melody was forever written on my heart. I had completely forgotten about that song until the melody made it’s way back into my life in my labor and delivery room. Chris, being a music man, made a playlist of songs for my delivery. We had “trained” for a natural birth and one of the few tricks up our sleeves for pain management was music. (Right!!? We didn’t even use the playlist during delivery as I was living and dying for every break in between my hammering contractions!)
Only after Ashlyn Alexandra Tomlin was in our arms, did the melody come back to me. Without even knowing that this song was a part of my little girl life, Chris had put the song on the playlist. Immediately it took me back. The song absolutely pierced my heart. As I held Ashlyn, I looked at her innocent little face. She was PERFECT. Completely pure. Completely innocent. I wept with complete thanksgiving. It was as if all of time stopped and I returned to my own innocence.
Life couldn’t get any better than that moment.
And then life happened. A few weeks later I found myself in the midst of “to-do’s”, trying to keep up with expectations that only me, myself, and I was placing on myself. Essentially I was trying to maintain the same pace of life I had before Ashlyn entered my world. Without even realizing it, the posture of my heart was taking a toll on me. I was growing to resent that every time I was about to tackle something on my checklist she would start crying and poof! my moment of checklist glory was over.
Without even realizing it I was starting to resent HER.
In the midst of one of these moments of defeat where I found myself staring at a looming checklist, that beautiful song “Thanksgiving” came on through the overhead speakers in our home. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I knew it was Jesus wooing me back to Him again—back to that little girl innocence in my OWN heart. For healing. For life. For Him.
When did I stop twirling? When was it that I started finding a sense of my worth in what I accomplished for the day, versus finding appreciation for who I was in just BEING? When was it that the delight in my Father’s eyes, was shrouded by an agenda?
I’m looking at little Ashlyn now. She’s asleep and I’m following the little breaths of her body, so soft and gentle. So simple, yet stunningly beautiful. What will I impart to Ashlyn? What will I teach her about being the little girl–about being a woman? Will I show her that she is loved for being just her, or will I show her that she is valued only for what she does and what she presents to this big bold world. I know actions speak far more than words. What will my actions tell her? Will I take the time to just be with her—push the to-do list aside and be completely present? Will I drink in those delightful ways of hers, or will be I be consumed with the pace of this life?
I know that God has captured my attention right from the get-go. I’ve been awakened to the affect of my life and I find myself longing to live a life of true beauty where I can revel in being a woman who is truly free from all that binds, all that entangles. I really do long to be loved by Him.
I see it all so clearly. For me to invite her to live in a place of freedom, my heart needs some mending. I must revisit my own season of innocence as a little girl and ask Jesus to remind me of what it was like to dance and twirl before Him. Carefree and unhindered before the assault on my heart began–before performance, pressures, disappointments and heartbreak set in. I must revisit that sweet season and let Jesus speak to my grown up heart about what it’s like to live in that place of innocence—in that place of true freedom where I find my breathing, living and being in Him–not in my checklist.
How comforting to know it is what he’s after—restoring what was lost. I must let Him Love me for me, a part from what I do, or what I can offer. Only when I receive this extravagant love for myself, can I extend this to others. And only then can I extend this beautiful freedom to Ashlyn.
So it’s been a time of thanksgiving.
A return to innocence.