When Our Child Brings a Mistake to Us…

The other night I was dead asleep when I heard my daughter creep in my room. She was shaking and crying, and even in the dark I could tell she was troubled. Since she had a friend staying over, I was extra worried. In choking sobs she told me they’d done something terrible.

I dreaded what I’d hear.mistakeBEST

“We w-anted to p-lay a j-oke on my sisters,” she cried. “So we p-ainted their faces with m-arkers while they were sl-eeping. And now there’s marker all over the sh-eets…”

It took me a minute to confirm everyone was all right, that no eyes had been poked out or worse. The way my daughter was acting, this sounded tragic.

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Comparison is the Thief of Joy

A while back I watched a bridal reality show in which a full-figured bride shopped for wedding gowns with her mom and sister, who looked like a supermodel.

Early on, the bride confessed her insecurities. Naturally she wanted to look beautiful on her big day, but she worried she’d never find a dress to hide her flaws. She also worried about feeling like an ugly duckling next to her sister, because that was their ongoing dynamic.

All her life, she said it’d happened like this: After spending hours getting ready, she’d think she looked great. But once she saw her sister, her feelings deflated because her sister looked better. The sadness on this bride’s face was heartbreaking, and I eventually got so depressed I had to change channels.adelle copy

This show reminded me of how easily comparison leads to self-sabotage. Physically speaking, this bride was no match for her sister, even on her best day. But what the camera failed to capture were the qualities that made this bride sparkle. Surely she outshone her sister in other ways, ways that were less obvious to the naked eye but still very important.

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The Deep End of Love

I should have been exhausted, but I wasn’t.

I needed to sleep, but I couldn’t.ella copy

Instead, I only wanted to look at my new baby girl, an eight-pound miracle named Ella. After an 18-hour labor, she arrived around midnight. As we settled in a hospital room, our surroundings dark and quiet due to the time, I savored a moment alone with her. The nurse had left to gather supplies. My husband was getting food. And I…well, I was undergoing a major transformation.

With adoring eyes I studied Ella’s face, memorizing features and wishing I could watch her all night, every night. When our eyes met, she held my gaze, never once wavering. It felt like a reunion, not an introduction, two long-lost friends who already knew and understood each other. If ever I’d questioned my existence, wondered what good I added to this world, I now had an answer.

This angel from heaven was here because of me. God had chosen me to raise her. As a tidal wave of love swelled inside me, so powerful and intense I could hardly breathe, I realized something: for this tiny creature to evoke so many life-changing emotions, she had to be special.

Then and there, my life split into two: Before and After.

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