{PHFR} – Acting Justly, Loving Mercy, Walking Humbly

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life, as inspired by the women at Like Mother, Like Daughter~

{Pretty}

On Friday morning, after our Thursday night rainstorm, the girls and I ventured out for a walk. The weather was crisp and cool. The clouds, which covered the sky when we started, began to give way to blue sky. The straw-strewn path was perfect -neither dusty nor muddy. Altogether lovely. Don’t we live in a beautiful place?

{Happy}

Katie, my animal-loving girl, got to ride a horse for the first time this past weekend. A local orchard hosted an apple festival (I have a box of fruit in the garage, bought at a discount, waiting to become apple butter), and one of the attractions was a young woman and her horse, offering short rides for tips. Katie showed no hesitation whatsoever, just marched right up to the animal many times her size and waited to be lifted up. That slight smile in that last picture tells you just how excited she is; that’s the most reaction we tend to get from her when we’re in public.

{Funny}

A good friend asked if she could re-home her stuffed panda with my girls, and I said yes (not fully appreciating how big a “three-foot” stuffed animal really is!). Katie wasn’t quite sure what to make of this guy when he came through the front door – her eyes got wide and she looked a bit shell-shocked. Since then, they’ve become fast friends. So much so that, when Katie’s Halloween costume (a lab coat and a stethescope, so she can be “Dr. Katie”) came, Panda was one of her first patients.

(A somewhat funny aside: there were several one-star reviews of that $5 stethescope that complained about the fact that it “didn’t work very well.”)

{Real}

Monday morning means two things: Stroller Strides and grocery shopping. This week was no different. We made it out of the store and back home again in one piece, with all the essentials in tow, though, while you can’t tell it from this photo, there were a few moments where I, crouched down in the baking aisle, face-to-face with my eldest, who planted her feet and refused to meet my gaze while my youngest made increasingly perturbed sounds above us, thought we might just have to find a way to do without groceries for the week. I thought I was going to be that mom, the one with the tantruming kids in a public place who, more often than not, judges herself more harshly than anyone else does, the one who is this close to losing her cool right along with her children.

I thought I was going to be that mom, and I nearly was. Somehow, though, (and I’m not really sure how this happened) we managed to work our way through it, Katie and I did, and by the time we left the store half an hour later, the conflict was forgotten as we sang and laughed and hopped our way to the car together.

This then, is where much of my time and energy go these days: to helping this small person manage big emotions in a big world; to guiding her as she learns how to express her independence while still being a part of a family, a community; to leading her as she discovers who she is and who God is. It’s a monumental task, this care of a soul, a task for which I feel wholly unqualified. I’m learning right alongside her. It’s a monumental task, but also, I believe, a vitally important one.

I listened to The Bible Project’s three podcasts on justice this past week (side note: if you aren’t familiar with The Bible Project, check them out. They’re well worth your time), and, as always, I was both encouraged and challenged by what Jon and Tim had to say. One of the key points that stuck with me was this: true justice takes other people’s problems and makes them your own.

I know this is true; over and over again, throughout scripture, God exhorts His people to care for the widows and the orphans, the strangers and the needy. And yet, here’s my continual struggle: my days are full of playing and cleaning and caring and living, and, when the evening comes and the girls are in bed and the dinner dishes are washed, I’m spent. The last thing I want to do is to take on the problems of others. Because justice done well takes time and effort and energy and thought – all of which feel as though they’re in pretty short supply these days.

I know that acting justly and loving mercy and walking humbly at this phase in my life might not look the same as it looked five years ago, might not look how it will look twenty years from now – but still I wrestle with the call to justice and how it fits with the vocation of motherhood.

How can I pursue justice here and now, in this life I have? A large part of it is, surely, living a quiet life and loving those in front of me well. The rest – well, the rest is something I’m still figuring out.

Those are some of the {pretty, happy, funny, and real} moments around here this week. How about you? Capture any contentment lately?

Family and Parenting, This Thing Called Life

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3 Responses to {PHFR} – Acting Justly, Loving Mercy, Walking Humbly

  1. Susan Evans says:

    Sadly we don’t look to Motherhood as the first stepping stone of teaching justice to the next generation. We look to find justice for those already harmed by injustice. Without mothers and fathers teaching justice/injustice to their small children how can they can it in the future.We are to write the precepts on their hearts and heads so they can become discerning adults. This is a very important and long teaching assignment that is not looked at as important as it is. You are fighting each day as a mother for the injustice of others as you teach your little ones about justice as you stop a sibling squabble. It stars here. Just random thoughts.

    • Jenn says:

      You’re right, of course, Susan. I get caught up in wanting to address the hurts I see in the news, and I forget that I’m practicing justice with my girls every day. It’s a long game, for sure – harder to see the end results and to trust God for the difference it will make in the world. Thank you for the encouragement, and the reminder.

  2. Jamie says:

    That’s a BIG panda!