This beautiful northwest summer was all the things that summers are made of: the lake days and the barbeques and the nights that stretch out their sunsets long and slow. It was kids laughing and friends chatting and the lingering smell of baby sunscreen— the scent of heaven, I’m sure.
This summer has been so good to us. Not easy, but so good.
I will always remember this as the summer my daughter continued to amaze me with her bravery, going from jumping off the dock into to someone’s arms to calling the attention of anyone within earshot to “watch my 360!” and wanting to go under water with no life jacket at all. She’s not a baby anymore, she’s a little girl who puts her own clothes on and no longer needs my help with her shoes, and I watched that transformation happen right in front of me.
It was also the summer bookended by two distinct appointments: one with clipboards and conclusions, another with a doctor and a few hopeful theories. The months in between were marked with all kinds of dance steps: forward, backward, a few side shuffles and mostly rhythms I have no idea how to follow, but music I’m growing more comfortable with by the day. But the other bookend was a little boy who didn’t even like the bath when summer began and would swim to the middle of the lake with a grin on his face by the end if we let him—a beautiful reminder that things do not always finish the way they start, and what amazing grace that is.
It was the summer the third baby began to crawl and we hardly noticed; such a stark contrast to the first two who had cameras ready as soon as they found their knees and started rocking back and forth. I remember just looking down at the carpet and the baby was pulling himself toward a remote control and I said, “Oh, he’s crawling. Good job buddy.” Don’t worry, we’ve started planning for his counseling later in life, poor third child.
It was the summer that I read books that actually changed me; words and sentences that are now written on post-it notes around my home, reminding me of truths that make every heavy thing feel a whole lot lighter.
It was the summer I felt the poles of being at my worst in front of people I love and being at my best only in the quiet moments with Jesus: both serving to strip away any illusion I had that I’ve got my stuff together. I so do not. But I have a Savior, and that’s better.
It was the summer of gourmet hamburgers and fruit salad. It was root beer floats and ice water with strawberries. It was lounging on hammocks and four mile walks. It really was everything good, and it was a lot of things hard. But mostly, it was the summer God got so much bigger, the summer I learned that broken things are daily being made new, and that repentance must be part of the rhythm of my life, not the random occasion. It was the summer I’ve had to be the most honest with myself and others, a time I’ve had to come clean about my selfish ambitions and trade them for the beautiful gift of insufficiency.
And now, sitting here on the horizon of a new season, anticipating the order that comes with regular schedules, a daughter in preschool (praise hands!), and the fresh desire to see God’s kingdom come in the smallness of my simple life, I can only think that every season is good and hard, because life is good and hard. But I’m learning how to hold both with joy, how to live both with gratitude, and how to actually love both, the good and the hard, because of the glory God can get in them.
Both. There is so much tension in that word. We must need Jesus because he’s the only one I know who can handle both.
Summer, thanks for being good to us.
Jesus, thanks for being the best for us. And thanks for giving us the summers. That was so good of you.