Faith, life, Parenting, relationships, Spiritual Encouragement
Comments 14

Growing Up, Growing Older, Growing in Grace

She’s so much like me and nothing at all like me.

Our similarities have nothing to do with our looks and everything to do with the way we look at life.

She will always be 24 years younger than I, part of the generation that grew up with cordless phones that morphed into handheld super computers in the span of a couple of decades. I grew up learning the Dewey Decimal System, she is growing up using “google” as a verb meaning “to search for information on the world wide web.”

I grew up the awkward little person that trotted after a gaggle of sisters. She is the firstborn, full of remarkable inner strength and always pushing ahead of the pack.

Even as a preschooler she ran ten feet ahead of the line.

We wrestled wills during the season when adolescence lost their grip on her. Growing up is a brutal thing that makes us all long for Neverland. But truth won out in her spirit, truth I taught and lived and prayed into her soul. It was a messy and uncoordinated choreography of developing in our roles as mother and daughter and partners in the dance of faith.

I watched my daughter emerge into a new season strengthened by her middle-school trials, centered in her own faith in Jesus as her savior, and balancing her life gracefully.

She recently scheduled her senior portraits. I went along for the ride.

In the September sunshine, as afternoon wore long shadows and the sun sank golden and liquid in a cornflower blue sky, I watched it all in the lift of an eyebrow, a turn of the chin: I saw the stubborn of her at age three and a glimpse of her on her wedding day. I saw the strong, flexible dancer that once “practiced ballarina-ing” with a tiny, pink plastic barre in the living room now defy gravity in pointe shoes.

I saw everything I value, everything I am and everything I’m not while the shutter clicked, and time ticked, and I grew older and she grew up.

And it’s been Grace-Full. These eighteen years.

I’ve stumbled. I’ve made mistakes. So has she. We are not graceful dancers on a stage, but the hardworking artists who show up for class day after day to learn the craft, to hone our skills in this stuff of living grace-fully. And while my dancing never amounted to more than rhythmic wiggling (and alas, she dances ballet), my living can be graceful, my loving can be graceful, my relationships and my children and my priorities can move and sway to the learned and unforced rhythms of God’s grace.

And I hum a little and sway to the tune of “Grace, Grace God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse my sin…” just a few bars of the hymn of my childhood faith, and I am reminded: it’s all grace. Its all gift.

{A little musing essay on the concept Graceful and my thoughts about growing up, growing older and growing in grace. Thank you, dear ones, for reading, for dancing with me today in this painted prose (with Emily here). If you want to pop over to Lisa-Jo’s theres a bevy of bloggers freewriting on Graceful.  bless you! Aly}



  1. Floyd says

    A beautiful story of beautiful lives, blessed by God. They dance away so fast…

    • shelly, i know you’re raising bigger kids, too. It’s a bittersweet season: we can see the person who is amazing developing, yet their vulnerability is palpable. And our job is not to fix every problem or pull them into safety every time. Takes faith and prayer to hold back and let them learn life’s ropes and wisdom to treat the sting of the burns when they need comfort.

  2. So beautiful, and I with a 16 and 17 yr old I am wanting to stop time. It feels like a thief right now. Your words a heartfelt dance through the life of a girl. Your heart, your lives, a beautiful telling. Just lovely.

  3. oh girl. i nearly cried at your words, at the way you tenderly described your relationship with your daughter. what a loving waltz, this giving and taking and suddenly they’re 18 years old and leaving home. oh friend. i don’t think i’ll be able to handle it. so much love to you…

    • well emily, it is a lot to handle, this releasing them. But, when i remind myself into whose care I let my children go, I can do it with confidence (and a few tears) that He who began a good work in them will truly be faithful to complete it. love and blessings to you – I’m praying for your book, that it will reach into the hearts of many and bring hope!

  4. With tears in my eyes, I know. These beautiful babies grow into these beautiful people.. and we are so blessed to be present. Thank you for writing, dear friend.

    • thank you for reading, lovely dawn. I miss seeing your face! (and your amazing boys, however they’re so tall they’d have to be sitting in order for me to get a good look at them!)

  5. oh, this is so, so lovely. I have a daughter that at four i have already entered this dance with… this gives me hope that in seasons to come i will see the fruit of this mama-labor. so beautiful.

    • thanks, tara. you will be blessed in seasons to come. you may have to hold out that hope as a promise through tough times, but the blessing will come:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s