When All We See Is Perhaps All We Want To Know?

The tricky thing about the beginning of the school year is this.

Every picture you see with a child in cute new clothing and a huge back-to-school smile, has a parent or caregiver on the other side of that camera.

We just do not know if that mommy, daddy or grandparent is joyously happy or tenderly sad that their child is back to the books and growing up.

And what about the homeschool mama who sees a another year in front of her with her choice to stay at home and teach those kiddos day in and day out. Hard stuff!

Today, my social media feed was flooded with pictures just like these. Honestly, my reaction caught me off guard and I have been thinking on it all afternoon.

I cried with the mama who put her first little girl on the bus to Kindergarten.

I nodded in understanding at the mama who was counting the last of her clan to school at home. She has four out of seven left. I have five out of ten left. I get it. So well.

I laughed with those with had epic first day of school picture fails. But still shared. Bravo!

I was in awe at the celebration of the day. The week. Seasons of learning, growing up and launching new seasons are upon us. Everywhere.

All of the pictures sharing this momentous week, all of the pictures sharing the firsts, the cuteness, the stepping stones and then…

The haunting words that come back to me every time someone meets me for the first time or reads my words:

Is this really how you are or how your life is? Is there more to you than we see?

And my heart response is this: Do you really want to know?

Do you really want to know what a bad day I had with my children over their chores and just plain brushing their teeth?

Do you really want to know that my my anemia is kicking me down and I cannot be there for you or my family in full capacity right now?

Do you really want to know that we are at the beach to avoid starting school?

I want to know. I want to understand and pray and champion the woman who feels that a picture is a thousand words in her heart, but a tweet only allows 140 characters for us to see and know.

So, I thought. I tried to see. I tried to know. And I prayed for all of you today.

Launching and giving over and relief flooding over you…I know.

I thought about the mama who put her little girl on the bus for the first time. I saw her beautiful shining face and her daddy holding her for their picture.

But then, my heart turned to that mama watching her little girl grow big into a dreamer and how it is her job to champion and push and to gently let go. But, oh, how hard this is.

This was not lost on me. I tried to see. And I knew.

I thought about the homeschool mama that shows us the new grades on our homemade signs, and we see how tall and grown up her children are rising in wisdom and in stature.

But, then my heart turned to the mama taking that picture. How she has been cleaning the school room, organizing desks, choosing and ordering curriculum (and who cares about new homeschool clothes?) and now she ushers them to a seat right next to her after they took that picture and she sighs deep, drinks of new mercies and plunges into wisdom WITH her children.

This was not lost on me. I tried to see. I know it well.

I thought about the family who could barely afford new haircuts and school clothes, but found a way and their child is just as happy as the rest of the world that receives and education. They have their own lunch pail and backpack and although their sneakers may not be the latest and greatest, but they do not know yet and right now, their going to school pics beam happy.

But then my heart turned to the mama who was hurting inside. The struggle is real to provide and this day makes everything a little extra heavy. A little extra momentous. Celebrating what she may not be able to give, rather than realizing what she has already given. Her brave, warrior heart has given so well.

This was not lost on me. I tried to see. I know it well.

I thought about the pictures of extreme relief that their children were headed off to school after a whole summer together. The sheer joy of waving goodbye to crazy summer days and relief to a schedule and someone else having the honor for a few hours a day.

But then my heart turned to that mama who is probably seriously to her limit and just needs a reminder that what she was doing mattered and still does. That it is okay to feel relief and to shout it to the world. We give strong and we give much and some kids just suck the life right out of us. She will miss that child (or two) and her love didn’t waver at the bus stop.

This was not lost on me. I tried to see. And I knew.

How do I know? How do I see beyond the pictures and the smiles?

I have lived those lives.

I have talked to those mamas.

I have asked them how they really are.

I try to see and know.

Because we need to know.

And because in this world, perhaps all we see is all we want to know?

What are we seeing in others today?

We cannot know everything, but we can imagine the other side of the picture and know more than a like or a love.

We can know prayer for this nation and the generations that will learn more than an education as this new season begins.

Read more of my heart for all women and mothers here, in my new book, {Why} Motherhood Matters.

Order today and receive a download of the companion Journal for free. Here!



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  • Reply
    September 6, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for praying for us today! Because- this is me: “And what about the homeschool mama who sees a another year in front of her with her choice to stay at home and teach those kiddos day in and day out. Hard stuff!”
    Last night I was crying because I feel so overwhelmed. I have all these lofty ideas and I know what I WANT to do for the year, for all my kids, but getting it all planned out and going has been SO immensely hard this year. It’s my tenth year homeschooling, but my first year homeschooling a high school student, and I only have 4 years left with him! And then a 4th grader, and a kindergartener. I feel such a weight this year- because it does matter what I teach and how I teach it. I am not in the business of just helping my kids acquire knowledge! No- that is merely a small part of the means to an end… And at the end of the day and my time with them in my home, I just want to honor God by cultivating virtue in my kids, in my family, above anything else. To set them on the path of always pursuing truth, beauty and goodness so that they can be aligning themselves with the Truth of Christ, always! That they can know their identity as God’s own child, beloved, and known. And I feel like I am failing before I even begin, this year! I feel like I can’t do it. But- you know- I can’t. But God can. Trying to hold to that today.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm


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