Be Still, My Heart

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Alix, Favorite Things, From the Heart, Parenting

I had plans to include this in my Saturday Inspiration this morning but I really feel it needs to stand alone.

Over the last 22 years I’ve learned so much from raising my daughters. I still learn from them every day. My relationships with them drive me. They encourage me, scare me and they break my heart. These are the most serious and intense relationships I’ve ever had with any other living beings. They will always be this way because of the level of love and passion I have invested in them. Each one is different. Each one teaches me different “dances” and each blesses me in a different way. I love my children. I have put my whole heart into being their mother.

We just celebrated my oldest daughter’s 22nd birthday this week. As we sat around that day and the days leading up to it we had several conversations about the preceding birthdays and years that got us here. I’d be lying if I said they were all fabulous and wonderful, because they were not. Mostly because life sucks, often. Usually because we’ve made a crappy choice. Very rarely do bad things happen to us that are not direct results to decisions we’ve made. Our daughters love when we say that. I’m sure it’s a highlight of their childhoods. But there was a time when Alix, my oldest was making some really bad choices. Just like I did, and probably you did. It’s a part of who she is, who we are, it’s a piece of our history as a family.

So I woke up yesterday morning and I started going through my phone while still snuggled up in the covers and I saw this post on the top of my Facebook wall:

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It took my breath away. My eyes immediately welled up with tears. It’s the most honest and up front post she’s ever put out there. I was so proud and so amazed at her bravery. It made me remember the call we got in the middle of the night that night. Steve’s voice waking me up in the dark and the sick feeling I had in my gut. Then, this feeling I was having as I was waking up yesterday. Seeing her and watching her over the last year has been more than an inspiration to me. I can hardly talk to her about it without getting choked up because I’m overwhelmed at how far she’s come. Through it all I’ve learned to let go. In doing this I really do see her as her own woman and I admire her and who she is becoming.

Alix is who she is because of herself. She is smart because she’s made poor choices, and she’s learned from them. She is brave because she’s seen parts of the world, bad parts, because she’s put her self in them and she’s overcome them. She’s compassionate to other’s in their own struggles because she’s had to struggle. She feels for people because she understands pain and heartache and regret. All because she made choices that hurt herself and gave her regrets. But let me tell you something, she is ten times the woman today because of who she was a year ago. She grew strength out of that weakness, love out of that hurt, and patience out of her hurried desire to get more. Because of what this event in her life put her through she learned to be tolerant in her surroundings and with people.

Alix is a girl who brought about a change in her life that was unexpected and unwanted, but because of her gumption and tenacity of spirit, she is overcoming it. We all make mistakes and bad choices but Alix proves that when we do we don’t have to live in them. We always have a second chance. Until the day we die, life is not over. Bad decisions don’t define us or direct who we are. We do. They make it harder but we are the ones that get to decide how we respond in the middle of them.

I am inspired by my daughter’s strength, humor, love, forgiveness, and inner beauty. I’ve passed on to my girls the words of my grandfather, that beauty and how we look is great but we can’t take credit for it. We have no control over what we look like, it is basically the luck of the genetic draw. What we do control is who we become and the difference we make in our lives and the world. Alix has made a difference in my life and the lives of many others because of her journey. Without going through what she has, she wouldn’t be making those differences. In looking back it seems her bad choices have become a sort of gift in her life and the lives of those she touches. It seems God has made some beauty from those ashes.

Now that, is inspiring.

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Just a girl, on a journey. Thankful for love, thankful for friends and family, and thankful for forgiveness. Full of passion, conviction and hope.

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