We just finished celebrating homecoming week! The ideas and traditions around homecoming have changed over the years and vary from place to place. For me, it invokes memories at my high school alma mater. As a cheerleader, I would spend weeks hand painting spirit signs to hang up at the football game and around our school. We would have community events throughout the week where we would paint faces and raise money. It always culminated with the pep rally, where we would showcase an elaborate choreographed dance and the stunts we had been practicing since summer camp. Yall know I don’t care anything at all about sports, but I love the spirit of community fostered.
My parents always talk about how homecoming meant a dance after the football game. And not the kind of over-the-top dance that I see kids having today, complete with limos and extravagant dresses and photo ops. No, they describe a much quainter endeavor focused on fostering friendship.
In Pre-K, it meant getting to dress up and wear silly outfits instead of a uniform to school. We’ve had so much fun crafting accessories and digging through boxes of hand-me-downs to find the perfect getups to participate in the gaiety!
I had my own homecoming of sorts, getting to go back to my hometown to celebrate the upcoming birth of my best friend’s baby. We had a sweet evening showering her with all of the things that help transition into motherhood, while catching up with old friends.
The thing that stood out to me the most was hearing every mama talk about her babies. Some of the babies were a couple of months old. Some of them were now grandmothers, with their babies having their own babies now. We talked about the challenges of motherhood and the sweetness that can still be found. We talked about how different each of our children are, despite the fact that the children live in the same house under the same conditions as their siblings.
We discussed parenting styles and disciplinary tactics. We shared times we each have dropped the ball. We laughed at the times we have had to cover our faces to keep from laughing, and times we do it to keep from crying.
We connected over the way our spouses coparent with us and how their relationship with our children is different from the relationship we as mothers have. We talked about how it really does take a village to raise a kid. Not just because kids are hard, but because there are so many facets that are overshadowed, like mamas’ recovering bodies and the toll childbirth has on our mental health.
As I looked around at these mamas, I thought about them as they were, standing beside me yelling out cheers on Friday nights. I remembered them walking on campus with me in college. I remembered the things each woman had walked through, and the scars they have for persevering.
And then I thought about my Jesus. How He looks at each of us in the loving way that we do our own kids. How He describes to his Father the things that make us unique, and how the way things are revealed to us is different based on the inherent traits he knitted together in us.
I laughed thinking about how often God must shake His head, knowing how much more He has planned for us if we could stop whining about one thing or another in order to hear Him. I looked at my spouse during church and thanked God for His Holy Spirit that speaks to each of us in the different ways we need to in order to hear Him.
God designed each of us. It’s amazing to me to look around at my siblings’ kids and my friends’ kids and, of course, my own kids, and see features from the parents in each of them. I know God is looking at us thinking, “Yeah, she got that from me.” At times when He’s proud, you know He’s probably throwing on his dad sneakers and shouting “Oh, she did it just like I showed her!” Full of pride for his daughter.
I think we can love our children and each other better. I think we can love like Jesus. I think we can learn that same sacrificial love that we are shown, and then give it away to those around us. I think we can learn to lay down our own desires in order to meet the needs of others. But to do so, we need a little help from the Holy Spirit.
God’s spirit hovers over us. I love the sentiment. Yall already know I’m hovering over my kids, largely to ensure they are not drawing on my walls or chipping their teeth when jumping off the couch onto the brick fireplace, but also because I love to draw near to them. I love to listen to their chatter. I know their hearts by what they say and how they interact with others.
I often find myself apologizing to the lord for talking incessantly to him. Then I remember He has more patience than this mama, and He’s not rolling his eyes wishing I would take a breath in the way Ben and I do when Harlow is rambling about who knows what.
I like to think that God is looking at us with that same affection. He’s available to you. You don’t have to live vicariously through your kids. It doesn’t matter if you have a strained relationship with the people who raised you. There is a father who created you, perfectly and completely in His image, who wants to talk to you all day about how things are going and where you’re struggling. He wants to hear about the things that made you laugh or the thing that you heard someone say but you can’t figure out how to interpret it.
He is hovering near you. He is closer than a brother. He is with you always. Yall don’t forget how powerful prayer is. Even teeny, tiny prayers. Even ones through gritted teeth. Even ones you have to repeat again and again until you really mean them.
Bring them to Him. He is already there. He goes before us. He is beside us. He is for us. Remember, you are not meant to do life alone. You can do it. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.
Genesis 1:2 “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Deuteronomy 32:11 “As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings”
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”
Psalm 139:13-14: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Luke 2:51: “And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.”
1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Romans 12:9-10: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love.”
Genesis 5:1-2 “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.”