You know how backbends are hard for me? You know how I struggle to open my heart, to draw the cage of my shoulders away from my chest? It's like an iron fence I keep prying away at. Every day there is a little more freedom, but it is a battle. Backbends don't come easily to me. The resistance in my body is a constant reminder of the heartbreak God is healing in me. Sometimes I think of backbends as the thorn in my flesh. Paul had it right - somehow this thing is going to heal me. God's grace is enough. Every single time I breathe a little deeper into the recesses of the old, sad things God's grace is enough.
The favorite game in our house is yoga. My kids love to learn new poses, try new things, squeal as they plop out of hard poses and clap for Daisy when she takes a full middle split like it's nothing. We love to play with yoga, encouraging each other and trying to find greater depth in every attempt. But, since I struggle with backbends, my kids have never tried one. I've never, ever shown them even a simple heart opener.
Until last weekend.
And then we discovered that Judah's beautifully open heart can do this...
I was weirdly emotional seeing his immense trust radiating from his chest and throat. This was a profound moment for me, but it took me a few days to realize why. Without ever thinking about it, I had assumed that my own limitations also belonged to my kids. If I can't do a backbend, neither can they. If my heart struggles to break free, so must theirs. But no. NO. LOOK AT HIS GLORIOUS BACKBEND. Look at that little heart that doesn't carry my same scars. Look at that mind that doesn't know my same disappointments. Look at that life that is fully intertwined with mine, but is completely, irrefutably NOT mine.
He isn't me. He is brand new. He has his own life experiences, fears, hesitations, sadness, heart-bursting joy, and perspective. My life story is not Judah's life story and I need to remember that. I need to remind myself that his filters are different. He sees the world through eyes that don't connect to my mind. He is Judah. I am Stephanie. He will do things that I didn't know to dream of. He will live fully alive because he has a mama who is determined to let him live it.
Looking at this picture tonight, my heart is whispering, "More reminders please, Jesus. I'm going to need more."
Those lives that sweep into the world through us - the ones who are held together by our great love and protection - those lives are not our own. The best we can do is nurture their perspective, give them a brave love of adventure, and pray that they find their way.
What else are they capable of that we've never thought to encourage?
That one question, asked every day, might change everything.