Why I’m Following the Children

by | Dec 19, 2011 | Uncategorized

It’s our day to go. To fly to Phoenix for Christmas but it’s also Sunday and my heart longs to worship because it lays heavy. I struggle to understand why.  I anticipate this trip with joy for months but now I hear myself exhaling deep breathes because the air feels thin.

While I push eggs around a hot skillet, pour boiling water over a tea bag, H stands in the kitchen watching me sigh heavy.  Says this isn’t about going to Phoenix and packing a suitcase, its’ about all the other stuff.  The stuff I can’t control. The emotional well-being of my kids, the unjust acts of leaders, a dog that struggles to swallow.  He pulls me into his chest, wraps his arms around me, and assures me it’s all going to be fine.

My trying to bring Jesus into the list I can’t control makes the body tired.

I come from a long line of worriers. We think if we worry about what we can’t control, it will make a difference. That if we let go of it, things will just crumble like an Oreo cookie crushed under foot. Just a pile of crumbs to sweep up; throw away, good for nothing.  We think the worrying somehow magically holds everything together.

This holding tight to what I need to let go, it always screams warning in my lower back. Soreness and pain that forces me to sit, slow down with my thoughts, take them captive, and let them fly away into the hands of Jesus.

This morning I sit with the pain in church, listen to children in red dresses trimmed furry sing these lyrics: 

What will I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart.

And as I look at each one singing heartily, I know that two of the children have suffered recent disappointments. They witness their families fall apart, separate in divorce.  Learn to navigate new waters of living in a home without their father and yet they sing with joy because of the revelation.

That Jesus came into the world as a baby just as they did. 

He died for every single person.

So that we would understand, we can’t live this life of brokenness without a Savior. 

And these children believe this, share this good news with those of us watching, listening.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together;

 and a little child will lead them. ~Isaiah 11:6

So I follow the children. I give Him my burdened, weary heart.

And as I walk out of church, she follows me, stands in the corner to wait for a break in the conversation.  When I turn around to acknowledge her smiling, she utters these words low and I lean in to hear.

“When you turned around and looked at me earlier, I saw Jesus in your eyes. Sometimes I struggle emotionally and God revealed himself to me when you looked at me. I just wanted you to know.”

Sometimes a look, sometimes a song, sometimes a smile, sometimes a touch of the hand, sometimes in words: He speaks, reveals the mystery.

Counting the gifts with Ann and linking with Michelle and Laura too.

  • For safe, uneventful flights to Phoenix.
  • Thirty minutes of free internet above the clouds for a boy to Skype with his friend.
  • Time to sit and listen to Invisible Empires by Sara Groves, because her words always restore hope.
  • For a husband who always takes good care of us, thinks about the details and tells us what restaurant in what concourse to have dinner.
  • The seafood bisque that makes the boy smile at that restaurant.
  • The lady who turns around to say her back is killing her when the one behind her pulls on her seat. Because it gives me perspective about my sore back.
  • For all the kind words in the comments every day and the new friends who subscribe.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Mary

    Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!! Thank you
    for sharing your heart through your blog.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Mary, it such a blessing to know you are reading. Hope that foot doesn’t keep you from enjoying Christmas with your family. If I know you, I think it won’t slow you down much! Merry Christmas.

  2. moonsview

    We just have so many things in life that we cannot control. Turning it all over to Jesus is all we can do! Merry Christmas and enjoy Phoenix!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Isn’t that the truth. I’m not sure how I ever came to the conclusion I could control life! Merry Christmas to you too.

  3. Sherri

    Worrying….like a rocking chair…back and forth, back and forth, going no where. I too am a worrier, a complainer. Must.learn.to.let.go.
    Thanks Shelly, I hope you enjoy your different time and space while away from home. Love you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Sherri, great analogy about worrying. It is a discipline for me – letting go of the worry. H isn’t a worrier and he has been my greatest role model in letting go and trusting God. Yes, getting perspective in a different place with people I love – greatest Christmas gift ever. Love you too!

  4. Debbie

    I can really relate to this, Shelly. BTW, I look forward to each and every single post on your blog!

    I am praying that you have a wonderful and restful time with Geri and the rest of your family and that worries subside. I am also a worrier, but am also trying to turn it all over to Jesus, particularly in these unsettled times. Merry Christmas!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Debbie, I can’t tell you how much your support and encouragement mean to me. You are truly a faithful friend. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebrating with the All Saints family. Blessings!

  5. Shannon McCarty

    Welcome to the valley. If there is anything, anything, we can do to help you and your family with during your stay, please let us know. It would be a blessing to our family. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Shannon, what a nice surprise getting a note from you here in the Comments. It’s good to be home and your offer is so generous. Maybe we will bump into you while we are here. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family. We love you!

  6. roseann elliott

    oh yes…the learning to let go…give our heart to the Trustworthy One…I love the sweet words spoken to you at church…such a gift…treasure and ponder them in your heart…
    have a blessed trip…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, those words made me tear up. They were definitely a gift I will cherish and ponder. Hope you have a blessed Christmas. I know finding you goes on my list of thanks this year. Blessings!

  7. Holly

    There you go making me tear up….AGAIN!!!!!

    Missing you already.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Holly, she is such a gift and I know you already know that but her countenance just moves me. Because there is so much natural joy and peace that flows. You are a tremendous Godly influence on your children. So glad to call you my friend. Look forward to more time together in 2012! Miss you too.

  8. michelle derusha

    As a worrier I can relate to so much of what you write here. And I just am so heartened and hopeful by the ending of this story — that woman finding God in you. Just beautiful, Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Well, that is how I felt when she said those words to me, hopeful. They brought tears because I can’t think of a more meaningful compliment. Thanks for your sweet words Michelle.

  9. Beth Sprinkle

    “and a little child shall lead them” was the prophetic word of the morning. Many people commented on that single line as they left the service. God made Himself known through those precious children- a lesson for us all.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think Kristin was annointed (as usual) in her children’s lesson. When she drew that out of the reading it resonated and ministered. God is good to speak to us the way we need it and in His time.

  10. Angel

    This is my first time visiting your blog. Such a beautiful post! You write in a very soothing voice. Thank you so much for sharing with depth and sincerity. Merry Christmas!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Angel, so very happy you visited and left a comment. I appreciate your kind words and hope you have a beautiful Christmas feeling and knowing His presence with you.

  11. Dea Moore

    Shelly I spent last week being taught by children—children growing up so different from the one’s I raised, am raising. Right now, I don’t know if I will ever be able to unwrap what they taught me into words. I am afraid (I worry) that I won’t do their lessons justice and words will fall flat. I am in an unfocused fog but I crying out for mercy and for eyes to see. Thankful again for another thoughtful encouragement—beautiful.

  12. Debbie

    This is only the second post of yours that I’ve read but I see Jesus in your words. That lady was right. It is a blessing to read this one too. As I mentioned before, my tendency is to struggle with worry. My friend once told me that 99% of what we worry about never even happens. So why waste your time worrying? I try to remember that and lean more heavily on the Lord. He knows our needs and best how to meet them in His timing.

    I signed up to receive your posts by email. I follow many blogs and recently thought; enough. But I just know I need to read yours.

    blessings and love,

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Debbie, so thrilled to have you part of the family! Let’s walk this out together, grow together, learn together how to be Christ followers and let go of the worry. He is enough, He is all we need. So grateful for your comments and to find you here. Really!

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