For When Things Feel Uncertain

by | Feb 8, 2012 | Uncategorized

She’s wearing dresses again. I didn’t think we would ever get past the jeans and t-shirt phase.

My girl stands in front of me swinging half circles while watching the skirt dance on her thighs and asks if I think it needs ironing. The favorite skirt she selects from the heap at the bottom of her closet, with all the other clothes she tried on yesterday. I tell her, if it were me wearing the skirt, I would iron it.

“Well, then that means I need to iron it,” she decides, stopping to pull the zipper down.

It’s been a while since she ironed. About as long ago as the last time she wanted to wear a dress to school. .  . and take my advice about wrinkled clothes.

As she slides the ironing board down, plugs in the iron, she smiles over a recollection. Crouches down to show me how small she was when she learned to navigate an iron without burning herself the first time.

“Remember how I used to iron Daddy’s shirts,” she asks. “I think he paid me fifty cents for each one.” A little girl who earns money by ironing, to buy the next Littlest Pet Shop creature to add to her collection.

I do remember. Like it was yesterday.

My husband reminded me of the ironing phase the other day, when I admitted that I worry about missing teaching opportunities with my girl. That maybe I need to be more intentional about teaching her how to cook. Cook chicken, not chocolate chip cookies.

Only three summers left before she flies out of the nest. And I quiver among the what ifs. What if she is unprepared to spread her wings and glide?

And while she transforms from a girl into a woman, we slide into the age of the in-between together. The uncertain middle of what was and what is yet to be. 

When the hands that hold tight, loosen their grasp to let go.

When the eyes that rest on the familiar, widen to unknown vistas on the horizon.

When the mind sacrifices spinning questions to honor trust.

Complacency and fear wrestle with faith during the in-between seasons of transition. 

Because complacency, it can’t recognize the future and fear follows the crowd.

But faith, it lies down in the transformation of perspective that recognizes destiny when she arrives.

After she pulls on her black boots and tights under that skirt that inspires twirling pretty, she asks me if we can meet after school at the art store, get a coffee at Starbucks.  “Sure,” I say surprised.

Then I remember all those tearful prayers during the jeans and t-shirt phase.

Uncertain about the future? Do this:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. They you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. ~Romans 12:2

Ever have a time when you felt stuck, uncertain about the future? How did you navigate that season?

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  1. Kristen

    Loved your post! I can’t believe your beautiful daughter is almost off to college in a few years!! You have done an amazing job raising her to a beautiful woman of God. I love the verse from Romans. I needed that 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Kristen, I know me too. Can’t believe you are married with a child either. Time goes so fast and when we are young we feel it will never end. So good to chat with you.

  2. kd sullivan

    Please, please, please link this to my new meme Painting Prose…this is magnificent!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Kimberly, I did link with you. So glad you are taking up where Emily left off. Thanks for offering the link today and for your constant encouragement. It truly blesses me.

  3. simplystriving

    Beautiful reminder, Shelly! Thank you for sharing your heart.
    All for Him,

  4. Anne

    Uncertainity isn’t that a place where God can meet me? For me to naviagate through a difficult season of uncertainity is to focus on what God’s people did in the past .Recent past as well as Biblical past. There is comfort in rereading books like, ” Hiding Pleace” by Corrie Ten Boom. There is comfort in your blog. Stories of others help me to know I am not alone. As I naviate through yet another season I beg God for an invervention of His Holy Spirit. I remember all the times He did just that in the past, and give thanks. Not only my past but past history. He was and is and is to come. He is…. somehow that brings peace in uncertainity.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I hear you Anne. We do need to look back in order to move forward. And the saints that trailblazed before us, showing us God’s faithfulness, they give us legs to walk when we feel weary. But it is when we call on God that he changes the way we think and makes our uncertain circumstances clear. Praying for you Anne.

  5. Floralba - Momsquire

    Deep thoughts for mothers everywhere as we watch our children grow and transform – bless you for this post, I truly needed to read it today!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes,and I am tranforming right along with her, even though I am years beyond her. God is good. So thankful for God’s perfect timing.

  6. Celeste A.

    Hi Shelly,
    to answer the question…how about right now. Even this minute as I sit down at my computer my finger goes to the check mail section and I wait to see if anything from the adoption agency has been sent to us. Nothing.
    What I did get was a message from my best friend in Florida telling me how much she loved the latest pics of our son. What I also got from her was a reminder that God began this work and that he has a plan. We maybe write each other once a month so I believe this was a timely message, my shot in the arm so to speak. Reminder, encouragement comes and it makes me realize once again that God is there for the journey.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Celeste, what an incredible story of God’s love for you. In the midst of your uncertainty, He used your friend to encourage you at just the right time. He is with you, every minute of every day. You make me smile today!

  7. dianewbailey

    I love it when the transformation begins to show. Like a flower beginning to bloom from a blub.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Love that analogy Diane! I saw that you are being interviewed on the radio in AL. Congrats!

  8. tara // pohlkottepress

    this is so lovely {and terrifying…breath Tara, you’ve got like 15 more years}. It’s learning together something all together new…changing ourselves as you say. It has a beautiful way of opening our hearts to things unimagined when we are held tight with fear.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It felt terrifying when my kids were little but now that it is here, I see how God is at work during every stage – in them and in me. And when they were little it seemed so far away, this stage, but it really is true, what everyone tells you that you don’t want to here. They grow up in a blink. And He continues to pour out grace, thankfully! Bless you sweet friend.

  9. r.elliott

    oh the journey through those years…prayers…prayers…in the dark…by faith…planting so in due season…so glad the seeds are reaping a harvest…and now it gets richer and deeper together…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      And you are such a great example of seeing fruit from faithfulness to pray and believe! I love hearing your heart pour out love for your grandbaby and daughter. So looking forward to that season.

  10. Denise

    Such a deep post, bless you.

  11. Joan

    Loved this. It brought back memories of when my daughter was in the in-between stages. Well, she is 22 and a senior in college in Chicago. Letting go was difficult but necessary. She went from jeans to skirts and dresses. And that’s where she is for now. My resolve for letting her soar and discover life far from home, faithfully TRUST God. And I pray, and pray, and pray….

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Joan, I am so glad you shared about your own daughter here. It gives me strength and hope and makes me smile. I am learning to trust and let go every day and yes, pray, pray, pray! I am excited about this next season for her too.

  12. charinabrooks

    Aww Shelley, what a sweet post. My daughter will be ten next month and I am just so glad that she is as close to me and her Dad as we want her to be. Blessings!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Charina, my son is 12 and he is quite different from my daughter. Each child created so unique and I have learned to let go of preconceived ideas of how they should be. So glad you are close to your daughter. They are a blessing!

  13. Lisa (@moretobe)

    I love your post as you capture so much of what I’ve already been through with my oldest daughter…and she’s a few years younger than yours. Thanks for the gentle inspiration to press on!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You were lucky to get out of that stage so early! I really thought that day would never come. My husband is always right!

  14. Sandra Heska King

    This is so beautiful. And that letting go–so hard. And we, we’ve been stalled in that in-between stage for too long. But God’s got it. 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, he does have it Sandra. It has lasted for four long years, tearful years of wondering if it was a season or forever. And then one day, things turned like leaves in Fall. And I am keeping my fingers crossed that those leaves really have fallen off the tree!

  15. Jennifer@GDWJ

    I get this one. Deep.
    My oldest is a jeans and T-shirt girl. She’s in the in-between — the not-yet, but the almost.

    You describe it so.well. Thank you for your helpful words. This mama needed them.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I remember when things shifted from the girl with the outretched arms crying “Mommy” to silence and it felt like being hit with a stun gun. God gives me glimpses of the what is yet to be that carry me when I want to give up and I am so grateful for the wonderful woman she is becoming.

  16. HopeUnbroken

    i have a girl this age, and i just loved this more than i can say!
    great, encouraging words this morning. thank you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      This season is tough for them and us as parents. And would I want to go back and do that season of life over again? Absolutely not! But He has revealed Himself to me in ways I couldn’t have imagined through it. Thankful you are encouraged this morning Steph. Blessings my friend.

  17. Bina

    As the mom of 3 teenaged girls, I found my eyes misting up at bit as I read this post…I have one who still lives in the jeans stage…and two others who have ventured beyond…and yet, in some ways to me, they are still 5, playing dress-up in thier room, dreaming of what life will be like.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I have Father of the Bride moments all the time. Can so relate to what you say here. I picture her wispy hair and pacifer in the mouth some days while she is talking to me. Where does the time go?

  18. Mari-Anna Stålnacke (@flowingfaith)

    I enjoyed visiting your blog for the first time, thank you! I love Romans 12:2. It truly gives us encouragement for the road. Blessings to you and yours!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      That portion of scripture spoke to me so profoundly I had a hard time unwrapping all the things I was thinking. So glad you visited, it has been nice to find each other. Blessings!

  19. Sherri

    Your words are so true. I’m getting all vaclempt. (I hope you watched Saturday Night Live so you will understand that word! Have no idea how to spell it,)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I do know that word Sherri. I used it once in a Facebook post, explaining my feelings the first time I walked into the Fresh Market. I had more people ask me about what that word meant. Not even sure how I knew it. It was one of the first times I said something H didn’t even know! And I loved that.

  20. Denise J. Hughes

    I so love this. I have only 2 summers left before launching my girl. And I want to make them memorable while also “instructive.” A few more lessons in the kitchen. A few more lessons behind the wheel. A few more lesson in life. I love parenting a teen. I really do. It’s an awesome (as in “huge”) blessing and an awesome responsibility. I don’t take it lightly. I really feel the clock ticking towards “18.”

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh Denise, me too. Ditto to all you say. I just pray I am alert to teach the lessons when they need to be taught.

  21. Katie

    You’re such a gifted writer! I loved reading this post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Katie, thank you so much. Tried to leave a comment over at your place unsuccesfully. Loved your view on being an introvert! Blessings.

  22. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    Oh, would I love to sit and talk with you! I was completely unprepared for how hard it was when my daughter left for college. The last thing she did before we drove away was to run in the house to grab her American Girl Samantha doll. I felt like she was grabbing onto the last piece of her childhood. God had so much to teach me in that transition time. My daughter is married now, and in some ways, that was so much easier than the letting go at the end of her high school years. I’m still in the process of letting go of my son, and that’s a whole other dynamic. Through all of it, I hear God asking me again and again to trust Him.

    By the way, I completely rocked that mother-of-the-bride thing.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Nancy, I have no doubts about you rocking the mother of the bride gig! And you have no idea how much I would love to sit and talk with you regarding these years. I couldn’t be more proud of the heart my daughter wears and feel so completely oblivious about what it will feel like when she flies the nest. I think when they are little, we wear the denial like a shawl. It’s just too inconceivable to think about.

  23. HeatherEO

    This was so beautiful, the pictures and the words.

    I’m trying to learn to hunker down and wait…to just let discomfort be discomfort, in the waiting and not knowing and uncertainty. Until I’ve lived my way into the answers. I’m impulsive and impatient a lot, but I’m trying. 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Heather, letting the discomfort be discomfort – wise words. Parenting is the playground for impulsive and impatient. I’m on your team, trying to wait, listen, rest. So thrilled you made a stop here tonight. What a blessing to meet you.

  24. LivE

    i so enjoyed reading your blogpost and could relate to the stages that one goes through when rearing the beautiful precious children we have been blessed with. prayer is always what keeps me afloat during those times of uncertainty (and all other times, too. :)).

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Prayer is the key to walking straight on this path of life isn’t it? And so grateful that when I fail at communicating often, He is still with me. Lovely to meet you, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  25. bluecottonmemory

    Loving unconditionally, living faith in the Hope God promises – I think that defines what I have learned during some teen years. It really put what I believe into action; scriptures read came to life! My oldest son calls those inbetween years “Independence with Training Wheels.” And, he thanked us for that. My second son, well, he started trying to take those training wheels off before he was really ready – but God has assured me that He knew all about that – He planned his life after all:)

    How twirly-wonderful that you get to use girl language in your house:):):)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Love that “independence with training wheels” – what a great analogy. It is so good to hear from people a few steps in front of me in this line of the in-between. Thanks for your words of encouragement. Yes, I feel blessed to have one of each!

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