Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

God's Goodness When Things Change

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)

Spring sun settles on my shoulders as I watch the younger two boys charge around the yard.

They’re running a long loop inside the fence line with greyhound Flash. As they stretch and shout and laugh and enjoy this day full force, I can’t help but notice that they’re running through spring’s fast crop of dandelions. They crush under the boys’ feet.

Seeing the dandelions makes me sad.

It’s not displeasure that our yard is temporarily overrun with weeds. It’s not the work that it will take to make the lawn lush and green. It’s a missing in my heart. It’s a longing for dandelion-bouquet days–love-offering weed bouquets from my favorite little men. I fear we’ve moved past such times. The tradition of blond-headed boys presenting fistfuls of droopy dandelions is 20 years long and I don’t feel quite ready to outgrow this phase.

Sitting at the patio table, I fall deep into a mourning for yesterday, wearing it like a familiar garment that I pull around me. The boys are growing quickly. Things are changing. There’s nothing I can do about it. Will life be this sweet again?

I watch the boys for a few minutes. I listen to their laughter and see their long legs pump. I watch Flash cower down and faux-pounce and witness as my sons take off for the chase. I hardly notice that the porch door has opened and 12-year-old Sam has sat down.

“I feel good about starting swim club again,” he says. He smiles and raises his eyebrows in the way he does when he speaks. “The exercise feels good.”

Soon we’re chatting about swim club and a book he’s read and the color he’d like to one day paint his room. We talk about the focaccia bread he’s making for dinner and the movie night he had with a friend. Samuel, like always, shares a mile a minute. He wears his life on his sleeve. It’s easy to see. Easy to enjoy.

And I understand, sitting there with my young-man boy, that this stretching, this experiencing a child’s growth, can be a very good thing. We can talk about grown-up things. We have some shared interests. We can challenge one another. We can mull serious things. But we can let loose and laugh like wild, too.

I’m grateful that as our children grow, God is compassionate. I’m thankful that he replaces sweet young-child blessings with other precious things. Sometimes I just need to uncurl my clenched fist so he can fill my hand with new blessing.

Sam is in the center of telling me about a summer plan when I look up and see that the smaller boys have stopped running. They’re hunkered down in the yard.

Picking dandelions.

I watch them lope across the lawn, the heavy heads of their weed-bouquet flowers drooping over their still-small fists, and I’m overwhelmed.

First the blessing of connecting with a growing-up son. And now a bouquet of dandelions, too.

Lord, how awesome you are to know the tender places of a mama’s heart. Thank you for abundant compassion. Amen.

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.

Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications.  She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward.  But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.

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Your Comments (8)

I have SO been right where you were with the dandelions! My son used to give me a 'flower of the day'...usually a dandelion, but often a sweet, single butter cup. I had a little tiny cup that I always put them in for the day, and traded them out when the next one was brought to me with a giant grin, and a 'flower of the day, mom!' It hurt my heart when those days were over [ he is now 23] but he still remembers those little flowers, and will occasionally bring me a tiny buttercup, smile and say ' flower of the day,mom!' Thank you so much for your blogs....they are stories from my own 'mothers heart'.

Thank you, Aleina, for sharing from the heart. I just love it - a flower of the day. Precious. You know, I have a tiny vase, too. A friend gave it to me years ago when my older ones were small. It's seen a lot of sweetness! I think my favotite thing about your comment, tho, is that your son sometimes still brings you a flower of the day. What a dear young man you have! So special. Truly made my heart smile.

Loved today's blog. Now that my children have all grown, I will get a bouquet of wild flowers from my grand children. Like you, I love them as the reason is their want to just give me something pretty. God is so good at giving us the desires of our heart.

Mmmm. So precious, Wanda. I love that your grands pick flowers for you. And the heart behind the flowers - a desire to give! Yes, God is good! :) Thanks so much for sharing.

That was so precious and sweet, and beautifully said. Thank you for writing and sharing it. We share the same heart :)

Thank you, Susan, for reading my post - and for the kind encouragement, too! I'm thankful that we share the same heart. That's a precious thing.

I too am desperate to "not miss a thing" as my little ones are now teenagers. We connect now on different levels and over different things - but it is all sweetness and love.

Thanks for the comment Teresa:) I know - these moments are very precious. Love what you said - new connections are still about sweetness and love.