we're not the woodsy type by nature.
not your go-to-camping people.
we're more at home in a cottage than a tent.
but with a quick look at the trail map,
this venture looked manageable. even for us.

the rain added to the hike.
it enhanced the smell of the evergreen, the fern,
the soaked fallen leaves.
it seemed to bring to life creation
and clear the view around us.
our hike through the washington mountains
reminds me of our hike with our kids through parenting.
our firstborn introduced us to parenting. we embarked together, at the same time.
there was no "been there, done that."
we were given a child to lead.
by God's grace, a trail map.
the trails of parenting are not always clear.
obstacles in the way:

selfishness (me first)
peer pressure (keeping up with culture) mediocrity (settling; getting in a rut) apathy (too tired to care) anxiety (what if? when? how?)
but parenting brings certain hard truth.
ben and i were chosen by God to parent
our three boys.
He has a plan for us as their parents and them as our children.
hand in hand. specifically.
satisfaction and accomplishment resound at the onset of a school year, a compliment given, a home-taught manner used in public.
internal high fives erupt when they receive good grades,
make wise decisions, and show kindness.
yet on the journey of parenthood comes a fork in the path.
they have their ideas, we have ours.
a stomp.
 an attitude.
 the look.
the moment.
i can't see clearly.
it's not on the trail map.
sometimes i wonder aimlessly looking for what's best.
oh, to see a well worn path that others have taken.
to see a quick you tube video or a pinterest idea
of successful parenting paths.
but the journey all along has been intended for us to hold the hands of our little ones and lead them.
to show them the way to go.
to point out obstacles.
to walk in the light
and recognize darkness.
in less than 10 years, we will most likely release our firstborn and then so forth into the world
of college, career, independence.
the tree that has grown must be cut down and used for its purposes for Creator.
what remains is a place to rest.
the roots that have led to this moment of release.
as you and i take this hike,
let's keep our eyes on God,
who by His infinite grace,
leads us to lead them.
it's only for a season that they enjoy family under one roof.
let's be the parents God intends for us to be.
and again, though ben and i aren't the woodsy type,
maybe we'll see each other on the trails and
offer external high fives.