I felt Ann’s heart breaking in this post, my own reaching out to hers mother to mother. Ironically, looking back over 30 years of mothering there haven’t been many times when I felt that deep ache over my children’s choices and behavior. But one particular time came quickly to mind when I read this chapter.

Trevor and Matt were probably 10 and 8, and they were messing around and horse-playing like boys tend to do. We’ve always ignored the advice of others to allow their horse-playing to escalate to fighting, letting them “duke it out” and settle their differences, like they would be better for the altercation. So this time, when things did escalate to a shove and a hit, I came onto the scene with shock visible on my face.

“What are you doing?” I looked from one to the other, both heaving big, angry breaths.

They explained that things had just heated up from their horse-playing and they got angry.

“Angry enough to really hurt one another?” I couldn’t keep my voice from shaking. Their faces mirrored my sadness as they realized how deeply their fighting had affected me. I swallowed hard and looked at one boy. “You shoved my son. Why?” He dropped his head. My gaze shifted to the other boy. “You hit my son. How could you do that?” Eyes pooled and lip quivered.

“Sorry, Mama.” They both muttered together. I explained that it was God they needed to apologize to, and then one another, but that I appreciated their contrition and hoped that would never happen again because that isn’t the way we solve our issues or process angry feelings. There was discipline to follow, but now ten years later they still say it was the look of horror and sadness on my face that shook their hearts and made them never want to hurt one another again.

The truth is, we have had a relatively easy time of it with regard to our children’s behavior overall through the years. With the exception of our firstborn (who has turned out to be a fine young man who loves and serves God, just for the record), there hasn’t been much in the way of rebellious or defiant behavior. But then such behavior is but a small part of the central point of this chapter.

Seed: What stood out to me was how Ann allowed God to calm her in the midst of a circumstance of great pain and conflict and anger, processing not only through her but from her through her child, to learn the harder lessons of eucharisteo.

Water: I continue to stay vigilant, ever on the lookout for ways to allow thankfulness to be my processor for every moment, every circumstance, every occurrence in my life. “There is always a well. All is well.” I can draw from the well at any moment, and each time I do I am brought a little bit closer to His plan for my life–my beautiful, abundant life.

Bloom: Thankfulness always as my response, always gratefulness rather than resentment, always aware that a miracle could happen at any moment because every moment alive is a miracle all by itself.

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