I’ve been on a hiatus from writing and I’m so happy to be back. My baby sister had her baby girl on Mother’s Day and I’m obsessed. Growing up as sisters we imagined this day: the day we would be moms, have babies then become aunties and have our kids be best friends…just like us. These were innocent and bold dreams and reminded me of this definition of innocence I heard the other day:
“Innocence is open heartedness without cynicism.”–Ian Morgan Cron
Can you remember a time when you led with your heart?
A time when doubt didn’t slow you down. When fear didn’t paralyze you by whispering all the things that could go wrong and your inner critic didn’t have a voice too.
I led with my heart often as a little girl, and I still have moments now in adulthood. As a little girl, I didn’t yet have insecurities about my identity. I was known, loved and all my needs were met. In security, there was no need for me to feel helpless. And I trusted my world, so there was no need for me to take control (all that often).
As two sisters around the age of 6 and 9 we saw a world of possibilities and dreamt as big as we could fathom. We decided to use each other’s middle names for our future baby girls. We sealed this pact with a binding legal agreement.
We pinky promised. Maybe I should pinky promise more often…
Because over 20 years later it actually happened!
World, meet Emery Anne. (Yep, Anne after me.) And her big cousin Cora Leigh (after my sister Anika Leigh).
I have to pause for a moment to express my gratitude at how insane it is this dream ACTUALLY came to life. My adult self sees the countless ways this plan could have failed. In one hand, I hold the shock that it actually happened and in the other I hold the disappointment and heartache of other unmet dreams. The dreams that never happened, or worse, almost happened. It is the pain of the broken that makes the good of this dream that much sweeter.
You see my wide, brown-eyed little girl and all her hopeful innocence didn’t make it in one piece to adulthood with me.
As I experienced heartache and disappointment along the way, I slowly began to construct a fortress around my heart and parts of it became walled off. The little girl decided to pick up strength and independence to mask her fear of being hurt or unloved. She decided to hide emotions to appear tough and survive in a “might makes right” world. She decided to tamper her over-pouring, eruptive energy and contain it so she wouldn’t be “too much.”
Holding little Emery brought me back to innocence. Newborn babies are pure goodness. She is beautiful, completely present and absolutely precious. She doesn’t do a thing to earn my love. (If anything you’d think all those poopy diapers would be a deterrent.) She simply gets my love because of who she is. I can’t NOT love her tiny baby self.
As I stared at her little face, I heard the Lord whisper,
“This is what I think about you Devany.”
And the world stopped.
Somewhere along the way I forgot the significance of being.
I have forgotten that I am good, not because of what I do, but because I reflect the image of a loving God.
I’m a huge do-er. I have been praised for being this way. Our culture says– set yourself apart. Rise to the top of the pack. Be successful and earn praise. Be powerful and earn admiration. Do it perfect and earn applause.
And as I held baby Emery I was overwhelmed with her pureness and presence.
God feels that way about me. And about you.
“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who to be?”–Danielle LaPorte
I was strong. Bursting with energy. And wanted to do ALL of this life together with people. This is who I was at the start and who I am when I allow my heart to lead. Baby Emery reminded me of my innocence and the gift it is to reclaim it.
Reclaiming my innocence looks like claiming my heart, as it was, before the world told my soul who to be.
That means claiming…
my high energy and high capacity.
my deep desire to be in authentic community.
My innocence looks like living with an open heart without cynicism. This requires trust in my Creator’s original design for me, for you and for this world. Does this mean I’ll be protected from heartbreak? No.
But a closed and controlling heart doesn’t either. My experience has taught me that regardless of the condition of my heart, I still lose loved ones. I am still met with great disappointment. Sometimes I am still hurt. Sometimes I am still afraid.
But what if the goal of life isn’t to avoid heartbreak?
What if life is for living in our uniquely designed identity?
And what if brokenness leads to freedom?
It is in examining the broken parts of myself that I see how God can heal. His love slowly begins to fill the cracks of my broken heart and as I face my fears, His light fills in the dark corners.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
This has become a filter I use to make decisions. About my life, parenting, a relationship, or a dream.
The innocent little brown-eyed girl didn’t let fear stop her. She ignored the voices of doubt and listened to her sister’s voice. She planted both feet firmly on the foundation of love, clasped her sister’s pinky finger, locked eyes and dreamt big.
I want to be more like her.
We need to open-heartedly listen to voices of hope, lock eyes with the people we love and have faith in a loving God who can heal broken things.
Dream big my friend.