I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I also wanted to be Anne of Green Gables, Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins and Jo from Little Women, but Laura started it all. She was my favorite. I can remember my mom reading to us kids every single night growing up. We would all brush our teeth, put our pajamas on and snuggle up next to her on the couch. When I was really little she would read a story from our Children’s Bible and as I got older she started reading Little House books to me. It all started with Little House In the Big Woods. My sweet mom took time out every night from the “busyness” of her day, an extra half hour she could have easily taken for herself, and she gave it to me. She would read one chapter as I snuggled under the blankets, dreaming I was Laura and as each chapter ended, I would always beg for one more. She would always smile and tell me “tomorrow night” as she kissed my forehead and I would fall asleep dreaming of The Big Woods and the adventures that came with it. We lived on a farm and I would pretend to be Laura whenever I played outside. I got lost in her story and every night was a sweet and special time with my mom. Just the two of us.
We were going through a lot in our family those years on that farm. A lot of heart ache. Perhaps my mom enjoyed getting lost in Laura’s life as much as I did but whatever her reason, it was a memory I continually cherish. God brought us out of the heart ache of those years and changed our lives, our family and our futures. As I look back, it amazes me that as my mother was going through her own heart ache she took the time for me. She didn’t stay in a closed bedroom alone, shutting us children out. She focused on us. She put us first despite her own tremendous heartache. At the time, as a child I didn’t understand the extent of it. As an adult, knowing what I know now, if I had been going through the same thing I am afraid I would be tempted to hide in my room and wallow in my tears, shutting everyone and everything out.
I still have my set of Little House books. They aren’t just books to me though. They’re a story of a time in my life that God used to change me and my outlook on handling terrible, heart wrenching situations. Yesterday marks 14 years that my mom has been gone now, but those times will live forever in my heart.
Focus on others no matter your circumstance. Whether it’s your children or husband, friends or even strangers. God can change your situation in an instant if He so chooses, in the mean time let your heart be lost in the lives of others. Trust your Father. Some days I still feel like that 8 year old little girl with her soft, blonde curls, lying on a pillow of dreams and wanting to escape into someone else’s story. Perhaps that’s exactly what we need to be doing ourselves. Escaping into someone else’s story by investing in someone else’s life. When we are able to do this, God replaces the pain from our own stories with a gentle, unexplainable peace. And pretty soon we will be begging God to read us the next chapter and know with excitement that it’s a chapter of promise. A chapter of new beginnings. A chapter of hope. I love you mom! 💕
I Peter 4:10 Acts 20:35 I Peter 4:10-11 Matthew 20:28