Be ALL there, mama.

Ignore those notifications that keep lighting up your cell phone screen. Set aside the camera. Turn off the music. You can be all there and embrace the moment.

As I was reflecting on last year and looking ahead to this year, the word EMBRACE continued to stand out, and my need to be ALL there. I realized that I often am on my own agenda and rushing through a day without taking the time to truly embrace what God has for me and to be ALL there.

It is summer here in Paraguay. Our Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of friends going to the creek or the beach, except of course, for those friends who live in the USA and are buried in snow. So as we sit here in 100+ degree weather, working with the ac on high, as a family we are continually joking around that we could have our bags packed and leave for Brazil anytime to enjoy a few days at the beach. Yet, due to that not being an option right now, my husband and I decided to set aside a day to take our family to do the next best thing, leave the capital city where we live and travel two hours away to swim at the creek.

On the way there, we listened to music, stopped to buy our favorite Paraguayan cheese bread called “chipa”, and took new family pictures. (My husband is a professional photographer, and therefore, we always make it a point to get a yearly family picture). After the pictures, we couldn’t wait to enjoy the creek, where we ended up spending 3 1/2 hours and had an absolute blast…swimming, climbing over the rocks, sitting in the waterfalls, drinking lots of Paraguayan tea called “tereré”, and eating yummy snacks like homemade chocolate chip cookies and Pringles. During our time there, my husband and I left our iphones and camera in the truck. We had no distractions. We have no pictures of the waterfalls or fun. But we were ALL there. We were a part of the laughter. We saw the joy on our children’s faces. We relaxed and came away refreshed.

Are you willing to embrace all that God has for you today and be intentional about making those “be ALL there” moments? 

The more I have become proactive in embracing what God has for me and being intentional about being ALL there, the more my life has changed.

I listen to my oldest son, Michael, age 14, expressing his desire to challenge others by obeying God and reaching others. And therefore, I find ways to help him follow his dream.

I see my daughter, Lea, age 13, becoming a young lady and using her gifts of serving and learning languages to encourage and inspire others.

I experience the special moments of my youngest son, Kaleb, age 10, reaching out for some quality time and saying, “Mom, I am just so sad and lonely tonight. Michael is sleeping. Don’t you think that I could just sleep on your floor tonight?” So, I grab his blankets and hand, and we sneak to mommy’s room, where he stays up until almost 1am cuddled between his father and I. Before falling asleep, he whispers, “Mom, I am no longer lonely. Thank you.” The smiles and memories from that night are etched in my mind as I embraced what God had for me at that moment.

Dear mama, I want to encourage you to embrace what God has for you today. Look into your children’s eyes. Live the moment. Listen to what is happening around you. Reach out your hand. Be intentional about investing in your children’s lives.

Be ALL there.