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We can't protect them forever.

Reflecting back to 2022 and its ending, it was difficult but joyous. Our family stayed close. Our relationships grew even closer. This year I have had the honor of watching the boys mature in their very own playful way.

2022 was also difficult. There were shortages in the stores. Eggs became more expensive. Medicine is difficult to find. Gas prices were extremely high. The cost of milk went up. Thankfully we were blessed. Family would drop off groceries on the whim and my employer offered a hybrid schedule that allowed our staff to work from home more often. We did not see the hurt and pain others experienced. Still, 2022 was a challenge.

Reflecting back on these precious memories of my boys I wonder, "How can I protect them?" That is what we all want as parents, right?

Our goal is to protect and raise our children well enough so we don't end up in a terrible nursing home with no visitors. I'm only joking- kind of. Let it be known If I'm ever unfit to care for myself, sign me up for an assisted living center with regular game nights, church, cable TV with access to a washer and dryer.

As their mother I pray they will never know life's challenges.

I pray my children would never know the sadness of an empty fridge.

I pray my children will never have to choose between paying for groceries or paying a bill.

I pray my children will never see a negative bank account balance.

I pray my boys would never experience the sadness that comes from a friend's betrayal.

I pray my boys will never get manipulated or gaslighted.

I pray my kids will never witness or experience abuse in any nature.

There are some things that my influence and love can't protect them from.

As a mother I will ensure my boys develop a skill to fall back on that will help them provide for their families. I will teach my children how to balance a budget. When someone says harmful things to them I will remind them, their worth is not based on what their friend's say. They were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. They were formed and placed into this world with a purpose. It is a special purpose that only they can fulfil.

It hurts to think there are things that I cannot protect them from. Daily, I'll do my best with what God has given me. The pictures I share with you today warms my heart. Their faces and personalities genuinely shine through. It's a reminder that somehow despite everything 2022 brought to the table, we are still alright. Somehow, as hard as things are God made a way.

Josh said to me this morning, "This is a broken world." Regrettably, it's true. Kindness is broken. Compassion is broken. Responsibility is broken. Self- accountability is broken. Hard work is broken. We are bound to experience the brokenness at some point. The reassurance is knowing the brokenness is temporary. We can endure hardships but in time, the hardships will pass. These pictures can testify to that. No matter what we live through there is still joy. There is still peace. There is still love.

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