There's something about being a parent that is gut wrenching. I can't believe the intensity of emotions that come with this relationship-far more than I imagined! Some days it's the suck-in-your breath awe-filled wonder that those little people who you've transplanted into a foreign land where they've already had to learn 1 new language are willingly conversing in their 2nd new language as they study for a test. Other days it is the anger in your gut at the unfairness of a system that no matter how hard he tries, just won't accept your boy-the same boy who lives and breathes soccer but just can't get a break with the local team. It's the roller coaster of a heart swollen in admiration at the perseverance to finish a very hard season and actually be willing to try again, the joy of laughing and practicing together in the back yard and the despair at watching your tween drop his shoulders as he holds back tears and says it's fine. Some nights I lay awake desperately hoping for a way forward to avoid this little man's love for the game from extinguishing. Amazement at her curiosity, delight in her humor, sometimes overshadowed by the pain of her fierce emotions exploding all over. Or worse still, held deep within where confusion is all I feel as I watch her struggle to understand her own self. These little people are absolutely amazing. They drive me to pray so much more than I would otherwise. They help me see my own self in a new and deeper way. They pull me out of worry into the here and now. They love so deeply-I'm only 1 of the recipients of their love and it's such a joy to watch with others too. Today, as we are settled into our 3rd new start to the school year here overseas, I'm having to lay them in God's hands once again. They are loving school and I rejoice at that! I want to protect from the many other struggles of growing up-some made more obvious from our unique situation in a different culture. I can't be it all or do it all for them though. Honestly, they give me so much too. It's a good start to the year. It's a hard start to soccer. We will see how French turns out. Today we have danced, laughed, and sat silently together when words couldn't fix the hurt. That's about an average day. As I just tucked in the girl after she got up not feeling well, I'm in awe again at these precious gifts. What an awesome role we have been given. Tonight, I'm thanking God for the kids and also that he's right in this with me!