Have you ever looked closely at ivy climbing up a wall? 

I have always loved the vibes of ivy-covered surfaces. Every senior in the last two decades probably has a posed picture in front of a wall of ivy. It’s a beautiful phenomenon. The ivy I mean. Not the senior. Well, I’m sure the senior is beautiful too… Anyway, normally plants grow scattered, branch-y, and out in bunches and clusters. Ivy on the other hand is contained by the flat and one dimensional aspect of its host, the wall.

A few minutes ago I clipped a little strand of the ivy that is growing on our cottage-of-a-house, to put in a little planter above my sink. And as I looked closely at the stems, I was blown away! I, probably like you, have never stopped to look closely at how ivy actually works. But today I did.

On each stem there are these little frog-like legs that curl out, and on the end, little octopus-like tentacles that stick to the stone. They are stinkin’ adorable, kinda alien-like-creepy, and jaw-droppingly miraculous. How do they do it? How do those little guys know how to grow out and find something to stick on to? And how do they survive!? All the plants I see are stuck in dirt and stay there, but ivy finds a way to literally stick and grow onto a completely vertical barrier. Incredible. Just incredible.

So now, when I see a giant wall of ivy, I can take note of what’s going on underneath the blanket of green. My mind is forever intrigued by such beautiful foliage.

And I suppose, in some way, the ascending plant, with its creepy cool arms, reminds me of life. Yeah, everything has to come back to life. I can’t just write a couple of paragraphs about shrubbery for the sake of writing about shrubbery… For the past while, I feel like I have zoomed back and forth from big to small perspectives. I find myself examining the tiny, sticky dots that hold my life together, to suddenly jolting back and viewing life’s giant, overarching bush of events. Like last night. Dolly was twirling around in her pink princess dress to tween bobber music while Waldo invited me to his fireman school and taught me about all his equipment. And to top it all off, as all this was happening, I plopped Lois on my lap to blow her bubble gum bubbles, and she giggled in absolute thrill to each little pink pop that erupted. All things were happening at once, and all were absolutely wonderful, and I praised God that I was looking at the little tiny things that really, in essence, make up everything. My little humans. 

I have been praying for a long time that God would help me to simply and purely love my kids. Not love them in order that they turn out okay. Not love them so that they grow up to be behaved citizens of this world. I was (and am) praying that I wouldn’t love them for another end, but that I would just love them. That’s it. Love their faces. Love their tiny toes and their big cheeks. Love their smiles and their interests. Love their words and their giggles. I want to be a mom who is fully engaged with them, and stops trying to take every moment as a teaching moment for a future end. And I believe the Lord is slowly and surely granting me that request. He is showing me the beauty of the little things in my little people. Oh, how I thank the Lord for opening my eyes to beholding such tender times! If he didn’t, I truly believe I would waste these years of raising littles with baggy eyes, hair-pulling stress, and can-I-get-a-5-year-babysitter-please mentality. No, living with littles can be precious, and it’s the Lord’s work within me that produces any kind of sanity, let alone love.

And the big picture of life? It’s all a little hazy. Or more so, a lot hazy. But that doesn’t keep me back from looking with squinty eyes. Sure, we have a good, solid “routine” of sorts that is keeping our short-term-big-picture life intact. But the big-picture that God is doing in us Kunkles still feels veiled. We don’t know where we will be in a couple of years. We don’t know what relationships to pursue and what programs to invest in, nor what commitments to lock down. I suppose I could be stressed out about this, and there are points where I am, but in general, I find it freeing in simply trusting the Lord. It’s exhilarating to dream and wonder with Bobby about where the Lord will take us. It’s restful and beautiful to step back and see nothing. Nadda. I’ve got no ideas. But the Lord does. And the Lord is faithful. So it’s mysteriously captivating.

So there ya have it. My mind keeps swinging in all sorts of directions. Sometimes I’m dizzy, and other times I laugh, and still other times I am desperate in prayer. And no matter what, no matter how disoriented I feel, no matter how bored and restless my heart, no matter how joyful and Godly I am, the Lord shows his extreme kindness and grace. Always. He amazes me. He loves me in the little tiny things in life, and shows me his mercy in the large. It’s like… he knows me. He knows what I need, and always gives it in its perfect timing. 

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