[I begged Cara Meredith to write a guest post. She did, sending me something I never expected: a beautiful Thank You Note that made me blush. She is quite an encourager as you will soon see. Everyone should be Cara’s biggest fan.]
This is how it happened: I’d been invited to lunch. And not only was it a lunch where Real Live Food was involved (which tends to be a draw for me), but it featured a tableful of female writers, of women seeking to find the balance between heart and passion, motherhood and creativity.
We sat at Bronwyn’s dining room table, homemade bread in the center and bubbly, steaming bowls of soup before us. Children screamed in the background and Lesley bounced her new baby boy on her lap, shushing and cooing and sprinkling him with love. One by one, updates were given and questions were asked; dreams were whispered and ideas were birthed.
I talked a bit here and there, but mostly, like water to sponge, I soaked up their camaraderie. I questioned whether I fit in then and would fit in in the future. And I listened, intently, closely, scrutinizing their interactions to see if I was one of them, to figure out if I could belong.
And that’s when it happened: as I sought validation, advice spewed forth.
“Cara, you should connect with Tim Fall. He loves women in ministry.”
The woman who spoke abruptly corrected herself, clarifying that Tim, a married, faithful Christian man, had a heart for promoting male and female writers alike.
“He’ll be your biggest fan,” one of them said. And that was all I needed to hear.
Later that afternoon I struck up a conversation with Tim, a man I’ve still never met in person, but – like with many of you, I’d assume – has been one of my biggest cheerleaders over the past two years. He’s asked questions and he’s told his own stories; he’s linked to earlier posts of similar nature and he’s passed along buckets of wisdom to me.
Every comment he’s left, I’ve read and responded to, and friendship, in return, has emerged. Maybe because I’ve known that he is an encourager, an exhorter, a fleshy, living example of Paul’s words to the church to encourage and build one another up, just as we each should be doing, I’ve taken notes.
So you may think it snarky or even weird, a bit overzealous and extreme, but for our purposes today, this I’ll tell you: Everything I ever needed to know in parenting I learned from Tim Fall.
When I’ve had a hard day, and I’ve wanted to be right, and I’ve not wanted my son to wear swim trunks for the 30th day in a row, and I’ve Spirit-reign-down been made to say I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry to said tag-a-long three year old boy, Tim says this: “Do-overs with the kids is tons better than because-I-said-so.”
And when I’ve been up all night with the newborn, and I’ve wondered if I’ll be binge watching Gilmore Girls for the rest of my life at 2:45 every morning, my friend reminds me that This Too Shall Pass. [This, of course, is soon followed by a more realistic dose of parenting advice: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Dante’s words, I’d add, don’t merely apply to the entrance of hell, but to all households with cherubs under the age of three.]
There’s Tim’s ever-popular parental math: “As soon as parents have the second child they are outnumbered.” With a two-to-one ratio, parents come out equal to the task – but when a second child comes along, all laws of seventh grade math are thrown out the window.
For example: 2 kids > 2 parents.
(For you brave, brave parents of three, four, five children or more, first, I salute you. And I’ll let you add in your own math equation, which I assume will quantifiably leap from addition to multiplication).
But he also makes me think and, in the midst of hard questions and conversations around issues of race in particular, he reminds me of Truth: “People and color and society are full of beauty in ways that lead to tension, I think. Some people can’t handle that others are precious too.”
And the preciousness of others is one truth I am eager to pass on to my children.
So thank you, friend, for your wise words.
Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco area, whose new memoir The Color of Life speaks of white privilege, racial healing and seeing the image of God in everyone around you. She is passionate about theology and books, her family, meals around the table, and finding beauty in the most unlikely of places. A seven on the Enneagram, she also can’t help but try to laugh and smile at the ordinary everyday. You can find her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.