The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

When You Realize Your Children Aren’t Really Yours

They’re not yours.

I was standing at the top of a snow-capped sand dune, my eyes fixed on those silly sisters singing Frozen songs as they skipped toward the icy water, when my thoughts were interrupted with those three little words.

They’re not yours.
borrowed treasure

The girls were lost in their own world, savoring that sacred space of sisterhood that’s framed in laughter and love, and for a moment, I was tempted to ignore the whisper and join their frolic.

But instead, I dropped to my knees right there on top of that white-frosted mount, and I let that trio of words rattle around my soul for a bit.

Because I’ve learned that when I lean into Heaven’s whispers, I lean into life.

Abundant life.

Those girls aren’t yours.

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giggles 1

The words weren’t ringing in my ears, they were taking root in my heart, and to be honest, at first, they made my stomach flop a bit.

Because no matter how much I talk about raising kids for God’s glory, it’s really easy to live like they’ve been created for mine.

And no matter how often I write about placing my children into God’s hands, I’m still tempted to wrap my arms around them and pretend that they belong to me.

But for years, I’ve been learning a simple truth, and sometimes I just need to take a moment to let it seep quietly into my soul. Again—-

My children are not my own.

It’s an uncomfortable thought, actually.

It shatters my myth of control and reminds me that my days are numbered.

And so are my children’s.

These five precious kids with whom I’ve been entrusted?

They are gifts of love on loan.

And someday, the generous Giver will ask for their return.

Because they’ve been His all along.

They’re not yours.

The girls are spinning across that canvas of white like ballerinas on a stage, and I feel a fresh sense of wonder at the sight of them.

Wonder that God would entrust me with such treasures.

Wonder that He would invite me to share in His deepest joy.

I laugh as I watch their happy steps, my heart swelling with thanks.

And that’s when I realize it– the way this uncomfortable little truth can breed gratitude instead of fear.

When we admit that our kids aren’t really ours after all, we see our gifts in a whole new light…

Those giddy giggles slipping under the bedroom door late at night become the sound of laughter on lease.

The snow boots piled high in the entryway become reminders of feet on lend.

The smudged fingerprints on the living room windows become temporary tattoos. 

Motherhood is a daily investment in borrowed treasure.

And when we remember that, we are set free to hold confidently to the Giver rather than to cling anxiously to His gifts.

sitting 3

hannah tree

The girls’  brightly colored boots are leaving imprints in the snow, and I know it’s time to join those prancing feet.

“Mom! Are you coming?” Hannah hollers as she waves her hands wildly in the air to get my attention.

I stand up and brush damp white flakes off of my knees; then I return her wave and head down the dune to join my daughters on the frozen water.

And as I race to catch up with those gifts I cannot keep; my heart brims with a joy I cannot lose. 


Happy Friday, friends.

Do you have a moment to chat? I’d love to know how to pray for you this weekend. 

And if you have a minute to sneak a peek at your kids through the lens of gratitude, tell me… What do you love best about your “borrowed treasure” these days? 










6 thoughts on “When You Realize Your Children Aren’t Really Yours

  1. kathy

    wow…I love this story…i am actually sitting trying to read this amazing story thru tears..SAVOR THIS TIME…my heart aches just reading…my babies are all grown up & out on their own..& the older one
    is married & has a little one of their own..God is he precious…being a mom is the tops…but having.. AMAZING..!!!…& my younger one is not married yet…waiting for God to bring him
    into her life…i don’t know who is more anxious…me or her…ME..i want her to meet that someone that makes her heart flutter…thank you much for this story it ok if i pass this on to my kids..

    have a blessed day…….Alicia…to you & your babies…..kathy

    January 24, 2015 at 12:03 pm
    1. Kathy

      Alicia, I too knew a long time ago that my children were not mine to keep. That I have the privilege to raise them and teach them about Gods love and Jesus sacrifice for them. That time is joyful, scary, painful, wonderful, humbling and oh so precious!!! Miss you my friend!

      January 24, 2015 at 10:43 pm
  2. judy skrbin

    I am a new reader and your message today really pulled at my heart strings. You see my daughter wa s a miracle. Five months after I had retired from the Army I found out I was pregnant. I was told I could never have children twice by Army doctors. Talk about starting a new life!!! The first time I looked ito her eyes I knew my life had changed forever. She is 16 now and almost every moment with her has been a blessing from God. Lately I have been wondering how I am going to let her go when it is time for her to go to college. My heart aches like so many moms before me. Today’s message has given me a new way of looking at things. Your message can help me get through the next few years with peace in my heart. Your thoughts are an answer to my prayers. God is good and God is great! Thank you!

    January 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm
  3. Kathleen

    What a beautiful sentiment. Happy and sad at the same time. I have one son….my only child. I cherish him. But every so often I look at him and know he isn’t mine. He belongs to God first and then to the lovely young girl he’s been courting for quite some time. Somewhere I got lost in all of the shuffle called life. No matter what, though, I’ll always be mom and therefore his best friend (God willing).

    February 13, 2015 at 12:48 am
  4. I have been there – holding too tight, being anxious over things I couldn’t control. Even now, with our daughter married and out on her own, I tend to gravitate back to that place if I am not careful. It seems a constant letting go even when they are grown. But as much as we love her she is God’s and He will watch over her like we never could and that is when I find the peace that comes from letting go. Today I am loving how she loves the teen girls she works with in big and real ways, how after they are out of her coaching they come back to visit her and ask for advice, how they have adopted not only her but her husband as well into their hormonal, lacking direction, messy yet lovely lives. But I am very most thankful that God has allowed us this wonderful borrowed treasure in our lives at all. SO honored to call her daughter.

    February 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm
  5. Maria Lambert

    My heart is tired, the only reason I still have love in my heart is because of my 2 youngest grandchildren whow lI’ve in my home wit my son aND myself.. I could write a book but my mind bounces around with Kaos and confusion to the point I fear dementia is setting in my 58 yr old mind. I feel like I need a real therapist to spill it all out to and see God’s plan for my life. These two wonderful beautiful gift from heaven catch a lot of frustration for many reason that should be. But they know momaw loves them. HELP IF YOU CAN!

    July 9, 2016 at 11:03 pm

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