Almost all of the leaves have fallen off of our beautiful red oak. I watched yesterday afternoon as a squirrel jumped and skittered along a bare branch against a bright blue Fall sky.

Our girl has bolstered up her confidence and she is riding her bike without training wheels. I was in second grade when my courage finally outweighed my fear and I remember that long stretch with the downward slope where my daddy pushed me over and over again until I was ready to do it on my own. I had a pink bike with a pink seat and pink pedals. And I still remember my sweet husband on the hunt for a bike for his own girl two Christmases ago now. She wanted streamers and shimmer. It had to be just right. All the streamers have fallen off now and the shimmer is more of a glint but I will never forget his sweet face when he brought that bike home.

And so I sat yesterday on our front steps and watched the last ochre yellow turned orange brush strokes on my beautiful tree. And I counted how many times our newly brave girl made it around our yard without falling. And I sent out proud words as I cycled through the chorus of three watch-me-mamas.

I am watching.

My ten year old came barreling through the yard on a scooter, balancing as he went. I don’t write about him as much anymore. It’s not because there isn’t anything to say. It’s this: we are walking in the minefield of the heart realm and it’s becoming more and more his story.

The truth is I have never been more burdened for my children’s hearts than since 10 entered our lives. I see it. I see that without Christ we are trapped. I know the way out and I want more than anything for them to take it. So I’m learning the balance of pointing to freedom and trusting God to be at work in their hearts.

The breeze was soft yesterday afternoon and it caught the perfume I bought from the sparkly new Whole Foods just down the street. It smells a bit like patchouli and my freshman year of college. Then? I did not know that my soul didn’t have to be for sale anymore.

I know it now. My soul is not for sale. Significance? Paid for. Purpose? Paid for. Love? Paid for. Acceptance? Paid for. Security? Paid for.

And so I keep showing up for these young and tender hearts. I keep watching and I keep freedom close at hand.