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Life is full of firsts.

First breath. First steps. First time tasting ice cream. First day of school. First date. First kiss. First job. First time on a roller coaster. First time in a foreign country. First night sleeping alone after your spouse dies. First day of chemotherapy.

When you think of firsts, what comes to your mind’s eye? Some recollections of firsts may cause you to cry. Some may cause you to smile or laugh. Some may cause you to long for another time.

This past week was a week of firsts for our family.

My girls went to Pine Cove Springs youth sleep away camp for the first time. Away from me. In another state. For a week. It was a big first.

My youngest son swam in the pool without floaties for the first time and hallelujah, did not sink. It was a big first.

My oldest son learned how to play the card game War. Not such a big first, but definitely a long one!

My husband worked our town’s biggest event of the year as the Chief of Police. It was a big first.

And I drove my four kids, along with an extra kid for part of the time, over 1500 miles by myself. It was a big first. And one that I know now I am capable of, but I definitely prefer not to do again!

We all have firsts. 

Firsts can stir up a lot of emotions within us. Some firsts stir up excitement within us, while others stir up fear and anxiety. Some stir up apprehension and others stir up courage.

For me, I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the trip. Would my girls be ok? What if we had a flat tire? What if we got in an accident? What if we didn’t make it home?

As I was driving down to Georgia, just outside of Charlotte, NC, I saw dark clouds heading our way. I breathed a quick prayer of protection. Soon after, the most horrible rain storm was slamming down on us. It was insane. Everyone had their flashers on, going 40 mph, just trying to make it through. It was over an hour of that. I was absolutely spent by the time it was over. And then I drove into Atlanta. 7 lanes of traffic. Yikes. But at least it wasn’t raining!

I am usually one of those drivers who turn off the music and demand that no one talk during intense driving moments because, you know, the level of noise in the car completely affects my ability to see, haha! But this time, I was so anxious that I left worship music on. I had to or else my mind would have traveled to emergency rooms that I didn’t want to be in and phone calls that I didn’t want to make and pain that I didn’t want to experience. 

Do you know what I’m talking about?

So as I drove, I kept the worship music on. And God, always being so faithful and kind, gave me a song to keep my mind anchored in the truth that He is our good Father. 

Throughout my trip, I heard this song at least 15 times. 

Every time I got in the car, it was on the radio. Every christian station that I would switch to would eventually play it. Even in just a quick 15 minute drive to the pool, I heard it twice.

God was obviously trying to tell me something.

The main line – “God is with us.”

I was so thankful for that reminder this week. As we approached and lived through our firsts with excitement and fear, the resounding truth that God was with us carried me and carried my family.

Friend, whatever first you are facing or living through right now, be encouraged and reminded that no matter what it is, God is with you. He never leaves you. He never forsakes you. He works all things for the good of those who love him. And though it may be a first for you, it is not a first for him. He wasn’t surprised by it and he has given you what you need to get through it – His presence. 

May God bless you and keep you and strengthen you as you walk through your firsts. May you be encouraged that though some of your firsts may bring joy and some may bring pain, every single one of your firsts are curated just for you, by our kind Father to cause you to lean into Christ and become more like Him. 

And no matter what it is, God is with you.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

God, may your presence be abundantly evident as we journey through the firsts of life.

Of course I couldn’t leave you without the song!

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