Something really strange is happening in my home.
It’s happening in yours too, you know.
Our kids are growing up.
Line your kids up against the door jam and measure the top of their heads with a pencil every month and you’ll see it for a fact.
Some days I look at my kids and for a split second I wonder how we got here: How did my four-pound premie became a 5th grader? How is my oldest experiencing all the firsts of her last year of high school? When did my son get whiskers on his chin?
It may not sound profound, but it is. Healthy things grow–pear trees and plants and people–when we take care of them. They mature, they change, they grow.
Growth doesn’t happen overnight but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening right under our noses. But we have to stop what we’re doing and look closely to see it.
So, yeah, mom, take a deep breath and celebrate that. If our kids need new shoes, we must be doing something right.
I’ve been doing this parenting job for nearly 18 years now. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a lot: My kids eventually slept through the night; they survived store bought baby food and not getting into the perfect preschool. They weren’t traumatized when I was room mom and when I wasn’t. My kids have thrived even without the latest upgrades.
Together, we have overcome attitudes and had moments of gratitude. We’ve endured scrapes on knees and wounds on hearts. We’ve done tears and faced fears. We’ve overcome lice, lust and loneliness. Yeah, we’ve wept over losses, sorrow and success.
Every difficult phase and challenging trial has resulted in one thing: we have grown.
And yes, we are still in the thick of it because we are still growing.
But in all of this child-rearing and raising, changing and rearranging, my parenting goals have grown smaller and smaller. And I’ve discovered that so much of what seemed so big and so important doesn’t really matter that much. I’ve found that all the work and weariness and wonderful experiences have brought me here to this place in parenting.
This is what I want most for my kids in this life: I want them to deeply love Jesus.
And when I can remember that this is my ultimate goal–this is what matters most–I can let a lot of other things go.
I can love them and in doing so, I can lead them to Him.
Do you know what this does? It takes the pressure off. It frees us from culture and class. It centers us. It challenges us to trust the One who loves our kids a lot more than we do. It calls us to pray for what really matters– a love affair between them and Him.
When our babies loves Jesus, He will challenge and convict them; He will woo and welcome them; He will compel them to love him more than they love anything else. And friends, that is more than enough. It’s everything.
Listen, we’re standing so close to our children, it’s hard to see progress. It’s like watching grass grow –we don’t notice the subtle change, but every week we still need to mow the lawn.
Your kids are growing because you are doing a good job. Some days we just have to remember the most important parenting goals.