“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
I try not to tell my children how smart they are. Don’t get me wrong: I do think they’re smart. Like most mothers, I see the best in my children—in all children, truth be told. But I don’t like to emphasize “smart”—a label that seems to change depending on whoever is in the room. I like to tell them I see how hard they are working. I like to remind them of their strength and resilience. I like to tell them that they are important—to their family and to their community.
They’re going to need that resilience as they discover how they can best live and use their gifts to help God’s people in our broken world.
I seem to get stuck worrying about the future, while rehashing the past. But God is quietly calling me to live in the moment.
Pride and bittersweet surprise
When my oldest works on a painting for days, re-working parts he’s still not satisfied with until finally, at long last, he’s comfortable setting down his brush and letting us see his work, I feel both pride and bittersweet surprise, that this child, who was once completely dependent on us for every need, can now prepare, pursue and accomplish his own vision and plans independently of his father and me.
The imprint of his future independence seems to leak through everything, an omnipresent watermark I can’t pretend to not see. Later, I try not to cry, when to my surprise, he presents that painting as a gift to his grandma for her birthday, despite covetous hints from both his father and me that we’d sure love to have a gorgeous oil painting like that. But I’m not the least bit jealous somehow. He’s just so beautiful, with his blazingly bright smile and expectation of being loved.
Struggles and heartbreak
When my youngest struggles to overcome heartbreak from a friendship that didn’t work out, my lungs struggle to take in a vast, uncertain hope as I watch him start over with a new friend. I’m glad, but still nervous for him, when this new friend smiles repeatedly, follows him eagerly and seems even more invested in the friendship that he is. I don’t want him to be hurt again. Or rather, I wish for him the requisite resilience for living in this world where everyone doesn’t always love you back.
All of this is inside my own head, of course. I seem to get stuck worrying about the future, while rehashing the past. But God is quietly calling me to live in the moment.
As a wise friend of mine, Brenda, told me recently, “The time for loving our children is always in the now.”