“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know summer is near.”
Cabbage Patch Dolls were the craze of the early 80’s. For those who do not know, these dolls were all unique and came with a birth certificate and specific name. I was young, and I wanted one in the worst way. My poor mom stood in lines for hours waiting to get her hands on one for me and my sister. My first was a girl with brunette pig tales, her name is Rita. Yes, I still have her. Ever since I was a little girl, all I wanted was to be a mom….
God blessed us with our first child 3 years into our marriage. Everything about pregnancy was enjoyable. Even my delivery was quick and pleasant (sorry!). I could not have been happier. I used to witness parents yelling at kids in the grocery store and I thought, “wow, I will never do that”. Or, I’d see a toddler throwing a tantrum and think, “oh, my child will never act like that”. Our first son was pretty easy. Not daring, pretty cautious and compliant. Three years later, came son number two. Woowee, it started at 6 months of age when he climbed out of his high chair and fell to the floor. I kid you not, he once fell down our carpeted basement stairs, my husband dove down them, passed him on the way down the steps, turned and caught him at the bottom. That is no lie! The goal was to keep this child in one piece each day. And yes, those early judgements of other parents…well, let’s just say I carried a toddler out of a store tucked under my arm while he threw a fit more than once! God has a sense of humor! (FYI that little guy is now a wonderful teen and young man that could not be a better kid!! So, hang in there if you have one of these!)
My daughter was born when number two was almost 2 years old. Juggling 3 little ones was rough. Those days and nights felt long sometimes and there were plenty of times I felt like I did not know what I was doing. But, you know what? It was a season. A season of life that, unfairly, flew by too fast. Now, we have two teens and a tween. And I thought toddler years were tough! When the teen issues flare and I don’t feel like I know what to do, I think back to how quickly those young years went. This too, is a season, and I know in two years when my first goes to college, I’ll look back and think it was a blur. I came across a photo booth picture from 16 years ago of my son and I when he was just a baby. I noticed how faded the picture has become…a very real reminder of just how fast those years have gone. That’s why I am trying to make a conscious effort to enjoy each day, each stage, each season.
When I read the above scripture passage, I started to think…those little twigs that are starting to green…it’s how I feel about my kids growing up. They are entering into their ‘summer’. Independence is around the corner. For a parent, this can be tough to accept. I mean, when my oldest son’s voice started changing, I cried! And I mean, I cried often! I told my husband I felt like it was the beginning of the end! He’s growing up! One Saturday morning, I remember drinking my coffee doing that crying/laughing thing…you know what I mean? Like, I am crying but half laughing because I know how ridiculous I am. My loving husband told me I was going to have to find a way to deal with this. I read Ecclesiastes 3:1, To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…I realized by being so emotional about the kids growing up, I was missing out on enjoying them at this very season of their lives. This is the goal for us all as parents, raise our kids to be wonderful, Christian men and women. And it’s God’s intention that we live for TODAY.
Are you an empty nester? Do you have a house full of teens? Are you up several times a night with that newborn? Taking care of elderly parents? They are all seasons of life that pass by so quickly. God told us our lives are like a vapor. It is so easy to get caught up in the struggles of the moment that we don’t live with joy right now. We are only promised today! As hard as it is for me to accept the fact that my kids are growing up, I am trying to make a point each day to take a breath and know….this, too, shall pass. And in a few years, I’ll be looking back saying how quickly those teen years went. So, no matter what season of life you are in, LIVE it, enjoy it, and thank God for it. God is so good, he wants us to enjoy our lives and our families. Not mourn what used to be or what is to come but look back with fond memories and look forward with great anticipation! So if you are in your summer…dive in and take a swim! Fall? Jump into that pile of leaves. Winter…make that snow angel. And Spring…stop and smell the roses!
Dear Lord God, we are so grateful for life, for seasons. You never promised our lives would be easy but you promised to be with us every step. Be with those struggling with a certain stage of life. Help us to be confident that you are there and it will pass. Help us not to miss the joys of today because we are already looking at tomorrow. You are good, good all the time. Thank you for the great things you have in store for each of us. Amen