I'm one of those crazy moms who loved getting up in the middle of the night to feed my infants. I loved it so much that for years, long after they actually woke up on their own, I'd get them out of bed in the middle of the night just to cuddle. Granted, all six of my kids slept through the night from 6-8 weeks old, even the preemies. So it wasn't like I'd been fighting with them for months to get them to stay in bed. They loved their beds and they loved their sleep. So I could just lift them gently and slide into the rocker, hold them for a while, then lay them back down. They rarely actually woke up. In fact I've even done it with kids as old as four! In a few weeks, that will probably rise to five.
But by the simple nature of how fast times flies, one of these days it's gonna be the last time I do that. Oh, we've already had lots of "lasts." The last first day of school. The last diaper change. The last bottle. But one of these days the entire baby stage will be a far distant memory, much more than it is now.
Time goes so fast.
In Ecclesiastes 3 we're told that there's a season for everything. God gives us that overwhelming love we need to parent our infants, even in the middle of the night. He gives us the grace and the wisdom we need to nurture those babies in the way that they are needed at each stage of their development. Then He ushers in the season of school-age children: T-ball, birthday parties, sleepovers, and everything else that comes with the childhood years, including scraped up knees and broken bones.
Next, He holds our hands as He walks us into the teen years. Dating, peer pressure, choices, mood swings, hormones… Thankfully He goes before us and prepares the way with grace and patience. Just imagine if He didn't.
Next comes the season of letting go. College, moving out, empty-nesting, marriage, grandchildren...it's an endless cycle of letting go and trusting.
What if we parented through each stage with an eye on the end prize? What if we could look into the future and see that soon we'll be called to let go? We could make choices as a parent now with our eyes firmly locked on the finish line.
If you envision your grandchildren, might you parent your children differently now? If you envision your kid's wedding day, maybe you'll make different parenting choices when it comes to dating. If you imagine the dating years, maybe you'll make different choices as your young children flirt with early relationships and Facebook statuses.
We have to learn from the people who have gone before us and look ahead to the future. God gave us a beautiful roadmap of guidance towards the decisions parenting requires. It's up to us now to use that roadmap wisely.
Time goes so fast. Everything has a season. Look ahead to the finish line and set your mind on winning the race.
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