I suppose it is normal to have a sobering sense of time when you look up from your desk, caught off guard by the young woman walking through the door, only to realize it is your own daughter.
When did she grow up?
I feel like I just tucked the 4T dresses away for her little sister. Wasn’t it only yesterday when she insisted on wearing sports shorts and a t-shirt, all-the-time? Now she’s dressed like she’s ready to step into the world of business movers and shakers. That’s what dress code looks like on a nearly fully matured teenager’s body.
In only a blink, I am sure she’ll be walking back out that door and into the world God is waiting for her to explore. And I am left to wonder.
Did I teach her the most important lessons of all?
Did I model authentic faith? Did I share with her the awesomeness of God and proclaim His glory in my worship, praise, and prayers? Did I show her what to do with unbelief, letting her know it is okay to cry out to God in doubt but walk faithfully anyways? Have I given her a taste of my whole faith, even the messy parts, because isn’t life messy? Won’t she be a doubting Thomas at times, too? But it is my prayer for her to echo Mary’s words more often, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Luke 1:46-47).
In the very blink frozen by my thoughts, I turn my heart to the Lord and stare down Proverbs 3:5-6. It was the very first verse my daughter had to memorize when she entered kindergarten and the very first verse I really sunk my knees deep into prayer over the life of my children.
Oh Lord, may they trust in you with all their heart, and lean not on their own understanding. In all their ways may they submit to you, O God, and may You make their paths straight.
It’s been a prayer for my littles, spoken so many times in gasps of, “Oh Lord. Help them to submit. Dear God, make them stay the straight way.” But in this moment of window gazing and wonderment of time, the Lord whispered to me a new way to use this passage of Truth. He asked me…
- Did you teach them to trust me?
- Did you teach them how to give their heart to me?
- Did you teach them to not lean on their own understanding?
- Did you teach them to live set apart?
- Did you teach them to pay attention to me?
- Did you teach them to follow my ways?
- Did you teach them how to live on the straight path?
Did I teach them?
It’s now my accountability checklist for the remainder of my motherhood journey. Not so that I’d feel bound up in condemnation, but so that I’d really pour into the years left with her and her siblings. It’s a tool to help me evaluate my time, offering the Holy Spirit a good old fashion moment of silence as I step away from the screens to face my Maker.
Oh sure, it makes me squirm on days when the answer is “No, Lord. I didn’t.” But because of His grace and the mercies bestowed each morning, I can embrace living with an momma heart, eternally bent. It’s the best thing I can do for my children — to give them Jesus in a faith that’s still being learned — while they are still young enough to teach.