Sunday, February 24, 2013

Never Stop Growing

"He has made everything beautiful in its time"
Ecclesiastes 3:11

My Awesome Girl turned 16 this week.  Quite a big occasion.  One of those milestone birthdays that makes a parent think, “Wow… where did the years go?”

I’m not really one of those moms who thinks time is going too fast, or laments that my kids aren’t babies anymore.   I think part of that has to do with the fact that we homeschool.  I’m with my kids nearly all day, nearly every day, so I’ve always been aware, or even hyper-aware of every new age, or phase, or stage.  And I revel in who they are.

That doesn’t mean I don’t lovingly remember some past phase, or stage, or age, but it’s hand-in-hand with loving who they are at the moment.

But upon my daughter turning 16, I am looking back.  We’ve been talking about past birthdays, and how the celebrations have been a little hard to top.  Three years ago we spent her birthday in the ski resort of Whistler, Canada, where we were attending the Olympics.   And last year we went to a concert where her favorite band was playing.  She got to meet the band afterwards, and they sang “Happy Birthday” to her.  It doesn’t get any better than that, right?

But mostly, as I’m looking back, I’m thinking about me.  It’s not as selfish as it sounds, though.  I’m thinking about who I was 16 years ago, and how I’ve changed since then.  I’m a better person now, and a lot of that is due to her.

Having a baby makes you less selfish, automatically.  Someone else’s needs are more important, and more urgent than your own.  You sacrifice your time, and your sleep, and your money, and you’re happy to do it. 

But as my children have grown, they have changed me in other ways.  I have worked to become more patient as I teach them or discipline them.   I have become more creative in finding new ways to grow their minds and their hearts. 

I’ve also worked to become a better person in my words and actions.  Parents are models for their kids.  They see if we lie, or speed, or gossip, or criticize others.  I’m not perfect, and my kids know that.  But I try to use situations where I fail, as times to talk about how to rise to the standard God has set for us.

Most of all, my kids have taught me.  They have interests and gifts that are different ~ sometimes vastly different ~ from mine.  But because I so love interacting with them, I’m interested in what they are interested in.  The movies they like, the books they read, the games they play…. I want to know about their friends, and their sports.   I love learning, and my sphere of interest and education has grown, thanks to my kids.  

I love how God uses the people in our lives ~ the ones we love, and even the ones we struggle to deal with ~ to grow us and shape us.   Sometimes we don't want to be changed, and sometimes it's painful, but it's a beautiful thing to know that I'm becoming who He is making me to be.

~ "O Lord, You are our Father; 
We are the clay and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand" ~
Isaiah 64:8

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