I wasn’t ready when Cory headed off to preschool or when he drove away alone in his car for the first time. I wasn’t ready when Leslie headed off to her first prom, dressed up like a story-book-princess. I wasn’t ready for Nathan’s first sleepover or first children’s camp far from home. And actually, I believe that feeling unsure and unprepared is a good place to be. It makes us learn about trust. It makes us turn to God. In fact, as our children grow, we can view each new step as a step closer to our heavenly Father, as we turn to Him for help, guidance, and strength in this new stage of life.
As James wrote about in his letter to fellow believers, it’s the testing of our faith that develops perseverance. (And what can test us more than our kids? Or our lack of readiness to deal with our kids!) It’s through persevering, through the training and the shaping and the molding of our children, that God trains and shapes and molds us—making us mature and complete.
Some people may wrongly assume that raising our kids is all about the kids growing up. It’s not. It’s about us using these challenging times to grow up ourselves. As we watch our kids grow into the people God designed them to be, we are also participating in our own transformation. God uses parenting to shape and mold us.
These days the times I play with play dough are few and far between, yet it’s easy to remember the lesson. During the years of motherhood, there were times I believed I’d never get the crumbs out. There were other times it hurt so much as God pulled and tugged me into shape. But today, if I picture myself in His hands, I can see I’m much more pliable. I’m also closer to the image God pictured in His mind from creation—a picture that closely resembled Christ.
No, I haven’t arrived, but I’m closer. Closer to God, closer to my children, closer to understanding that every part of our journey is necessary in the molding, even those years when we struggle with spit-up and tummy aches and tantrums. Especially those years. God molded me through motherhood because I was willing to place myself in His hands. I was needy and He was there to help. And now that my kids are older, the molding hasn’t stopped. It’s different and it’s welcomed, because I now realize more than ever that the best place to be is plopped into God’s hands. Yes, that’s the very best place to be. Ever. Always.
How about you? How are you closer?