“My name is Mysti, and I have a problem with birthdays.”
This would be my introduction to my support group. Not my birthdays, my kid’s birthdays. Can I get an “Amen” from any other parents out there? Please tell me I am not the only one who has to get an emotional grip and truly give myself moment by moment pep talks as my children approach the day that they become (gulp) a year older. My baby boy has a birthday in a few days and in my mind, I’m trying to slow these last days down. As if that matters. I have been immersed in the reality that I can’t stop this ride. I can’t even do anything to slow it down. Not one thing. Time marches on and my kids are growing up. As well they should. But, I’ll be honest friends, sometimes it’s just plain hard to let them.
I have this terrible tradition. A torturous tradition that I love. The night before my children’s birthday I walked in their room and just sit by their bed as they sleep. I always do this the night before birthdays. (Don’t tell me its just torture because I’ll be honest, I thoroughly enjoy this particular torture.) I praise the Lord for creating them, I pray for His Glory to be evidenced in them, I beg for grace as their imperfect mama…etc, etc, etc. I pour out my heart to the Lord and beg Him for His mercies over my children and our family. It’s like a slideshow plays in my mind, to the most sentimental song I can think of, of every little detail I have experienced with them…. Their birth into this crazy world, the first time I saw their faces, the first night in their little cribs, first smiles, first foods, first words, first steps, first everything. I retrace it all, and I cry tears of great joy for who they are now and tears of sadness for who they will never be again. It’s just a part of me growing up. Yes, ME. For I have never walked the road of being a mama before and I really don’t know what I’m doing. So as with any life stage, I remember the sweet, I even remember the bad with sentiment, and I grieve what’s behind while in the EXACT same moment that I celebrate what is ahead. Weird. I fully own that it is a weird feeling. But it is what it is.
Can I just say that I am okay with feeling this way?? I am told all the time that I am going to miss all of “this” (Most of the time in the grocery store in the middle of a raging toddler fit) and let me just shout at the top of my lungs, I KNOW I AM. I already do. I am caught day after day in the purgatory of how do I savor the day and survive the day…So much so that I feel like it might make me crazy!! But here is what I am learning… THAT IS OKAY.
I am a human. I am a creature bound and limited by this thing called time. I am sinful and selfish. While I want to long for the things of heaven and eternal value, my flesh only knows what is here and now and precious on this earth. I can’t possibly understand what it will be like to forever experience heaven’s glory WITH my children forever with no timeline of birthdays or milestones. All I know is the natural progression occurring which means everyday this world and it’s luring devices creep more into the lives of my children. They lose just a little more innocence. And just a little more wonder. And become just a little bit more educated in the ways of this world. in short, they are becoming more like me. And I just don’t like that. Once you get a taste of innocence and wonder in your children, something from years past comes alive in a parent and we just want to stop the madness. And not let our kids know the cynicism and jadedness of our fallen world. But, they will know it. They will know it well as we do…maybe even on a deeper level as we approach the return of our Savior. But here’s the hope they have. They also get to see the beauty and light of Jesus in this world…and Jesus never changes. His light becomes brighter the darker this world becomes. The hope that sustains me will sustain them!! The God I serve is completely trustworthy and faithful. Can my children choose to reject Him? They can. But may it never be from the fact that they don’t see a clear picture of grace, joy, discipline, and forgiveness in their parents. If my children worship my Jesus and we train them in such a way to see Him in EVERYTHING, then even if they choose the LOONNGG way home, His promises can never be “shut off” in their hearts. And oh Lord, PLEASE, LET IT BE that we as a family are on the verge of an eternity together. No goodbyes, no growing up, no time marching on. NO TIME. For this is what God’s word says,
“He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 4:11
So, for today, in all of its “dailyness”…I have to remember that every day is game day. No days off. I choose to look back and remember with sweet, endearing sentiments and I choose to look forward with great expectation at the exact same time. I choose to give it my very best human effort and allow God to take my feeble attempts and beg Him to exponentially bless them like 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. My heart’s longing is to raise kids who honor and glorify the God of all the ages. I get to be their mom and the one who daily has the privilege of showing them Jesus. Friends, there is no greater responsibility. Now, probably in the next hour, I’ll completely mess this whole thing up. But hey, these kids gotta learn grace somehow. They might as well get a clear picture of it from me…