Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ages and Stages Part 1

Have you ever been so exhausted that you stood at the gas pump and stared at the instructions—as if you’d never put gas in your vehicle before?  I’m raising my hand.

Have you ever had to juggle working, husband and/or children time, domestic duties, and personal time and dropped not one, but all of them? I’m raising my hand.

Have you ever been in a season as a stay at home mom where your husband worked another job or long hours? Inevitably, you would get so tired that you entertained the thought of putting the kids in bed an hour and a half early? My hand is still raised.

What about this? Do you have a teenager who will be able to get their permit within the year, or an adult child who is faithfully praying for their future spouse? I’m raising my hand.

How many times have you been asked: “What do you do for a living?” If you are a parent,  your initial unspoken answer may be, “What do I do to stay alive?!”

I LOVE my eight children (two are in heaven due to miscarriages). I know that they love me back. If someone or something would come against them….ugh, I may end up in jail. Love protects and will sacrifice life itself to do so.

But loving isn’t easy. In both marriage and parenthood we learn that love is not just a noun, it’s a verb. And a tough one to live out at times.  But the process of learning how to love well is one of the most worthwhile missions that we can undertake.

My children are 22, 20, 17, 15, 4 and 2. We have been in a constant state of transition since my firstborn graduated from our home school and began community college four years ago. 

Tomorrow, I will experience a sense of satisfaction that will be new and extremely encouraging. My firstborn will graduate from the University of Virginia. It’s a neat feeling that I’m sure every caregiver feels when they have worked hard to put a child in the best possible position for them to achieve their God-given dreams.

Sometimes I feel like I grow up more than my kids. I probably do. The birth of children reminds us how grateful we are but the stages that each child experiences, reminds us how clueless we really are.

The stages our kids go through teach the great value of taking a deep breath and counting to ten. They teach us to laugh or at least try to smirk and not grimace when right after a cup of water spills on the table, a cup of juice falls on the floor. Maybe that three year old is just not ready for a no lid cup yet. Oh well.

As much as my children mature, I do too. At 44 years old, I’m a much better person now because these six extremely wonderful treasures have shown me my inadequate humanity and convinced me that daily I need to draw from the reality of God’s unconditional, unceasing, enduring, and tangible love.  

I hope that you enjoy this multi-part blog post: “Ages and Stages”. Even now, I chuckle as my four and two year old watch their early morning “Little Einsteins” show and my oldest gets dressed to go to the Valedictory Exercises at UVa with her dad.  I never would have planned for a 20 year gap between kids. But my God knew exactly what He was doing. He was saying, “Tina, study Me and how I have parented you. Then you will know how to parent generations of kids.”

"Okay, Daddy. I will."

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Matthew 5:41

Today, I pray that you will take God’s hand and arise out of whatever situation is stealing the abundant life that He desires for you. Our Father in heaven knows what you need and He will provide. 


End of Part 1