My kids are growing up. You hear about these things when you’re a parent. The moments where our children remind us of the fleeting time of their childhood. It manifests itself in different ways. It’s not always a change in their physical appearance- like when my son reminds me often of the fact that he’s almost taller than me or the fact that my daughters shoe size passed mine several years ago.*
No. This is different.
Since we see our kids every day, it’s sometimes hard to notice the intricate and not-so-glaringly obvious details about them that let us know they are growing up. Recently, it’s been a change in my kid’s maturity that has gotten me all in my feels.* All of a sudden, my daughter is independently driving herself and her brother to all the things - Mom chauffeur no longer required - and then there are days like today when my son is heading to the church with his sister only to load up on a church van packed with teens for his first youth conference, while I stay back and watch it all unfold from my living room window.
As I watch them grow up, a part of me wants to do all I can to put life on pause. I'm resisting the urge to just tag along on every youth trip JUST to make sure Noah doesn't get lost, to make sure there is someone there to listen to all of his random ideas and stories, to make sure he takes his medicine and that he actually EATS something before his blood sugar drops and he gets "shivery" as he tends to say. I'm resisting the deep desire to strip Elia of some of her independence. Not because she can't be trusted or has done ANYTHING to even somewhat warrant such a drastic measure, but simply because my mama brain so desperately wants to believe that if I can pause her growth than I can somehow pause life - allowing us to stay right here, happily in this season - avoiding the big milestones of graduation and college and setting sail into life on her own, which are approaching far more quickly than I will ever want to admit.
But then God.
But then - as I stand at my window, watching them independently pull away together for a day of growing in community and growing in the Lord - God gently whispers to me and reminds me that, though I can't be with them 24/7, He can and He IS. That though I want to think that they are mine, all mine, and ONLY mine, they are actually HIS, all HIS, and only HIS. He was just gracious enough to allow me to have a front row seat to all He has planned to do in and through them. And that though, yes, in this moment it would be far easier to keep them nestled here, safely at home under one roof, all of us together, forever enjoying family dinners and family movie nights and game nights and late night conversations wrapped in laughter on a random night after a long day, doing so would also mean missing out on seeing all the ways the Lord desires to stretch them, grow them, mature them, and use them - not just in the future but HERE. NOW!
So off they go. Out into this scary world. A world that will challenge them, yes, but also a world I know that, with Jesus at the helm, they are destined to change.
"But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted."
1 Peter 2:9-10 MSG
*Excerpts adapted from The Kids Are Growing Up: Reflections on Parenthood By Katie A -March 27, 2022