This is written to the well-intentioned men and women who like to tell parents of young children, “You’re going to miss this.” To you, I would say… “I know.” Trust me, I know that I’m going to miss this. I’m still here in the struggles and joys of parenting young children, and I know that I’m going to miss most of this (sleepless nights and potty training is excluded. I don’t think anyone misses potty training or sleep deprivation).
Whenever I think about the future, I can honestly say that I mourn the fact that these days will one day be a part of my past. Aren’t they already? My oldest daughter is no longer a baby. In fact, out of my four living children, none of them are babies. My sweet little boy is a toddler! The saying “The days are long, but the years are short” is so true and so heartbreaking. Oh, how can we be intentional about cherishing and making the most of our time with our family?
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17, CSB).
I think most of us are caught up, not in making the most of our time but in doing the most with our time. Most of us are too busy! We’re too busy to rest. We’re too busy to make and grow friendships. We’re too busy to study the Word of God. We’re too busy to pray. We’re too busy to just be present with our children. Time is such a precious resource, and we’re spending or throwing it away as fast as we get it.
Stop. Just try it for a moment. Close your eyes and take seven calm, slow, deep breaths. What happened? Is the world crumbling around you? Or perhaps… did you enjoy it? Did you feel a sense of stillness? Did you catch a glimpse of rest? When was the last time you were still and just enjoyed your ability to breathe? I’m guilty of this, too, and I probably wouldn’t have even done it if I hadn’t felt like reminding you to do it yourself.
I’m going to say something that I know many will find offensive, but for most of us… busyness is a choice. Most of us are filling our lives with work, and when we are not working, we lose our remaining hours to electronics. Is this really how we can best make the most of our time for God’s Kingdom? Is this how we make the most of our time with our family?
To those who say, “You’re going to miss this,” you’re right. I am, and so is almost every other parent. If you’re able, why not help them savor the time? Why not take the time to befriend this other parent? Wouldn’t we all be blessed by having a wise ear to call and chat with? Wouldn’t we be blessed by having a friend or possibly even a mentor who’s been there? Please remember that if you choose to embark on this quest of friendship and possibly even mentor-ship, it isn’t your job to save her from making the same mistakes that you did. Just be there to encourage her through it all. Through the beautiful days and the terribly difficult days, be there for her. Be there for her when she loses faith in herself, remind her of who she is in Christ, and remind her that His strength is revealed, not in spite of our weaknesses but because of our weaknesses.
I’ve noticed in the Christian community that God is giving His people a focus on the unity of His Church and on discipleship. In reality, these are things that have been important since the beginning, and we can read much on them in the Scriptures. These aren’t new or trendy topics for the Church; these are part of what being the Church is all about.
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