There’s a couple in our church who’ve been married over 60 years.
They’re in a season of jet-setting, of cruises and spontaneous trips up to New England to see the fall leaves. They drive all over to visit family and seem busier now than I am with my four kids.
They’ve known sadness too. They’ve had cancer, lost family members to cancer, even lost a child to cancer.
About a year ago, I passed by my husband as he was chatting with the husband-half of this dynamic duo and I heard these words of wisdom:
These are the best days, when your kids are young. I remember when all our kids were little and at home and it was crazy, but those were the best days.
I didn’t catch any other part of that conversation, but oh how those words dug down deep within me.
The other day, I said to my husband as we drove home from church, “We’re super close to the time when we have a built-in babysitter in our home. Aren’t you excited? I’m excited!”
It’s so true. Our kids are getting older, getting ready to stay home alone and even babysit younger siblings. It won’t be long (dare I say it?) before my oldest daughter can drive herself to activities. What a day that will be!
Last week, I took four of my kids into a museum and we did not bring the stroller. Each child carried her own backpack of stuff and I just toted a bag of my own. Whoa!
This is a new era for me. And it’s just the beginning. I’ll be living a life without diapers, wipes, and juice boxes before long.
I should be excited. This is a new season, and it’s a beautiful season.
But I truly treasure the wisdom from this church-friend of ours because even on days when I’m rushing from activity to activity, breaking up sibling spats, or navigating a grocery store with the ‘help’ of a two-year-old who doesn’t want to ride in the cart, even on the days when I’m most exhausted or most overwhelmed, I hold onto his truth.
These are the best days. I will never have them again.
I may get to go on weekend getaways with my husband. I may be less of a taxi driver and more of a world traveler.
But oh the beauty of the now.
Oh the beauty of making this family and loving this family through its most significant character-forming, faith-building, family-identity-forming era.
This gentleman isn’t the only one who has given such a gift of wisdom and perspective.
Last Easter, a dear friend in my church, a joy-bringer and encourager, gave me a little gift with a hummingbird on it.
She said the hummingbird made her think of me, flitting about, always moving, so beautiful.
This was another treasured gift.
I wage this constant battle for balance. I’m a doer who is happy doing, and that’s something God created in me and what God creates is good.
But I have to choose and discipline myself for rest, for beauty breaks and for finding room to breathe.
I know this about myself. I know my weakest weakness and how easy it is to call me out for doing too much.
But she chose to see the beauty.
And the funny thing is I’d never seen a hummingbird, not in my whole entire life, until about two years ago when we planted butterfly-attracting plants in our back garden.
Turns out hummingbirds like these flowers too, and they hover all summer long right next to the window where I write every day.
They have become God-gifts to me, sightings and reminders that God sees me and knows me, He made me and He loves me. He helps me know when to do and when not to do. He guides me ever so gently and cherishes me the way He made me.
These are the treasures I receive from God’s family, just two of many gifts I’ve been given, words of hope or encouragement, wisdom and perspective.
I’ve been reading 1 Samuel with my kids recently and we discovered this verse:
Then Saul’s son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in his faith in God (1 Samuel 23:16 HCSB).
David was on the run once again from Saul’s envious wrath, and he discovered that the city he was hiding in planned to betray him and him over to Saul. So David escaped with his men into the wilderness.
If ever he needed a treasured friend, it was in his wilderness season.
And Jonathan was that friend.
Can we be a Jonathan for another today?
Can we give a treasure away, encouraging someone in her faith in God, share wisdom, see beauty, give hope?