An Epidemic of Growing Up

We have an epidemic of growing up going on over here.

Some of that is reason to rejoice, like the end of another school year ushering in summer break.

But some of it I feel the need to grieve over a bit, like how my youngest daughter is about to turn 9-years-old and 9 is a big deal to me.  Bigger than 10. Bigger than 11.

Nine is the halfway point to her 18th birthday and halfway through the time I’ll have with her at home.

When my older  girls turned 9, I found myself clinging even more to family time so I could treasure it and enjoy it while it’s here.  Of course, they wanted more friend time instead.

And then there’s my son, finishing up his preschool year.

I remember when he used to call his sister, “Tat-Tat” instead of “Catherine.”

“Tat Tat go to dance?  Tat Tat go to school?  I want Tat Tat home.”

Seriously.  It was adorable.

But then he transitioned to calling her “Caperine,” and now it’s a straight up “Catherine,” because he’s lost that little hint of babyhood.

I’m sad.  I really loved hearing “Tat Tat,” and it’s another way we had to let go of something we’ll never get back again.

Then there are my oldest girls, making tough decisions. I’ve been stepping back and coaching more then directing, encouraging them to personally pray and seek counsel and then choose.

We’ve talked round and round and we’ve prayed and prayed over their choices about classes, activities, commitments and more.  If they do this, they can’t do that.  Is it worth it?  What is best in the end?

Many years ago, when I had just two kids who were both under two years old, a lovely older woman told me, “It’s harder to be a parent of adult children than it is to be a mom with young kids.”

I think I blinked two tired eyes at her in disbelief.

Now I understand a tiny bit.  This is what she was talking about, how it stretches us as moms and weighs heavy on our faith to let our kids make their own decisions and then handle the consequences of those decisions.

That’s starting to make a bit more sense now.

This week, I read in Psalm 127:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (verses 3-5 ESV).

Mostly I hear these verses quoted when people talk about the blessings of having a large family with lots of arrows in the quiver.

David Jeremiah, though, said:

The psalmist says our children are like arrows. And what does an arrow do? It goes to a place we can’t go, to accomplish a purpose we can’t accomplish (Hopeful Parenting).

He also quotes Stu Weber:

“…our children are the only messages we’ll send to a world we’ll never see. They are the only provision we have for impacting a world as a distance.”

I need the reminder just now that I’m not losing these “arrows” of mine as they grow up and they grow into independence.

No, I’m sending them out.

THEY GO WHERE I CAN’T GO.  THEY ACCOMPLISH WHAT I CAN’T ACCOMPLISH.

THEY HEAD INTO A FUTURE I CAN’T FULLY INHABIT AND HAVE IMPACT BEYOND MY ABILITIES TO IMPACT.

So I value this brief time with my children all the more because as I pour into them and teach them and pray over them, I prepare and equip them to hit the targets of God’s good and perfect will and plan for their lives.

But it also helps me let go a little.

I still mourn some. I mourn not getting to make decisions FOR them or even WITH them, but instead allowing them to decide.

I mourn the loss of “Tat Tat” and how my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

But I find myself letting go and trusting God.

He is with them.  He can teach them and carry out His will and hold them in His hands.

Originally published May 2016

Bible Verses about Wisdom and Making Decisions

verseswisdom

  • Psalm 19:8 ESV
    the precepts of the Lord are right,
        rejoicing the heart;
    the commandment of the Lord is pure,
        enlightening the eyes;
  • Psalm 25:12 ESV
    Who is the man who fears the Lord?
        Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
  • Psalm 119:9 ESV
    How can a young man keep his way pure?
        By guarding it according to your word.
  • Proverbs 1:5 ESV
    Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
        and the one who understands obtain guidance,
  • Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV
    My son, if you receive my words
        and treasure up my commandments with you,
    making your ear attentive to wisdom
        and inclining your heart to understanding;
    yes, if you call out for insight
        and raise your voice for understanding,
    if you seek it like silver
        and search for it as for hidden treasures,
    then you will understand the fear of the Lord
        and find the knowledge of God.
  • Proverbs 2:6 ESV
    For the Lord gives wisdom;
        from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
  • Proverbs 1:5 ESV
    Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
        and the one who understands obtain guidance,
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
        and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge him,
        and he will make straight your paths.
  • Proverbs 11:14 ESV
    Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
        but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
  • Proverbs 12:15 ESV
    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
        but a wise man listens to advice.
  • Proverbs 13:20 ESV
    Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
        but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
  • Proverbs 15:22 ESV
    Without counsel plans fail,
        but with many advisers they succeed.
  • Proverbs 16:9 ESV
    The heart of man plans his way,
        but the Lord establishes his steps.
  • Isaiah 30:21 ESV
    And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
  • Jeremiah 6:16 ESV
    Thus says the Lord:
    “Stand by the roads, and look,
        and ask for the ancient paths,
    where the good way is; and walk in it,
        and find rest for your souls.
    But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
  • Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
    Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
  • Philippians 4:6 ESV
    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
  • James 1:5 ESV
    If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
  • James 3:17 ESV
    But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Dear Son, Let Me Explain How Shape Sorters Work

james 1Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_riddy'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Dear Son,

Let me explain how shape sorters work.

The circle shape only fits in the circle hole.

You can’t cram it or squeeze it into the square.  You can’t bang repeatedly, slamming that circle down until it finally fits into the triangle.

The circle block really and truly does only fit through the circle hole.

Sad, perhaps, but nonetheless true.

I know you think we’re foolish about this, that maybe we parents just don’t know all there is to know about shape sorters.

Maybe that’s why when we tried to point out to you the circle hole, you scowled and screamed.

Or when we set an example for you, modeling how easily that circle slid into the circle hole, you threw the block.

Or when we tried to gently move your hand to the correct space, you pulled your hand back, cried and cried and insisted on continuing your attack on the square hole with the circle.

Baby boy, here’s the lesson now and, oh, how much frustration and anger, disappointment and failure it will save you later if you learn this right here:  Mom and Dad really know best most of the time.

Even more than that, it’s wise to seek advice and counsel.  When you’re learning something new, ask the experts.

Sure you can stamp your feet in stubborn pride and insist on your own way.

But fifteen minutes and a full-blown tantrum later, you’ll still be holding a circle block in your hand that doesn’t fit through the square hole.

When you don’t know what to do or how to do it, stop plowing on ahead in bull-headed determination to do it your own way.

Ask God.

Ask Him.

James 1:5 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (NIV).

Did you see the promise in the verse?  God isn’t stingy about wisdom.

He’s generous.  

You ask Him what to do and He will respond with abundance.

And, He’s not up there criticizing your request or complaining about coming to your rescue….again…..won’t this guy every learn?  Sigh.  Tsk….tsk….tsk…..what a disappointment.

No, God gives generously to all “without finding fault.”

Sometimes we forget to ask.  We think this is a no-brainer, an easy decision and one we can surely handle on our own.

Or maybe we don’t ask because we know what He’ll say.  We know the advice we’ll receive isn’t really what we want to hear.

So, we avoid asking.

We avoid wisdom.

Because then we’d have to listen and then it would come straight down to what it’s really all about anyway: Obedience. Submission.  Faith.

Surrender.

Giving in and giving up and giving it all over to the only One who truly knows what’s best.

David knew better.

Max Lucado writes:

 The first time he faced the Philistines in the wilderness, David ‘inquired of the Lord’ (23:2). When he felt small against his enemy, ‘David inquired of the Lord” (23:4) When attacked by the Amalekites, ‘David inquired of the Lord” (30:8). Puzzled about what to do after the death of Saul, ‘David inquired of the Lord’ (2 Samuel 2:1).  When crowned as king and pursued by the Philistines, ‘David inquired of the Lord” (5:19).  David defeated them, yet they mounted another attack, so ‘David inquired of the Lord” (5:23).  David kept God’s number on speed dial. (Facing Your Giants)

It was David’s go-to method.  Ask God.  Then listen.  And obey.

But there’s a moment in David’s life when he didn’t pause to call 1-800-ASK-LORD.

He was so overwhelmed by Saul’s relentless attempts to murder him, that he:

said in his heart, ‘Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”

He asked himself.  He decided in his own heart what was best.  He looked around, considered the circumstances and thought, ‘there is nothing better for me than this….”

Maybe God really had a much better plan.  Maybe God could have protected and preserved David without the mess that awaited him in the land of the Philistines.

Never for a moment think you’re wise enough or strong enough to decide what’s best for your life without first asking God.

Never for a moment think that your plan and your way and your desire for your own life is better than God’s plan and His ways and His purpose for you.

Never for a moment yank your hand back from God’s guidance.

He sees the big picture.  He knows:  Here is the circle…..here is where it goes.  Trust me.

Love,

Mom

“The One who laid earth’s foundations and settled its dimensions knows where the lines are drawn.  He gives all the light we need for trust and for obedience” (Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor)

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King