My friends are sending their kids off to college. My college student is staying at home, but this year another one of my babies enters high school, and my youngest will walk the halls of our local junior high school.
A lot of people say high school and/or college mark “the best days of your life.” There was far too much drama in high school and bad dating experiences in college to make that impact on me. Even during those precious years after college or when I was a newlywed or a few years later when newborns and toddlers entered the picture, I had my struggles.
It seems every stage comes with its blessings and curses. I have yet to experience a perfect season. During the stages when we were all healthy, we had car troubles or major house issues or a neighbor or coworker who made our lives challenging. And when the finances were good, the health struggles were real. When everything else was smooth sailing, one or more kids hit a rebellious phase.
The temptation is to glorify the good old days. Selective memory bamboozles us into thinking once upon a time all was well, maybe even perfect.
Solomon advises us against such thinking: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
And why is it not wise? As Christians walking with the Lord, we recognize the blessing of each stage. Would we really want the newborn phase to last forever? Would we want our kids to stay in high school or college forever? Would we prefer our kids to always remain under our roof? Clearly we rejoice with the passing of time, the advancement of the next stage, and the independence of children who’ve learned to live on their own. But what about those later stages, when independence is threatened and we recognize we’re turning a corner and will need help for daily living? What about when we can’t maintain the house any longer and the old way of life is no more?
This stage, whatever this stage is, is another piece of the puzzle. If it’s the worst year of your life thus far, it won’t last forever. The same is true if it’s the best. You’ll gain life experience. You’ll meet people who make life more enjoyable. Likely you’ll meet people who will challenge you to live out Christian love. Some days you’ll be overwhelmed with gratitude for how great life is. Some days will bring you to your knees begging God to intervene.
But God is here. And if you’re looking, you catch glimpses of him intervening, putting people in your life to keep you afloat, friends to encourage, spiritual leaders to spur you on right here, right now. You put effort into godly living each day and put the rest into God’s capable hands.
Don’t put too much or too little weight into this stage. It too will pass. That’s God’s plan. He’s moving you closer to him and to the day you will enter his presence forever. That’s when the good life begins and will continue for eternity.
Amber Albee Swenson is a writer, speaker, and blogger. Her husband and four children keep life exciting and give her lots to write and pray about. Mother, wife, and author are treasured positions, but child of God is her identity.
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