One year ago I was stressing out. I realized my oldest was leaving home in a year—and my other two would be following quickly. There was still so much we had to teach them, and so much they had to learn. Time was running out!
I’m fairly certain I started making a mental list of the things they had to know or they might not make it in the world. I can’t remember what was all on that list, because it turns out that I was the one with lessons to learn.
The first is the reminder that just because I’m saying words doesn’t mean the kids are learning—right now. They still leave trash in the car door, walk right past the pile on the bench that needs to go downstairs, and set dirty dishes on the counter even though the dishwasher is right there for Pete’s sake. (To be fair, I do those things too, so maybe technically they’re learning, just from my example, not my words—potayto/potahto.) It dawns on me that God might just feel the same way: “For Pete’s sake, Linda, I tell you over and over that I’ve taken all your guilt away. Why do you keep piling it up on the counter to stare at it?” We don’t always get to see immediate results (in both life and faith) because wisdom and maturity are a life process, not a light switch.
The second is that I can’t teach them everything. Well, duh. I know it sounds obvious when I type it, but from the moment children are born, teaching them stuff is pretty high on the job description. It’s the parents’ jobs to teach them how to walk, talk, read, share, eat their veggies, take a jacket just in case, say they’re sorry. So it’s easy to feel responsible for teaching it all. I need to remember that many of life’s lessons come from life choices. Plus, this past year was an opportunity to be thankful for all the coaches, teachers, friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and bosses who have surrounded our children to build them up, correct them, encourage them, teach them, and love them.
The third one—and, again, it’s one I knew, but it really had to sink in—is that their heavenly Father loves them more than I do. He’s been busy working in and for them. He so loved the world—so loved me, so loved my kids, so loved you—that he sent his Son to live perfectly on their behalf, to die a painful death to pay for their sins, to rise from the dead to defeat the eternal consequence of their sins, and to go back to heaven to prepare a place for them to live forever. He commands his angels to watch over and protect them; he rejoices over them and takes great delight in them; he corrects them and gives them grace.
The more I learn these lessons, the less I stress out. Sure, time may be passing, but it’s not running out. After all, as children of God, we have all the time in this world—and the next—to be together.
And that’s the best lesson of all.
Linda Buxa can’t really complain about kids walking past a pile that needs to be taken care of, especially when she didn’t keep her New Year’s resolution to keep the counter clear of clutter.
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