September 7, 2013

And They're Off!

My children started back to school this week and though they'll only be gone a short eight hours or so, I know the years are fast approaching when they'll be gone for much longer... as in off living their own lives, chasing their own dreams, and writing their own stories.

My son is in eighth grade this year and my daughter is a junior, who's already looking at colleges and pondering her future.  How it is that we have just two to five years left with these two, before they go off to college, is beyond my comprehension.  Where has the time gone?

The years have flown past at record speed, and the years we have left to love them well, to invest deeply in their lives, to prepare them for the future and teach and instill in them the values we know will carry them far, are quickly coming to a close.

Though I know we'll always be a voice in their lives, our voice will change in the years to come, and though that may take some getting used to, it will be both healthy and good.

With complete abandon, we're throwing ourselves into the last few years we have left to raise these two.  Time is short and our work is great.  With sheer faith and trust, we're choosing to embrace and enjoy all the moments of change and growth, whether good or bad, and we're asking God to prepare us even now for the time to come when we'll need to let them go.

I read in a book this week, in regards to raising children, "When we loosen our grip, God tightens his."  How comforting and true that is.  Though I know God has always held my children tightly in the palm of his hand, I know he'll hold them all the more tightly as I let go.  I know he has them and I trust him.  And I trust they'll know and feel his strong, firm grip on their lives, and I pray, in return, they'll reach back to hold tightly to him.

I believe the greatest gift we can give our children is to teach them how to walk with God, to point them to Jesus.  Not to ourselves, not to others, not to material gain, or power and position, but simply and solely to Christ.  That has been our focus, our goal in raising our two... to point them to the One who made them, who's always present and good, who loves them more than we ever could, and has a plan so incredible and vast for each of them that if they could see it now, they would't believe it.

They need Jesus more than they need us, more than they need anything, and I see that truth taking root deeply in their hearts as they continue to grow into the man and woman God created them to be.

Throughout the years and since they were small, I've prayed this blessing over Jane Anne and Gray… before bed, on the way to school, or just because.  And I'll pray it over them this morning as they head out the door to start a new school year… another year of growth and change.

They are words that fall like a warm, cozy blanket on a cold, winter's day.  Words that are comforting and encouraging and have grown familiar to them.  Words that say, "All is well and all will be well."

And this is true.

This is true.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May he cause his face to shine on you.  
May he be gracious to you and turn his face towards you and give you peace." 

~ Numbers 6:22-27

Are you in a similar season of wondering where the years have gone as you watch your children grow up fast?  Or have your children already left home to live their own lives and chase their own dreams?  May Jesus come with grace for all of us... whatever season we're in.


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