Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Wonder Years

I spent most of the summer dreading August 20th. I worried over it and wept in light of it. I pondered my various options and prayed like never before. I second-guessed myself and struggled to come to grips with the undeniable fact.

Eden was going to start kindergarten.

How did this happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that I brought her home from the hospital and cried my eyes out because I was so happy, exhausted, and overwhelmed? Didn't she just mumble her first "Mama" and take her first clumsy steps as I walked next to her to soften her impending fall? It seems like only moments have passed since she graduated to her big girl bed and f-i-n-a-l-l-y decided it was okay to use the potty. As her mother, I have these memories cataloged in my (slowly deteriorating) brain, like a slideshow of all her significant stages.

And here we stood at the brink of yet another exhilarating step.

When the day finally arrived, it was nothing like I thought it would be. I anticipated much nervousness from my firstborn, and I was sure she would have some tears and fears about being separated from her loving mother. However, this was not the case. She woke early with excitement and hurried through the new morning routine. She squealed about her new stylish outfit and posed for the camera like a model on the runway. As we loaded into the car, Eden declared, "I am NOT going to cry!" And you know what? She didn't. When we got to the school, I grabbed her hand and tried to get a good grip on my emotions as she pranced happily next to me. We walked into her classroom, she quickly put her things away, and she left my side to find her name and get busy with her first activity. As Jason, Caroline, and I walked back into the hallway, I began to shed the first of many tears. (Caroline was sobbing loudly as well.) I couldn't believe it had actually happened. The painful goodbye had passed. And we survived.

As I think of all the anxiety and grief that I entertained over the thought of Eden growing up and having new life experiences, I know deep down that this is a necessary part of becoming who God desires for her to be. As much as I wish that I could freeze time and keep her as a tiny little baby for many years to come, I can't. That isn't the way the Creator designed us. He built us for growth. And if we didn't blossom and grow, there would be major cause for concern.

The same is true for our walk with Christ. If you are a believer, you are designed for growth. As a matter of fact, your growth is essential to the growth of the entire body of believers in Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16 states that...
"he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." (emphasis mine)
 How do we grow in our walk with the Lord? By reading and meditating on His Word and allowing Him to transform our wayward thoughts. By asking Him to fill us to overflowing with His Spirit so that we can exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. By spending time with the community of believers and joining with them in worship, fellowship, and service. By pointing the lost to Christ and telling them how He has rescued us from the pit of despair.

I want to challenge to you consider your life thus far as a believer. Are you the same as you were when you first came to Christ? Or are you continuing to grow and change into the person He desires for you to be? I pray that you will be rooted in Him and that you will grow in His fullness and bear fruit for His kingdom.