Yesterday I was able to spend the whole day with my girls. Because I procrastinated, we were shopping for their Halloween costumes. It was a fun day of shopping and laughing and girl talk…which always leads to talk about the future.
Julianna is a junior, so more and more people are asking and she’s thinking about her future. What she wants to do, who she wants to be, what she loves, where she wants her life to go and how she’s going to reach those goals.
Every now and then when I stop and think about how little time we have left with her, it makes me so sad! My baby is growing up and it feels like she needs us less and less.
As crazy as life was at times when our 3 oldest were little (there’s less than 2 years between all 3 of them) and we had 3 toddlers, 3 car seats, 3 little humans completely dependent on us for everything and I would DAYDREAM about the day we could just go to the grocery store without all of them tagging along and telling stories that lasted entirely too long, there are days I miss them being that tiny. I miss tying their shoes, cutting up their dinner, getting their snacks, reading to them and watching Cinderella or Ninja Turtles for the gazillionth time.
And then I have days like yesterday when I realize, they’ll always be my babies and they’ll always need me…even if it’s for the small things.
It went something like this:
Julianna: That was so fun today at the thrift store. I swear when I get my own place in college, I’m doing so much of my shopping there.
Me: I know! They have some great stuff!
Julianna: Days like today, I feel like I’m totally ready to have my own place. I’m going to be good at life!
Me: (*smiles while thinking: yeah, I don’t know how ready you are for that…)
BUT I SAY: You WILL be good at life.
Julianna: (standing in front of microwave) Wait, mom, which button do you push for popcorn on here?
Me: (killing every desire in me to make fun of her) Ummmm, the one that says popcorn? Then press start.
Julianna: oh ya! Wait, which side do I put this on?
Me:The one that says “this side up” faces up.
One minute and 25 seconds later…
Me: It smells like that’s burning.
Julianna: What the heck?!? It was a defective bag, look! It didn’t even pop. I swear both sides said this side up.
I managed to NOT roll my eyes – major mom win – and made her a new bag of popcorn the correct way.
Later, I was telling Marcos what she did and ended the story with, “but yeah, she’s TOTALLY ready to move out on her own.”
Every time this story crossed my mind today, I giggled.
I love my daughter. She’s funny, she’s smart, she has a wicked quick sense of humor that’s always been far beyond her years. She’s sassy, creative and all of the emotions that come with that gift…
But there are times I’m mystified by the things she says and does. She can seem so mature one minute and the next it’s like I have a toddler again. She’s constantly torn between wanting us as her parents to parent her and do everything for her and the need to do it all on her own.
And then I started to get that sneaking suspicion that I’m just like her…
That we’re all just like her…
When it comes to God and the things of God.
We want to grow, we want to mature, we want to be independent and do things on our own, in our own way.
And while God DOES desire a maturity in us, he DOES want us to grow into well-functioning adult Christians who don’t have to be told every step of the way what and how to do things, He never EVER wants us to outgrow our dependency on Him.
Every new season of life we find ourselves in, we need Him. We need His guidance, His goodness, His grace, His wisdom and above all else, His mercy & forgiveness. Because we’re never going to achieve perfection. We’re never going to arrive at the point where we’ve got it all under control and we can do it on our own.
And we’re not supposed to.
I’m a mom in my 30’s with 4 kids of my own…and I STILL need my Mom & Dad. There’s some advice from them that I still crave…they’ve been through a lot more life than I have, been in ministry a heck of a lot longer, and faced more than I have in life. Looking back they can tell me, “here’s where I went wrong and what I would’ve done to change that.” They have a deeper and longer relationship with Jesus and I value their input in my “real” life and my “spiritual” life…and how to make those 2 pieces of my life come together seamlessly.
And it’s the same in our walk with God.
We start as babies and we can do nothing ourselves, we move on like children where we still need help and guidance and often times, correction. Then as we continue to grow and learn to read God’s word for ourselves, we see how to apply it to our lives and the areas we fall short without the constant need for an outside source to show us. We learn over time to make better decisions based on where we want to end up in our Christian walk and where we feel God is calling us.
And this is where we fall very short…
We think we have it alllllll figured out, and we want to do everything and make all of these decisions on our own.
And we can’t.
We still need guidance from other, more mature Christians. We still need to depend on God because without him we can do nothing! Nothing of substance and nothing with staying power will happen apart from a relationship with God and a life completely intertwined with Him.
And that’s what I learned yesterday from my daughter.
I want to be grown.
I want to make my own decisions.
I want to say I don’t NEED anyone or anything.
But my actions prove everyday that I do.
I need mentors in faith.
I need friends to walk beside me to encourage me, cheer me on and help me back up when I fall.
I need to be those 2 things to other people.
But most of all, I need high doses of Jesus day-in and day-out in my life.
In every circumstance.
In every conversation.
In every action & reaction.
I need nothing more than to be completely devoted and dependent on God. He’s a good & loving father who will never lead me astray.
Even when I think I can do it all on my own and God is rolling his eyes at my attempts to be everything I need all by myself…he’ll never leave me & he always has been and will always be faithful to hold on to me and help me grow.
“Stay joined to me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to me. “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I to you, you will produce plenty of fruit. But separated from me you won’t be able to do anything.”
John 15:4-5 ERV