Growing pains. Everyone has experienced these funny little things during growth spurts in our childhood, but I want to share this concept in a different way. Think for a moment about your Christian life as a mother. Many of us are right in the middle of a phase in our lives where we are wrapped up in toddlers, preschoolers and grade-schoolers begging for guidance and correction. Getting through the formative years in our children can be a challenge, but it allows growth for the child and for you as a parent. I feel as if the formative years of our children are growing pains on a spiritual level as well. At times, we find ourselves begging to the Father for guidance in raising our children during this difficult time in their lives. We pray for their character as adults, for their safety and health, and for the correction that you administer to them to actually work! We even beg the Father for patience, knowing that you really do not want Him to give you help in that because you know that obtaining patience involves opportunities to display patience.
I feel my growing pains the most as a mother in the winter time. It is always a hard season for me, the cold brings sicknesses that get passed around to all three kids and then to myself and my husband, then back to the kids again. The temperatures drop and the kids have to stay inside. It is during this time, my patience and understanding gets stretched. The kids get tired of each other and tired of being stuck in the house. They fight, whine, cry, throw temper tantrums, and disobey just for the sake of disobeying because they are bored. I begin to run out of ideas and places to go to keep them entertained, and most days I feel stress oozing out of every pore of my body. Growing pains. Each day has its own challenges and it own successes, but in the winter, it is more challenging. I still, wearily press on because I know that is what God demands of me. To be an example to my children, and to shape them into God-fearing adults, no matter how many times they try to resist.
I have always prayed for my children, and lately I found myself praying for their character more than anything else, I have been praying for it with an aching in my soul. I beg the Lord for progress, for the knowledge of what I am doing is worth it, that it is working, and that I am a good parent. I admit that I get weary with the duty of guiding, shaping, and disciplining my stubborn, strong-willed little ones, and I am sure that many of you can relate. I get small glimmers of progress, every once in a while that like a shooting star appear, then vanish in an instant. Then sometimes, like today, I get to experience prayers answered, and lives being formed just the way I had envisioned them to. Days like today bring me the strength to pray more fervently for my children and the strength to continue to guide them on a Godly path through our growing pains.
Today was beautiful. The warm sun was shining through the windows begging me to come out to feel and enjoy its warm glow. I had so many things I had to get done, but I dropped them, got my two youngest ones, got into the car, and headed for McDonalds. We got lunch then brought it to the nearby park to enjoy the day. Just being outdoors and hearing the laughter of my children was soothing to my soul. They didn’t whine, fight, or cry. During our picnic they expressed their gratitude; they shared food with each other and even sat still. The things we had been working on were in were in action and they were doing beautifully.
After lunch, we hit the walking trail for an adventure. During that time, I witnessed the character traits that I had been praying for and building on in each of my children. Zeek was a wildman; he couldn’t stay on the trail and had to take the path less traveled while keeping a safe distance. He ran, marched, jumped, and twirled all around Kadence and me. He would wrap his little fingers around mine and guide me to and fro. He picked up rocks, leaves, sticks, dirt, and pinecones. He smelled each of them, and even tried to eat a few things too. He was not afraid to say “hi” to everyone who passed, and he would even walk beside them, chattering away to them. All of this he did with a smile on his face and wonderment in his eyes. He was showing passion, courage, and leadership, which for all of these things I have prayed so many times for. I have prayed for Jesus’ passion, David’s courage, and Paul’s leadership to be instilled into his character for when he became a Christian man and today, I experienced these principles in full action through the wobbly steps of my two year old son.
Kadence’s steps were slow and steady. She stayed on the path and quietly took in all of her surroundings. She would pause and stand with her head tilted back, eyes closed, so she could feel the sun on her face. She picked flowers and examined and admired them in their beauty. When Zeek fell, she rushed to him, picked him up, dusted him off, and kissed his forehead assuring him he was alright. She showed patience with her little brother because of the extra time it took with his small, wandering steps. My little girl was exhibiting a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God. She was showing a motherly type of love with her brother, and she was exercising patience which has been such a hard concept for her to grasp. I prayed for all of these things to be at work in her life as a Christian woman. I got to enjoy seeing these things at work in her life at that moment.
Through the task of shaping our children, we must make opportunities such as these available to them so they can demonstrate what they have learned by allowing them to have special time with you, out of your daily routines. We must allow them to show you the growth that they personally have experienced through your love, discipline and prayers. Prayer changes lives, prayer molds lives, and the fervent prayers of a righteous “mother” avails much. Do not lose heart ladies, because even as I am writing this now, my children are in the other room fussing at each other. Hold on to those shining moments of obedience and good character that your children demonstrate, they will help you get through those not-so-good moments.
Leaving the park and reflecting on the trials of winter boredom that we had overcome, I was reminded of the passage in 2 Timothy 4:7 which states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” In your life as a mother, fight the fight to raise your kids as holy, set apart. Finish the small races that you get into so often with keeping the course, and pray in faith that the Lord will guide you and your children through your growing pains.