16 YEARS …

MBA

I spent 16 years in a row, going to school.  Kindergarten through some  College.  Then I took a break.

16 years went by…. SO SLOWLY.  I needed a break from school.

 

I remember my 16th wedding anniversary, and asking myself… “Wow, has it really been 16 years?”.

16 years went by…. I DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE.   Because my marriage had become natural, like breathing.

 

Today, is my eldest daughters 16th Birthday.  I’m a hot mess.

16 years went by…. SO FAST.   I can’t slow them down.  I can’t help but wonder if she’s really prepared.

 

In the scope of time, based on the circumstances we face…. 365 days seems to adjust it’s speed.   Time isn’t constant, in the heart.

On my daughter’s 16th birthday, I would encourage any parent… who is like me to sit down and really think about what it is you want your children to know by the time they turn 18.  That age when they go off to college, head off to boot camp, venture out backpacking across Europe, or even say “I DO”….

Then make a plan to teach them.  And, if they are old enough, ask them to contribute to the list.  Is there anything they want to know/learn, that you haven’t taught them.  You may be surprised.

And if you haven’t yet, intentionally begin to surround your kids with godly women or men… ones who are a few years ahead of the game, and a couple even further…. they will need these people to help stay the course.

MY GREATEST LESSON CAME IN AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PAIN

fence

I remember as a child, calling out to my mom, my legs hurt.  They hurt so incredibly bad, I didn’t think I could walk.  My mom said “they are growing pains”, gave me something for the pain and sent me on my way.  This was a part of life.  It was not going to hold me back.  I would experience a lot of physical pain, as I grew into an adult.

I recall one night, heart broken over that first love.  My heart was in pieces, it never felt like it would go back together again.  My mom assured me it would, maybe a bit differently, but that pain would go away.  These were also growing pains, ones that would shape my heart and my mind for the responsibilities to come.

One thing I always appreciated about my mom was that she never down played the pain.  It was ok to hurt, to acknowledge the pain, to even take a few minutes to wallow in it, but in the end… you get up.  You move forward.  I watched my mom go through growing pains too, when her life wasn’t exactly what she planned.  She had days of pain, she didn’t hide it.  She did, however, keep moving forward.

I have learned over the years, no matter how much older we get… or wiser… we still face the potential to experience growing pains.  Life will be full of lessons.  Some of us will face hard ones, and often.  Others may have softer lessons to learn, or less frequent.  Until we are on the other side of Heaven, we will face obstacles, difficulties and complications along our way.  All of which will teach us new things about ourselves, others and God.

Some of my greatest lessons, that I benefited the most from, were the ones accompanied by the most pain.  They were the ones that stripped me of everything that made sense, pulled me out from my comfort zone, and pushed me down to my knees.  It was in these moments I had to rely on God completely, because I couldn’t do it on my own … even if I tried.

It is funny, now, to look back on some of those moments in my past.  To see what God brought me through, and brought me to.

Recently, I found myself going through a “rough patch” again.  I recognized what was happening, I was being refined by fire…. but that didn’t diminish the pain.   The comfort I found, was that much like my mother… my Heavenly Father was not going to discount my pain.  Instead, He made a promise… “I am doing a new thing.”