I watched my three children from a distance the other day. We were on a long needed family trip over the mountains and were slowly, thoughtfully, making our way home. The fall had not brought about the usual inches of rain that our neck of the Pacific is know for (that has since changed).
The cries from the back seat had moved from an occasional complaint to a constant whine, so my husband and I decided to make a stop at a lake about 45 minutes from our home for lunch.
This lake has an unusual history. It is a well known boating and vacation destination. But in the winter, it is drained, because it is part of a water reservoir. In the 1950’s the Army Corp of Engineers flooded this small town to make way for a large dam.
When the water is low, an old ghost town emerges. My kids sat on old pilings and logs as they ate their lunch in the eerie silence.
What was this town once? What were the people’s stories who lived here? Where did they go when the town was flooded and they were forced to leave everything they knew? What did those people so long ago become?
I could see all the questions in my kids minds as they pointed and nodded.
As watched my kids from the warmth of my car, I smiled. Being cooped up in the car for hours, led them to a need for discovery and to explore this barren landscape. Their imaginations ran wild as they jumped from old foundation to old foundation and they guessed at what this building might have been and that one may have housed.
I thought back to my life the last few years.
I was watching them through the glass of a picture window and the reality hit me at how fast they were growing up. It was bittersweet.
Part of my heart wanted to reach out through the glass and freeze time. To stop the growing and tell them don’t go any further. The world can be hard and uncertain.
But the other part of my heart, where I often feel the quiet whisper of the Lord, told me to let them go. Watch them grown. Watch them thrive. Watch them become all He has made them to be.
In that quiet moment I asked the Lord for two things for these three.
1. Keep them always aware of His presence and who He is as the go forward.
2. Give us wisdom to teach them as they grow.
We spend a lot of time looking back in January. We think about the way we want to do things different. The goals we want to reach. The places yet to be explored and developed.
While this promotes growth in so many ways, as a child of God it is equally necessary to look forward. To fall forward and not let the challenges of life pull us flat on our backs, so we are scrambling like a turtle to find our balance.
When we fall forward and use our posture on our knees to find Jesus in the midst of the rubble we are in the perfect place to grow. It isn’t fun and it is often painful, but to know that with each fall, each heartache, each celebration we are being made into the image of the One who made us is what God destined for each of us.
That quiet afternoon I asked my kids through that window “What will God use you for?”
At the same time, God whispered to me, “What will you help them become?
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children (Psalm 103:17,ESV)
The responsibility is huge, but God is bigger and His plans far exceed mine. As I am getting older, and prayerfully wiser, I am learning the more I lean on Him, the more I instill Him in my children.
This life is short, and the quiet moments spent being reminded of His presence in our lives last for a lifetime.
What about you? Are there places you have not fallen forward with Jesus? What is it you are becoming? Jesus has a place for you. He loves you with an indescribable love. Rest in Him today.