When birthdays become life lessons…

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Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day at the beach.  Anyone with me?

And yet, I know it’s so important, not only for the child… but for me.  Through parenting, and in those hard disciplining moments, I continue to learn so much about my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  Awhile back, I had a child – who will remain nameless, of course – whose birthday was coming up.  I was so excited to celebrate with my sweet child, and in typical mom form, was eager to give my child some really fun gifts I had purchased and knew he/she was longing for.  I get so much more excited about giving gifts these days than getting them.

As the time grew closer, however, I started to struggle with whether I should be giving more “stuff” to this child who had so much already and wasn’t acting so appreciative of what they already had.   I was tripping over toys, giving out way too many reminders to clean up, and just feeling really frustrated with the way he/she was taking care of their current belongings.  Is it really in my child’s best interests, I wondered, to be given more right now?  Perhaps some stewardship needed to be learned first.  And definitely some gratitude.

And then it hit me that sometimes, God may think the same thoughts about me as well.   Here I am praying for more, asking for more, and longing for God to do more in my life – when He just wants me to be content right now with what He’s already given me.  It doesn’t mean that I should stop longing or asking when He’s put desires in my heart.  But it does mean that I need to learn to be grateful for what I have now and steward what I have well,  so that I will appreciate and better handle the bigger gifts and responsibilities to come.  I have no idea what He’s got planned for me, or the timing of when those plans may come to fruition.

But I do know all that He’s called me to today.

The gifts He’s given me to cherish.

The responsibilities that I need to take ownership of.

And I have to believe, based on so many life stories of the people in Scripture,  that faithfulness to today’s responsibilities and gifts will result in greater fruitfulness tomorrow.

As for my child – well, we are still learning around here.  But I’m happy to report that the situation did improve before the birthday came around.  The birthday celebration was a happy time, and the birthday child ended up receiving way more than he/she deserved.  Because isn’t that how God is with us too?  So many gifts of grace.  Unmerited.  Undeserved.  Freely given in love.  But definitely delegated in His sovereign timing with the responsibility to steward them well.

My children will keep working on their gratitude and stewardship around here, and through it all, I’ll be reminded too.  Be grateful for today. Be hopeful for tomorrow.

But most of all, be content with His timing – convinced that Father really does know best.

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