I remember attending several workshops in college that talked about dealing with change in life. I was told to read “Who Moved My Cheese”, and I even remember watching a video about it. But let me tell you, nothing will force you to deal with change like having a baby.
Maybe this is just a parental venting session, but I feel like I constantly have to readjust for my daughter some kind of way. You deal sleeping changes, eating changes, growth spurts, teething pain off and on. You have developmental stages to keep track of and plenty of unspoken problems that you have to logically deduce without your little one being able to say one word. And then, just as soon as you think you have it all down, your little one continues to grow and mature, and you face a whole new set of changes to adjust to. You know, it just never stops. So while my daughter is currently popping out some teeth while having a head cold and going through a growth spurt simultaneously, I have been reflecting…
When it comes to my parenting style, I am not interested in getting my daughter to behave perfectly because I know she won’t. I am interested in getting her to learn some very important things, even from a young age. She is 8 months old, but I talk to her about patience, obedience, consequences for disobedience, perseverance, and more. When she was an infant, I responded to every cry and all of the fussiness. But now that she is getting older, I take more and more time to address her crying and fussiness. Why? Well, besides learning the other things, she is also learning to trust the fact that mommy and daddy hear her and will respond to her. Although she is persistent in her cries, she has learned to trust. So, she doesn’t fall out when we leave her in the church nursery or when she is being held by some new person because she knows her parents are not too far away that they won’t respond.
Going through this steady process of change with her, I cannot help but think of how God treats us as His children. As His children, we are constantly changing, growing and maturing in Christ. We are not the same people we were a month ago or even two weeks (at least I hope you’re not). God is steadily growing us up into the image of Christ. Now, a large part of our growth is going through various trials, but like my daughter, I don’t think that the lessons are fundamentally different. It appears that we are learning brand new things in Christ (and sometimes we may be), but for the most part, God is simply recycling the same lesson but using a different mode of delivery.
Think about it, it doesn’t matter how long we have been living our lives for the glory of God, we are still learning how to be patient, how to endure, how to be obedient, how to be unselfish, and so much more. The same things I began teaching my daughter months ago, I still teach her today. Instead of letting her stay in her car seat awhile, she stays in her crib awhile. Instead of being fed the moment she wakes up, she has learned to wait at least an hour. And she is learning this all while learning and understanding that her parents will take care of her needs. She is going through a lot of changes, and though our love for her will never change, how we parent her will change as she grows.
Making it personal, in Christ, we should constantly be changing and growing. Our Father’s love for us remains as constant and unchangeable as His very self. However, He will parent us differently as we continue to grow. Though you used to hear from God immediately after praying, it may be a while before He answers you as you mature. You may be going through a problem or difficult circumstances, and He will take even more time to work out that situation for you. I definitely think it gets frustrating at times, trying to wait on God, wondering what you did wrong this time for Him not to answer you like He did before. But I want to put forward this thought: God’s answering or responding to you has nothing to do with your actions.
You see, you cannot influence the Sovereign God. Your actions do not frustrate Him nor cause Him to respond more quickly or later than He was planning to. Now as people, our children can definitely frustrate us, but it is not so with God. He is the Creator, and you are a mere creature. He is our Father, and He wisely knows how to parent us properly, for our own good in Christ. How he chooses to father us will differ according to who we are and where we are in our walk because He intimately knows each and every one of us. But all in all, the lessons that we must learn are not all that brand-new. The lessons seem harder the more mature you get, but the basic principles are still the same. You just have to remember to trust Him.
Now I know that I am new to parenting, and I am far from being the perfect mother. But I pray for grace daily and put forth my best effort every day for the benefit of my daughter now and in the future. As I constantly seek God for grace and wisdom to mother her properly, learning all I need to know so that I can do it well, I must also remember to seek God on how to always be His child properly too. I should never be above correction, so occupied that I don’t hear His voice, so stubborn that I refuse to obey, so easily given to despair that I fail to endure, so self-absorbed that I lack patience, so emotionally distraught that I lack self-control, so prideful that I refuse to be humbled, or even so anxious that I lack peace.
We should never be above the basic lessons that our Father first taught us as little children in the palm of His hand. The Christian walk is not as complex or deep or mystical as we make it out to be. Christ said that unless we became like children, we would never enter the kingdom of heaven. As His children, we will always falter and fail in some kind of way, but we serve God. God is the Perfect, Most Holy Father. He is perfect in all His ways, the definition of wisdom. Unlike us, He knows us perfectly, and He parents us, as His children, perfectly. We simply must always trust Him even through all the changes in our life. Trust Him, and trust His work in our lives. My prayer for you is that you become and remain a child in Him always.
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:1-6