There’s something about birthdays that causes you to reflect over the past year, and yesterday was our daughter’s 1st birthday. The weather turned cooler so that we didn’t get a chance to take her to the zoo, but my mother made the visit to celebrate. And overall, I think our daughter loved staying inside and playing between grandma, mom, and dad. This was the first time my mother has visited my husband and I since we were married, and it made for a pretty good visit overall.
As a mother, I’ve been reflecting a lot over my daughter’s first year. From the moment I laid eyes on her to taking her home, to figuring out her cries of pain or discomfort, to wrestling with her car seat as she grew, to entertaining her during a cross-country move….it’s all a lot to reflect on. I know that I am not the same woman I was when I had her, and even today, I know that I have a long way to go and grow in Christ.
And then with my own mother present, it made for an even more interesting dynamic in our home. Here is the woman that raised me the best way she knew how, and in her older age, she realizes and admits to many more mistakes in her child-rearing. Consequently, she tends to always have an opinion, comment, or something about a lot that my husband and I do with our own child (as I’m sure a lot of older mother do). But apparently, it also caused her to do some deeper reflection of her current relationships with her children, which aren’t the best. So God blessed us with an opportunity this morning before she left to have a little real talk about our mother-daughter relationship. And truly, I thank God for that opportunity. I’ve been praying about that personally, and it’s always wonderful to see God answer your prayers. Now, I know that we have a ways to go to rebuild our relationship, but I know that as we humble ourselves and entrust ourselves to Christ, He is able to bring about a great relationship between us.
And with all of this going on, I am even more thoughtful of how I want my relationship with my daughter to go in the future. I know that today, she trusts me completely, always wants my company, always wants to spend time with me, etc. However, I know that she will push away in her teenage years and begin the struggling journey of autonomy and independence. I consider it a struggle because it is often the time where we are the most rebellious: to God, to any kind of authority, to our parents, etc. And I consider it a journey because it is a road that we must travel to prayerfully come to the end of ourselves and into Christ (My husband and I prayer that this journey and the struggle is very short for her personally, and that she does come into a relationship with Christ in her youth, rather than waiting to later in adulthood).
But, whatever happens, my prayer is that I am continuously mindful of my own struggle and journey as she grows up, and that I’m open to sharing it all with her. I’m praying that I don’t have a “holier than thou” attitude or that I appear to be perfect to her, even in the slightest sense. My prayer is that she sees her mother daily dying to herself, daily putting her flesh to death, daily carrying her cross and following after Christ, daily loving the Lord above all things. I pray that she feels like she can always come to me to talk, laugh, be encouraged, and be corrected in love. I pray that all the things I learned working with college students doesn’t leave me just because she’s my child. But I pray that the same patience I exhibited towards other people’s children is continuously shown to my own. I think that overall, I’m praying that she comes to love the Lord as I do, and even more. I know that we’ll have disagreements, that we won’t see eye to eye on some things, but I’m trusting that the Lord will cause me to walk humbly with her, knowing that He has entrusted us with her life, but in the end, she does belong to Him alone.
Our daughter, Alexandria, teary-eyed after burning her fingers by touching her birthday candle.