I blinked...

Our oldest daughter, Katie, began her high school career in the fall of 2000.... our youngest and only son, Clay, was a three-year-old bundle of energy.  Sometime during that first week of school, I shared with Frank that I had figured out... this year (2000) marked the first of what would be sixteen straight years of high school (4 children, 4 years apart in school = 16 years).

This fall, 2015 marks the beginning of that 16th year - Clay will be a senior in high school.  I really did just type that reality.  Many years ago Frank and I attended a weekend marriage retreat - the Christian comedian said something that still pierces my heart.  It went something like this..

"When our daughter was born, I was so enthralled with her.  I couldn't wait to hold her, to watch her sleep, just to be present with her... and then... I did the worst thing possible... I blinked, and she was graduating from high school."

I understand the blink!  Time truly does march on.  Frank and I are on the downhill side of our parenting "children" mountain , so I guess it is a natural, expected time of reflection for us.  As I think about the memories we have of raising our children, I am a bit surprised at the "freeze-frame moments" that surface so quickly.  Most of those memories are simply bits of specific events, but interestingly, they are not the big events like graduations and weddings although those are sweet.

 The memories that flood my mind are evening dinner time as we sat as our table... all six of us.  Somehow my thoughts don't focus on the fact that one child didn't want to set the table or another didn't like carrots, just the picture of conversation and silliness and laughter.  The thought of playing Aggravation on the coffee table in the den, where inevitably, some unnamed child would turn over the board in frustration.  What stands in my mind is the picture of all of us at that table - some on the floor, one or two on the couch, maybe one sitting in Frank's lap being his "partner" because that little one didn't fully understand the game just yet.  Family softball games that often brought shouts of victory and agony of defeat!  Riding to church realizing that someone had forgotten a Bible.. or maybe a shoe. Making up games in the backyard like "broom-ball", watching a family movie in the basement on a Friday night with a mammoth bowl of buttered popcorn.

Hours and hours and hours of softball pitching, volleyball spiking, kickball rolling, basketball dribbling, swing flying, playhouse building, bicycle "trick" judging, popsicle distributing, tears wiping, scraped knee bandaging, story sharing, Bible reading...

and many many days... early morning, late nights, midday, dinner table  - PRAYING... with our children, for our children, because of our children, in spite of our children.

Oh sweet friends... parents or those who have influence in someone's life... PRAY for them.  Teach them about Jesus, share your life lessons with them, play with them, eat with them...

We did so many things wrong as parents, we failed at many moments, but thankfully our Father continued to encourage us through His word and His love, grace and forgiveness for us as parents and as His children.

If you read carefully, the memories that flood my mind cost nothing... but our intentional time.  Time really is the best gift we have to give, and I believe, the most valuable investment we have!
Below I have listed some the verses of scripture that have guided and continue to guide our parenting.  Thankfully our God is gracious and patient with us as parents!!

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.   Proverbs 22:6

 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.  3 John 3

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,  these commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them upon your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up...  Deuteronomy 6:5-7

I thank my God every time, I remember you.  In ALL my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy... being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on the completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:3-6

And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1:9-11

and so many more...

Just don't blink!

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