When they are little and consume your days and nights, children are a real challenge. I remember thinking when the boys were little and both had the stomach flu at the same time that parenting is not a job for the faint-hearted. We see them through teething, illnesses, tantrums, and heartbreaks. Then suddenly one day, we’re having a conversation with them and we realize that we are talking to our friend. They exchange ideas with you and you think, “wow, their struggle for independence has given way to creative thinking and reasoning skills!” Dinnertime tradition moves from cutting up their food in tiny pieces to learning table manners then enjoying dinners with them by candlelight. The scriptures say this is the Lord’s gift.
I was feeling all sentimental today about that when Paul Burton came home from church and wanted to help us get ready for our Small Group meeting here tonight. He was in his dress shirt and slacks but that didn’t hinder him from donning bright green rubber gloves and cleaning the commodes. I thought the color combination was striking! So there I was in the kitchen making potato soup talking to Paul Burton who was just around the corner diligently cleaning the bathroom. I was chatting away about the potato soup recipe thinking, “He’s smart, handsome, cleans toilets, and listens to me chatter non-stop. I think I have raised the perfect man!” I looked around the corner of the kitchen to find out why he wasn’t responding to me and found out he had his headphones on listening to music and wasn’t hearing a word I said. So, maybe he isn’t perfect, but it is so much fun to have children who become our friends and share life’s ups and downs with us. We realize that somewhere along the way we become a team, helping each other, encouraging each other, and all the while, keeping the advancement of the Gospel message the goal of our lives.
As we look forward to our Small Group coming over tonight, we are thankful that Katy is out of bed and will be joining us for our lesson and prayer time. My mother-in-law gave me a refrigerator magnet that states, “There is no greater joy than knowing my children walk with the Lord.” I have found that to be true. And when they walk with Him they become like Him, serving, loving, and giving of themselves, for the sake of the Gospel. If you are in the middle of those diaper years, keep giving, keep loving, keep praying, and it will all come back to you one day. “For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). If you have done all that and your children are not walking with Him, remember with thanksgiving in your heart that the end of the story has not been told.