Grown-up Growing Up (part 1)
July 23, 2014
Jennifer Hagler Photography
By Laura DiFatta
When you’re very young, growth seems to happen so slowly! Do you remember a time that you wanted to be “older?” It’s funny that we ever wished that, right? I remember wanting to be considered “grown” at a ridiculously early age. My mom still tells stories of how as a little girl I would get so mad if someone even suggested I order something off of the child’s menu. The very idea! And, as a teen, the highest compliment in my eyes was if someone found out my age and said to me something like, “Wow, I thought you were older than that…”
One of my boys is currently frustrated over wanting to grow taller “faster!” Recently, because he was convinced he was done growing, I decided I had to show him that–although seemingly imperceptible–he is growing! I led him to the giraffe. The giraffe has markings of charted growth for all three boys on each of their birthdays and a few random dates. He stood with his back to the giraffe, heels against the wall and I marked his height. Sure enough, since this past November, he’s grown an inch and a half! His growing was imperceptible to him, but happening all the same! Seeing is believing!
In contrast to my boys, I’m done growing physically. However, I’m not done growing up in areas of faith and character. And I find myself just as eager to grow fast in these ways as my boys are eager to grow physically. I’d like to share with you a specific area of my grown-up growing up that–over time–is making a big difference in my life. Hopefully, you’ll be encouraged in your grown-up growing up, too!
Faith in the daily moments:
Imagine most any weekday afternoon during the school year. The older boys are just home from school, tired, hungry and not excited about homework. Little guy is way excited about having some non-mom company! I need to start preparing dinner, help with and motivate homework getting done, get boys to extracurricular activities, and I find instead of cooperation with my plan, there is lots of wrestling, some flipping over furniture, whining, occasional fights breaking out…lots of loud chaos and a messy house! These are examples of common moments that push my buttons. I like peace and order. I really do. Well, ha, to that! I’m (still) in a huge learning curve as a parent!
We all have daily “moments” that tend to push the limits of our patience and that interfere with our plans. (One of many examples might be: running late for morning carpool, you get in the car and your gas is below E, you spill your coffee on your kid’s backpack and seat, you left said kid’s lunch that you ran late preparing on the counter and there’s no time to go back. And at least one person in the car is close tears and it might just be you.) So where does my growing fit into this kind of scenario? Glad you asked.
Within the past couple of years, I realized that I have been, in effect, living like God didn’t care about these small, common (sometimes extremely frustrating) moments. I had been living like I was in this “common stuff” on my own. Here’s what I mean: I trusted God for my salvation, yes, but I functioned like I did not trust Him in most of the moments of my every day life. I started most days with quiet time and that’s good, but I really didn’t consider deliberately asking him in the middle of the ordinary moments which sometimes looked like chaos. And so, I had very little awareness of how He could meet my needs in these moments. I was confident of His attentiveness in crisis, yes! But in common chaos? Not so much. Can you relate?
God’s Word has a lot to say about all aspects of our lives. Believers in Christ are encouraged to pray about all things (Philippians 4:13,) to know that God sees our inmost struggles (“His ears are attentive to their prayer” Psalm 34:12) and knows the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4,) that He is near to all who call on Him (Psalm 145:18.) We are assured that He is with us wherever we go and that we can approach His throne of Grace with confidence knowing that He hears us and that He gives wisdom generously to those who ask Him for it in faith! (James 1:5) Wow! I am now growing in my understanding that God wants me to see how His redemptive work through Christ can bring life into my ordinary moments.
The small moments are important to Him, too! All these moments add up to a lifetime! And these moments are when the people who know us best can see what or who really drives us, and to what or to Whom we go for help and hope. These are the real-deal moments, when the pretense is gone and we are practicing daily faith.
So, what does that look like in reality? Well, for me it means I literally ask Jesus into the middle of these seemingly insignificant moments. I ask Him for help and fresh perspective when I’m frustrated, for wisdom when I am confused over what to do or say, for peace in my mind and soul, as well as in my home…And my boys know it. They know I go to Him. I’m ok with that. I want them to see and know that I have a Savior who doesn’t just show up in moments of crisis, but wants a relationship with me–and with them–in the day to day moments, too. I know that He is right there in the middle of all of it with me. (“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you’.” Isaiah 41:13) I’m learning to depend on Him in all things.
The people around us need to see this working out of our faith. It encourages their faith growth, too. Is my home always calm now? Ummm. A big NO, on that one. Do I always respond well in the chaos? No, again. However, I now know Who I can run to in the “crazy.” I am looking for my Savior’s help expectantly in the big, small and in-between moments. In fact, I practiced this a lot…today!
However slow my growth may seem, I know I am growing as I apply this fresh understanding and live out my faith. And He is near. He is in it with me. (“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16)
Whatever your “everyday” is–at work, at home, in the car, in each of your relationships–won’t you intentionally invite the Lord–who loves you and is eager to help you–into and throughout your moments? You can start by remembering He cares, (“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7) then whispering a prayer right in the middle of your messy and mundane. And you can know that you’ve started a new growing, too: Growing in your faith in God’s Presence in your daily moments!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
“Not that I have already obtained all this… but I press on…” (Philippians 3:12)