How did so many years pass? Can it be that I have a beautiful teenage daughter already? She turns 13 today and it is a profound occurrence to me. My oldest baby is 13! I remember measuring at the midwife with her. I remember seeing her on the sonogram when she was as tiny as a kidney bean. I remember all these things like it was yesterday.
But here she is today, a lovely beautiful soul full of life and questions and interests on the cusp of womanhood. I am blessed beyond measure by her and even more grateful to God for this wonderful life.
Because my life is changing - and my littles are fast growing - I have been reading on and off Paul David Tripp's, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens. I put it does to finish a series I was reading and have picked it up again. Last night I read these words:
“We tend to approach parenting with expectations as if we had hard-and-fast guarantees. We think that if we do our part, our children will be model citizens. Yet in a fallen world, this is not always the way it works. We tend to approach parenting with a sense of ownership, that these are our children and their obedience is our right.”
“These assumptions pave the way for our identity to get wrapped up in our children. We begin to need them to be what they should be so that we can feel a sense of achievement and success. We begin to look at our children as our trophies rather than God’s creatures. We secretly want to display them on the mantels of our lives as visible testimonies to a job well done. When they fail to live up to our expectations, we find ourselves not grieving for them and fighting for them, but angry at them, fighting against them, and, in fact, grieving for ourselves and our loss. We are angry because they have taken something valuable away from us, something we have come to treasure, something that has come to rule our hearts: a reputation for success.”
“It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that these are God’s children. They do not belong to us. They are given not to bring us glory, but him. Our teenagers are from him, they exist through him, and the glory of their lives points to him. We are but agents to accomplish his plan. We are but instruments in his hands. Our identity is rooted in him and his call to us, not in our children and their performance.”
These were important words for me to read. I must remember - every day - that these blessings are not jewels in my own crown, but in God's. They are His and only here with us for a short time. Oh, how short it is!
It is just a mere blink of the eye until she will be considered an adult in the eyes of the world. She will always be my little girl though. She will always be that chubby little baby who crawled backwards; that little toddler who tried so hard not to smile for the photographer; that funny early reader making all those endearing mispronunciations; that lovely young lady with a growing desire for knowledge and wisdom. She will always be my girl, but she is His first and foremost. She is His child and deserves the kind of care and love that is my charge to give. May God give me the ability.
Happy birthday my sweet Hannah.
You are a treasure and a blessing and I love you.