This is a post I wrote a few years ago, but I wanted to re-post it as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage next month. Adult children are a blessing beyond anything I could have imagined when they were born. Praise God!
When our three kids were much younger, I got through the hard days by asking myself, “In twenty years what will it matter?” Well, Hubby and I have passed that 20-year mark on the life-long journey of parenting. Our two girls are in college and the little baby boy is 16 years old and 12 inches taller than me. We have passed through diapers, tantrums, and spilled milk at the dinner table. We are completely done with the heavy duty parenting of babies, toddlers, tweens… and almost done with teenage years. It is a great spot to look back and see how far we have come.
Obviously, the kids don’t know about the sleepless nights I spent feeding a newborn every 2 hours; the worry over fevers and finances; the loop in my fatigued brain saying, “Am I doing this right?” They remember an inflatable pool on our cement patio; donuts on Saturday mornings and wrestling with daddy before bedtime.
Now we look back at twenty years worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and realize there are no more bath nights and bedtime stories. The training wheels are done, tiny black tap shoes were sold at a garage sale and the tooth fairy will not visit anymore. They are having adventures on their own, but we still have a little more family time to treasure on our journey with our three young adults walking tall beside us.
How do you handle it when what God provides is not what you want? I’ve been meditating on this thought through this season of gift-giving. What do we do when we are given a “gift” that is unexpected? Unwanted? Unwelcome?
As I read the Christmas story, I thought about Mary. Imagine being given the gift of pregnancy when you are a virgin. Imagine traveling with your betrothed and giving birth in a shelter God provided, but not a clean house. Imagine receiving the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh from benevolent strangers, foreshadowing the gift of a Savior dying on a cross. Mary said “I am the Lord’s servant… May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) She graciously accepted her part in God’s narrative but life was not easy for Mary.
Many years ago God provided our family with a tiny 2 bedroom/1 bath 800 square foot condo. Mr. K and I had 3 energetic little kids and a cranky cat and I was thankful, but I knew I could be a much better wife and mother if I lived a bigger house. It was my constant prayer. I reminded God daily that He could do better and 12 years later, God answered. We moved to a bigger house and the waiting years created in me an understanding (I am a slow learner) that it did not matter where I lived if my heart was discontented with what I had.
The blessings that God provided were my husband and children, and as much as I thought I was grateful for them, it took the years of waiting to show me how God provided everything I needed. I learned so many lessons in humility and patience while waiting for God to move us out of our condo. Waiting time is not wasted time with God.
He is Immanuel, “God with us!” Through death and divorce, cancer and chronic illness, betrayal and abandonment, Jesus is with us. Are we willing to receive the gifts God has for us and like Mary, accept what God provides with humility? Even in grief we can have gratitude because we have a Savior who is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). Look closely at what God has provided for you. May the peace of God be with you as you remember the true Gift of Christmas with a humble and grateful heart.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16