We call this week birthday week in our house as our eldest and third daughters birthdays are only a day apart. They are now both officially adults, and I’m wondering where all that time has gone.
It doesn’t seem that long ago since we took those tiny, perfect chubby little pink bundles home for the first time. But time has marched by and now our eldest daughter and her husband have their own little pink two year old bundle of joy.
When you first discover you are going to be a parent everyone tells you how your life is going to dramatically change, and will never be the same. That is true, you no longer can just think about yourself, or what you and your partner want to do, or go, or pursue. These tiny little people to a large degree set the course of your day, and night! However no one talks very much about how life changes when those tiny bundles all grow up and start to pursue their own dreams and adventures. We can sometimes see it coming, like when at sixteen, Anna our eldest child got her own passport, and my husband and I looked at one another and said, “well, she’ll be off then”.
It’s so easy to think that those noisy, funny, busy, and sometimes just down right exhausting days when we are busy with our life and all that entails, will last forever. But things do change; we complete our studies, leave home, we work, build careers, travel. Many of us have children and families, and hopefully find our purpose and God’s plan for our lives. Life is not stagnant, and that’s the way it should be. God created each one of us to grow, to change with the times and seasons, to seek Him and His plan and purposes for our life.
Whatever stage at life we are at, whether it’s just at the beginning, in the middle or nearing the end, whenever that may be, God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. But he wants us to enjoy it, to enjoy the people, the places, the birthdays, the dinners together, the busyness and the quiet. It’s all for us to live in, and not just exist through.
To help really live those moments I’ve learnt a few tips to help me “live in” and cherish these times. Here’s just a few:
Write down things – a thought, a memory of the significant times in life, when you or those close to you say or do something you want to remember.
Take photo’s and then do something with them. Print them off, put them up for others to see. (I’m still working on this one)
Keep keepsakes, from those important to you, even if just a few. A special note, card or gift. People aren’t here with us forever and it’s nice to have reminders of them around you.
Have dinner together preferably around the table at least once a week. Ask everyone what the best part of his or her day was. It’s a great way to connect and be a part of one another’s lives.
Schedule both date and family nights regularly. Put them on your calendar and tell your partner and everyone involved in advance, or believe me they will not happen!
Take holidays, and consider new destinations. Life gets busy, but God wants us to live and enjoy it. The world is a brilliant, inspiring place and going to different places as my dad used to say, “makes us interesting and bigger on the inside.”
Try your best to make it to those soccer, football, and netball games of the significant people in your life. Embrace the sequins, dance concerts, music recitals, and school assemblies, productions and graduations – you will survive them all, and it does matter whether we are there or not.
Make time to stop and chat, to pray together, to connect heart to heart and spirit to spirit.
Don’t get too busy that it all becomes a whirlwind. Regularly assess and check your schedule, the state of your relationships, your quality time with Jesus, and ability to function at the pace you are at. Burnout is a real thing, and it’s better to avoid the big hole of exhaustion and burnout before you fall in it. It takes far more effort to climb out of a “hole” than it does to avoid it all together.
Look after yourself. Eat well, exercise, do something that prospers your soul at least once a week. Have some time out to yourself regularly to recharge.
Keep challenging yourself. Do something new, explore, create, extend yourself. It keeps us from getting grumpy, thinking old, and being boring.
Be in a community – people can be both interesting and challenging at times but it’s good for us, and makes us better people. Be involved, share what skills and gifts you have with others, we all have something to offer.
Cultivate your spiritual life. It’s the core of who we are. God has made us to connect and be in relationship with him Nothing else will fill that space in our lives, and people can waste a lot of effort trying to, when God is waiting to fill our hearts from day one. Dig into His word, into seeking Him with your whole heart and mind. It’s the relationship that gives meaning to everything else.
Hug more – we need it even if we think we don’t, and others do too.
Oh, and finally if you have a little one who is waking you up at night, just go with it. Snuggle them close, look down in their little faces and hold onto the moment, because it will pass, and soon you’ll be the one waking them up.
In all the transitions; in both the great moments and the challenging one’s God says He is with us; that He gives us strength and all we need to live this life well.
Today take the time to pray and check where you may need to make some adjustments. How is your relationship with Jesus, or is He out of the picture or relegated to the boundary line? Is your lifestyle balanced, how is your time management with your partner, friends and family?
“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom”. (Psalm 90:12)
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)
Prayer: Lord thank you that you give me wisdom and understanding to live my best life. Help me travel through every season well, and to keep it all in balance so I don’t miss a thing. In Jesus Name Amen.