There are moments in our lives where we look back and see how much life changed. This past week we celebrated the arrival of our firstborn. The advent of a child into the home is a dramatic change that transforms everything. Forever.

It begins with the sleepless nights, helping them figure out the difference between night and day is a huge life lesson. And then you have to clean them up and eventually teach them to take care of themselves as independent adults. It’s quite the process. It takes a lot of energy and wisdom and grace and prayer. There are days of amazing joy and deep struggle that go along with that process.

Their first day is school is painful (well, for mom it was). Sending them out alone behind the wheel of a car leaves you with a sickening feeling. There are many milestones marking the progress toward independence. But when independence arrives, life just gets harder. It requires even more prayer.

And then after all of that, they leave and you can’t downsize the house. I mean, what are we going to so with all the trinkets of their childhood? So I’m adjusting to living with a cluttered garage (like it has been since the day that first one arrived all those decades ago). It’s really not their fault I don’t think. Well, some of it.

There is nothing new in my experience. Some of you are just starting out. Others are much farther along the path than I may ever be. Such is life. We can help each other and give each other hope and wisdom along the way. We can encourage each other to cling to Christ and enjoy each phase. Please, enjoy each phase and each day. Each day is hard, but they all lead us to a greater dependence on Jesus. And that’s sort of the point. Right?

With some perspective, I have arrived at the place where those were years of raising children are ones I now cherish. Yes, today is easier in many ways. I’m just exhausted from living through the day right now, not raising children. But I still have to cling to God to enjoy the day by His grace. So though the challenges may be different than they used to be, the way to godliness has not changed. I just have to trust Him more than ever with the children. For some reason, they still don’t want to do what I say all the time. They never did, but I had a bit more control back then.

I wonder how much of what I endure is what God endures — with me. He is my Father, but I have the freedom to choose. And those choices often lead me down a path that dishonors Him. It must break His heart. Now, let me be clear, my kids have not broken my heart, but they do chart their own path these days. So I pray. A lot.

With an empty house, life isn’t easier, it is just different. I still must cling to God. I still disappoint Him. I still need His grace. Life changed way back then. But as life changed, some things remained the same.

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