“I’m not going to open it until my twenty-first birthday.” She smiled.
It got me to thinking, as a mom, if I could go back in time, what words of wisdom would I want myself to know? What encouragement would I want to impart? It didn’t take long to figure it out. The message I’d want to leave? The answer came pretty easy for me:
Don’t despise the days of small beginnings.
I was blessed with four children. At the height of diapers and Desitin, I remember quite a few years of being overwhelmed. As a new mom I underestimated the gargantuan life change a baby brings. I thought a child was a pretty accessory to the life I was already living—a tiny dimpled mom-bling to make my life whole.
One morning, I recall how the odiferous scent of spit-up and sweet potatoes permeated the air—the organic body spray of motherhood…I slumped down at my kitchen table exhausted and placed my face in my hands.
I remember thinking, Really Lord, is this my lot in life? Teaching children to put away their toys a million times a day? Disciplining them hourly when they don’t share? Reminding them over and over to say kind words? Wiping tiny bums and tinier noses—seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day? Really? Lord, didn’t you have something bigger and well, maybe more important for me to be doing with my life?
Don’t despise the days of small beginnings. Was the whispered words to my heart.
It’s been many years since that day. Many of my children are pretty much grown now. My twenty one year old daughter is graduated from college and on her own. My eighteen year old son is going to college full time and working a job 40hrs a week. My fourteen year old daughter serves in the children’s ministry and my almost twelve year old son is watching all of this with wide eyes, ready to jump into life as soon as we give him the green light. Each child on a different path, each one of them with years of small beginnings under their belt. Little things that I played a big part in teaching them.
Here’s a few small things you may not realize become very big things:
Teach your child to pick up their toys –and—you raise a responsible adult.
Teach your child to share –and–you raise kind adults.
Teach your child to choose their words carefully –and–you raise encouraging adults.
Teach your child to serve—and–you raise adults who serve.
Teach your child patience—and–you raise adults who know peace.
Teach your child about heartache—and–you raise adults to have joy in any storm.
Teach your child not to fear—and–you raise adults to face any adventure life brings.
Teach your child to appreciate differences—and–you raise adults who respect all people.
Teach your child to be happy with little—and–you raise adults who are content.
Teach your child to know how much you love God—and–you raise adults who may desire to know God, too.
My children are not perfect and neither is their mom, but I could write pages and pages about the ways I’m proud of each one of them. I could share special moments when they responded to a life situation in courageous ways and with kind words. I would love to bore you with the million ways I see God working in each of their lives. But, the point of my words today are not to do that, but to encourage any mom who might be wearing the same spit-up stained sweatshirt and wondering what on earth she signed up for.
My words to you today are God’s words for you today. For who has despised the day of small things?
Be strong and courageous mom, you are at the beginning of a great and mighty journey. No matter what small thing you think you are doing, no matter what itty bitty something you do for the umpteenth time overwhelms you, stand strong and remember—small beginnings are first steps in your child’s life, the foundation for the big things God has for your adult child one day.