Too Fast.

TooFastNo3082614Do you have little children — you know, those charming, unpredictable, exhausting little ones that always lead people to say, “Oh, they grow up so fast. Enjoy these days while you can”?

I remember sweet white-haired ladies and elderly gentlemen saying those sorts of things to me while our six young children and I all marched through grocery stores or poured one-by-one out of the van.

Those comments were so much better than the just-wait-until-they-turn-into-teenagers comments. But I can still remember wondering sometimes if those dear people were remembering how much work it was when their children were little. How could “tomorrow they’ll all be grown up” possibly be true, when there were days I didn’t think the next eight hours would ever end so that I could go to bed?

But it is true, and I’m sitting here with my gray hair and my almost-empty nest, looking at a living reminder of that truth. It’s a tree our son planted. Many years ago he dug up a little seedling under a sprawling black walnut tree on the side of a lane our family often walked. He brought it home, put it in a pot with some soil, and let it grow.

One day, as we ceremoniously buried a family pet, he pushed that tiny little sapling into the soil and encircled it with a piece of fencing  to protect it from stray volleyballs and overzealous lawnmowers.

That must have been a dozen or more years ago.

I could write several posts about the lessons that tree has taught me over the years. But today, as I hauled tomatoes and zucchinis out of the garden and turned on the sprinklers, it reminded me again of how quickly time passes. Wasn’t it just yesterday when that tree was pushed into the soil? Now it’s probably twenty feet tall. It will give us walnuts this year.

TooFastNo2082614

And the boy who planted that tree — he’s grown up, too. He’s running our business. He’s loving his wife and training his children. By God’s grace, he has grown into a God-fearing, hard-working, family-loving man.

Believe those people when they remind you that your children are going to grow up way too fast. Take hold of these days God has given you with them. It’s the only chance you get. Other things can wait until your children are grown and gone, but you won’t get another chance to love and train your children in your home.

Are you making the years count? Are you guiding your children down the path toward mature, godly, all-for-Jesus adulthood? Are you showing them what that looks like in your own life?

Pray along with David, ” So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Then sit down, write up some real plans, and train those precious children before they’re all grown up and gone. 

 

P. S. I didn’t write this post to promote these books, but I should at least offer the reminder that Doorposts has two books designed specifically for helping you purposefully take hold of the years you have with your children. If you’re looking for help, Plants Grown Up for boys and Polished Cornerstones for girls will give you hundreds of practical ideas for training your children in godly living.

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6 Comments

  1. The truth in this brought tears to my eyes… Reminding me to cherish every moment and not waste them on things that will not matter in the end. For as you wrote, it does go so fast.
    Thank you.p for sharing.

  2. I only have two little ones here on earth, but three in heaven. My oldest has some speech problems, and my second was born with rare complex heart defects. Without all of these issues in our life I might have taken their childhoods for granted, but God has blessed us so much through learning how to love our kids every single day for as long has he grants them their next breath to breath. We have truly learned the value of little lives in our home – God can give and take away as he sees fit, but we are so thankful for all we have.

  3. I heard those words many times when my first son was a baby. And now that he is 15, I know. But I am blessed to have six other children, four of them under 6. My oldest now (as he towers over me) is my daily reminder to take time to enjoy them all.
    And, I now tell others about how fast time goes.

  4. Thanks for this encouragement! I love being reminded of this and have been so many times through my journey of motherhood. I am so thankful for those who are a few steps ahead of me that continually remind me to make the most of the time I have with my kids – to treasure them and not let any time be wasted. I can honestly say that up to this point, it is largely due to those reminders that I do not have regrets but so far look back on my time as a mother and am so thankful for all the investment that I’ve been able to make so far. They have all accepted the gift of life and made Jesus their own personal Savior and are all moving forward to live for God and grow in Him. Praise God! Right now my kids are 13, 12, 10, and 7. Keep these reminders coming. I have on my prayer list that I pray over every day that I would treasure the gift my kids are and make the most of the time I have with them. These reminders help me to keep on praying this way.

  5. So true!

    I once heard this quote: “The days are long, but the years are short” for raising children. I always remember that.

    My oldest graduated homeschool last year, and it really did fly by in the blink of an eye, just like some people said it would. My second oldest graduates this year.
    I am happy to say though, that those horrible comments of some people saying “just you wait until they are teenagers” (I could never understand why people love spreading negativity like that!) never did come true by God’s Grace. All those years day in and day out quietly and purposely building up the relationship with them as homeschoolers paid off. I have 3 teenagers right now, including a 15 yo ds with Asperger’s/ADHD and they really are a JOY and not a trial!
    So for those of you whose children are still young, if you are putting in the time and effort you WILL bear fruit with those relationships with your children when they are older, just like Pam said 🙂 It doesn’t always have to be a written down plan (but that does help with some things)…but if you purpose in your heart and give your time and energy to raising them for Christ, you can’t fail.

  6. We have a tree, too! We call it Caleb’s tree, because it came up in the middle of our azalea bed the year my first son was born. It’s almost 18 years old now, and so is he. Both have grown taller and stronger in those years. Both have had the kinks straightened out of them. (The little tree started out with two right-angle bends in its little trunk, caused by its trying to reach the sun from the cover of the big azaleas. Caleb, too, has had to overcome some challenges on his journey to manhood.) And both have grown to bless, shelter, and protect our family in wonderful ways. I am grateful for my son … and for the tree that reminds me of how far we’ve come.