Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’m Growing Down

I’m Growing Down

Recently my granddaughter completed kindergarten. Although she should have been happy and excited about entering first grade in the fall, she went around the house with a very sad look on her face. Instead of celebrating the end of the school with her friends she proclaimed, “I want to stay in kindergarten!” Needless to say this took me by surprise but Tori refused to explain to me what she meant by that statement.

One night after reading a story together and saying our prayers I again brought up the subject of her going into first grade. Aren’t you excited about going into first grade in the fall?” “No, nanny, I’m not. I want to stay in kindergarten for the rest of my life.” Now this was not exactly what I expected to hear. My son and daughter were glad to be “one of the big kids” so they could be one of the “old” timers at school—the envy of the little kids in kindergarten.

After recovering from the shock of Tori’s remarks I attempted to explain to her that we all “graduate” from one stage in life to another. I went to tell her how each stage is built upon the last stage to help us grow. Imagine my shock when she looked at me with tears running down her face and said, “Nanny, I know that but growing up is so scary.” I hugged her to me and brushed the tears from her eyes and sighed. She was right—growing up is scary—and I was at a total loss for words of comfort until I had an idea (a brilliant idea for me, I thought).

“Listen, Honey,” I gently began. “I know growing up is hard but I am growing older too and it is scary for me. Wow! This is brilliant, I thought to myself. So I continued, “You know growing up can be fun. Just think, Sweetheart, you are going to learn how to do so many new things, meet new friends and have so much fun. But I’m growing older and won’t be able to do as many things as I once did. That is what makes growing older scary for me.”

After I had finished explaining this to her, I congratulated myself on my wonderful wisdom. I sat back, kissed her cheek gently, and asked her if she understood what I was saying. With solemn eyes she replied, “Yeah, I think so.” Then her eyes widened with understanding and a smile crossed her face. “I understand now Nanny,” she exclaimed with a leap into my arms. “I’m growing up and you’re growing down. Wow! Out of the mouth of babes! I had not thought of it quite that way but she was absolutely right. I used to be able to mow my yard, clean my house completely and still p0ractice baseball with the kids. Now if I can make sure the house is clean enough not to condemned by the health officials I congratulate myself on making it through another week.

This sobering conversation with Tori caused me to reflect on my life. I was reminded of the challenges I have faced in my life. Some of these challenges left me feeling overwhelmed and confused about the meaning of my life. I never doubted God’s love for me but I did have doubts about my ability. I realized that these challenges made me stronger and wiser. I would not be the person I am today without these experiences. I realized that God has not let me down but instead had held me up during these trying times.

I might be “growing down” in the physical realm, but I know that God is “growing me up” with His love and grace. He is always with me each day to give me the wisdom and strength I need to fulfill His purpose in my life.

As I thought back on my life span, I began to realize that we should not just grow “down” in age but we should always strive to grow up also. To grow up in the Lord is something we should all do whether we are young or old. I hope that I am able to help Tori grow in her relationship with God and always look to Him for her strength.

Yes, Tori, growing up can be scary but with God holding our hands, there is nothing we cannot do. I want you remember that God will grow us to be the people He intends for us to be if we only believe that everything is possible with Him and He promises us a life that is eternal and abundant.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect, the mature body of Him who is the that is Christ.

Ephesians 4:15, 16

But grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18

Today’s Whisper: Journal about ways you can mature in the Lord.  What does maturing in the Lord mean to you:? Does maturing in the Lord automatically come with age or does it take effort on our part:?

Today's Prayer: Father, help me to grow in wisdom and knowledge of you. Hold my hands and help me as I go through each day. I depend on you and your word. I know that you love me and are always there for me. Help Tori as she grows up to always follow you so she can always know you are there for her in the stages of growing—both physically and spiritually.

*Since writing this, the little girl in the story is now entering college and I have seen three others children through kindergarten.  Through it all they continue to grow up and I continue to grow down.  But I do know that God will help them to grow up and me to grow up in Him.