Over the past few weeks, we have experienced a couple of milestones in our home. I finally reached the top of the hill and celebrated my 40th Birthday. Our daughter, turned 11 exactly 4 days later and entered the world of middle school 2 days after that. For both of us, these were milestones that became intimidating and stressful in one form or another. For me, it was the realization of the possibility that I have lived more years than I might have left to live. It was amazing how my reflection of many decisions, failures or accomplishments that I had made in my past came back to mind in a matter of 24 hours in turning 40. With a new morning came a fresh reminder of the responsibilities that laid on my shoulders and how they didn’t just affect me but also others in my life. Remembering the past 40 and looking ahead to the next 40 brought thoughts of good, bad, stress, worry and so on. With those thoughts came somewhat of a challenge to myself to learn from my past and try to be a better steward of the remaining years that God allows me. A good reminder to me is the wisdom provided to us in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your Heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
For my daughter, the realization of growing another year older wasn’t so much about the age she was turning but what life would bring her way with a whole new schedule and set of responsibilities in Middle School. She had completed elementary school and would be leaving her smaller K-5th grade school. She was stepping into a larger 6th-12th grade school with a whole new day to day routine and set of responsibilities. Her day would no longer consist of one or two classrooms but she would be in 8 or more. She would have to learn how to juggle going from class to class, switching books at her locker, much more homework every night, many more test and quizzes and all the other new responsibilities that Middle School would bring. Not to mention Latin!
As she was going to bed the other night and we were having one of our end of the day talks the stress and anxiety of all these new responsibilities weighed heavy on her to where she was in tears over trying to adjust to it all. At that very moment, the thought occurred to me that we were in the same place but at different stages of our life. The opportunity arose for me to share with her how life can be so tough as we try to manage things on our own. The experiences that I have had in my life over the years and even now in my day to day was an opportunity to point my daughter to the One who is with us through all of it, every day, every second, and even the time in between. We read in Psalm 121:3b “He who keeps you will not slumber.” We talked about how it is our human nature to often try to handle things on our own both physically and mentally. As we grow weary or become stressed or anxious we must remember that our Lord is there to carry us through it all. In 1 Peter 5:7 we are reminded, “Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” We talked about the very fact that we grow tired, become anxious and need sleep is a reminder to us that we are human, and He is God our creator. As we prayed together and my daughter went to bed that night I thanked the Lord for the stressful times in our lives that remind us of how we need Him every second of every day. I thanked Him for the reminder of the things I have gone through in my past and will go through in the future can be used to teach our younger generation to trust in Him with all our heart. To teach them not to always lean on their own understanding. To teach them to acknowledge God their creator in all things and that He will order their steps.