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There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

We all need reminders of how quickly time passes.  Life gets so busy, especially for moms of small children.  Each day seems to blend into the next, and the next, and the next.  We thought there was time for everything, someday.  But in an instant, it seems like years have passed us by, and we’re left with a lot of vague memories and missed opportunities.

My four little boys are all grown men now: 23 to 17 years old, 6’1” to 6’5”.  One is just emerging from the ever-present throes of adolescence; one has returned after a few years in the work force and is now midway through his college education; one is a college grad and “adulting” across the country and far from home; and the middle one is in the military, bound for the Middle East this summer.  Yet on this Mother’s Day, I ruminated over what had been, not what was.

Did I teach them enough to live on their own?  Do they know they are loved unconditionally?  Did I make the gospel message clear?  Was I real enough, or too real?  Are they responsible young men that make good choices?  Did I read to them enough…cuddle enough…listen enough…do enough?  Or did I do all those things too much?

When they were young, I was young too.  Was I enough?

This just-passed Mother’s Day, at my request, we watched home movies of when they were young.  It was just my husband and I with two of our four boys.  I’m fairly certain they didn’t want to watch, but they did it to please me – as it should be on Mom’s Day.  We watched one whole DVD and we laughed so hard I almost wet my pants!  It brought me so much joy: deep, full, only-a-Mom-will-get-it happiness to watch my little boys again.

To see them play and laugh and wrestle and read and create and sing and tease and fight and love.  Wow…no better feeling this side of heaven I’m thinking.  I went to sleep smiling, just thinking about their sweet childish laughter.

And yet, I woke up this morning full of regret.  I remembered something that an older woman told me  back when my boys were young and rambunctious, and I was so weary and just waiting for the next nap.

“Treasure these times, even when they’re exhausting.  They’ll pass by so fast you won’t even realize it until it’s too late and they’re grown.”

It makes me cry even typing that.  It’s so very, very true.

We as parents get so frustrated that our kids don’t listen to us.  We know what’s best.  We know what will help them and what will hurt them.  Yet they seldom, if ever, listen.  But I did the same exact thing… I don’t even remember if I tried to treasure those times.  And now I only have old home movies to watch…maybe that is the treasure?

So, for parents who still hold those little hands and hear the pleas for just one more hug or one more bedtime story…treasure those moments.  Hold them in your heart, and practically speaking, get those photos and movies off your electronics and get them on something more permanent.  I know that someday you, like me, will want those treasured memories to watch over and over.  You will want to remember how the Lord blessed you with these children that make you feel so weary and yet so loved beyond words.

Father, time passes so quickly here on earth for us humans.  Yet with you there is no time, you are eternal and you have created us as eternal beings.  Help us to keep that eternal perspective and the hope of eternity with You.  But I also ask that you help us to treasure the here and now, the good and the bad, the laughter and the tears.  Because you have made a season for everything…and we want to live in the season we’re in.  Help us to grow in our faith during the rough seasons, entrusting it all to you.  We cherish the growing seasons because each day brings us closer to eternity with you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stacey Ray

Stacey has been married to Rex for 25 years and together they parent four sons ages 17 to 23. Stacey has a passion to help people become the best that they can be and she currently does that as a community college instructor in psychology and human development. Originally from California, Stacey and her family currently make their home in northern Minnesota where they are actively involved in their church’s mission of seeing real people make real change. Stacey’s current favorite quote is: “To be significant, all you have to do is make a difference with others wherever you are, with whatever you have, day by day.” (John Maxwell, “Intentional Living”).

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