Are You Sure You're 14, not 4?

Ephesians 5:16a Make the most of every opportunity

The realization hit me like a wall of bricks. Hannah (14) and Hayleigh (11) only have a few more days left in middle school and elementary school respectively. This thought burdens my heart and leaves it feeling heavy, as if it has been cemented by the mason's tool itself. High school. Middle school. This sounds so final like the end of my parenting career has attached itself to the wheel of a racecar and will approach at that speed.

When I turn to today's passage, John 6:1-22, I find two familiar stories. The first, in Verses 1-15, recounts how Jesus miraculously multiplied just five small loaves and two tiny fish into a banquet that satisfied the 5,000 men who had gathered to hear Jesus speak. The second, related in Verses 16-21, describes Jesus' journey across the surface of the water to meet up with his disciples in their boat. What do these seemingly unrelated stories have in common? They are both lessons to me concerning this season of parenting.

1) A Change of Perspective - In the first event, Jesus miraculously increases the available food to satisfy thousands of people. While I don't anticipate God slowing down the hands of time and inexplicably giving me more to rear my children, I do know that if I co-parent with Him, He will help me make the most of the time I have left. I am tempted to think in small terms such as I have one school left with Hannah or seven years left Hayleigh. Instead, I need to number each day, over 1,500 or 2,200 more respectively, and make every one count. That is thousands of days to teach them God's Word, reinforce our family's values and just enjoy the pleasure of their company.

2) A Change of Expectation - There is no doubt in my mind that when Jesus' disciples set out in their boat, they had no thought that Jesus would come strolling up on the lake's topside to greet them. Even then, they were likely more focused on rowing the boat amongst rising waves, then welcoming their Master into it. Many parents enter the teen years with dread and trepidation and focus their attention on their immediate perceived problems. I can, however, choose to expect something different. While I am under no illusion of a stress-free finish to my parenting, I can opt for anticipating Jesus to show up under every circumstance, in every situation and at all times. The more I am actively looking for Him, the greater chance my kids will see Him at work in our family, their schools and their friendships.

Jesus, change my perspective to focus on the abundance of days you've given me rather than the fleeting nature of them. Help redeem my day by focusing on teaching, training and loving my kids today. Change my expectation so I will look forward to Your incredible guidance and work in our lives today. I thank you for every single day you've blessed me with thusfar to be called Mom. Thank you for the thousands more that remain, each one ready to be "made the most of".

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