She's eighteen. One of life's milestones has been reached. We celebrated our daughter, Riley's, birthday yesterday. In spite of a heavenly deluge of rain, our spirits refused to be dampened. My husband and I picked up lunch and headed over to her school. We enjoyed spending the lunch-hour together, savoring our food and talking about the plans for the evening.
The birthday parties at McDonalds from days gone by have been traded in for dinners at 'real' restaurants with waiters and waitresses. The frosting covered cake exchanged for an Edible Arrangement. These days, yummy, calorie-laden desserts take a back seat to healthy choices. No doubt about it, our girl is growing up.
A bittersweet time. Wanting to cling to the little girl of the past, yet eager to see how our faithful God will use the beautiful young lady of the present. Our role as parents is changing. Our 'arrow' has been honed and shaped and is snugly fit into the bow, awaiting the moment when she will be launched forth toward the bulls-eye.
A thousand questions fill our minds. Is she ready for the responsibility that adulthood brings? Did we place enough emphasis on seeking God's direction for her life? Will she be prepared for the challenges that she will face? Will she stay anchored to her Lord in spite of life's inevitable storms?
Were we the perfect parents? Of course not. We made our fair share of mistakes. But I am encouraged by the promise of God's Word. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). Our God is faithful! Where we fell short, He is able to go the distance.
Ultimately, our children are a gift from God. He entrusts us with their care for a brief period of time. We are privileged to train them with His help, and once again release them to fulfill His purpose. The majority of them will one day marry. Marriage is an institution of God. The book of Genesis records His stamp of approval on this institution, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). In the vast majority of cases, marriages are blessed with children and the process begins all over again.
Although the future holds many unanswered questions, I'm grateful to know the God who holds the future! Although our daughter will be leaving for college in the fall, I'm eager to see how God will continue to mold and shape her as she submits to His will.
Over the coming years, our relationship will shift from one of primarily guidance and direction to one of friendship. Change isn't always easy, but it is necessary in order for us to become who God created us to be. We can cling to a Savior who never changes, with the assurance that His goal is for us to become more and more like Him on this journey called life!
*A special thanks to all who entered the giveaway! Drum roll please! And the winners are:
First Place: Cheri Bunch from over at Seven Branches wins a copy of Julie Ferwerda's, One Million Arrows
Runner Up: Dorothy Adamek from over at Ink Dots wins a beautiful, hand-crafted, paper bead necklace from Uganda
A hearty congratulations, ladies!! I'll be sending your gifts out shortly!!