Embracing the Present with the Future in Mind

Today finds me drinking my over important coffee in my favorite chair, feeling a dull ache as I think about the changing seasons. I am acutely aware that as Spring is trying its best to unsuccessfully overtake Winter, John and I are leaving a season of parenting behind.

Not to be over dramatic, but our oldest, Josiah, is no longer tucked tightly in our nest and has begun peering over the side at the world that he will soon be a part of. We’re now at the beginning stages of talking about college and real life decisions. Decisions that will take him away from our home and thrust him into adulthood. We aren’t leaving that season completely because Drew is only nine and Makayla and Tyler are in between, but we are leaving that season behind WITH HIM. He is turning sixteen in March. My mama heart is filled with anticipation and a tinge of sadness – excitement at who he is becoming and sadness that the little red-haired boy is no longer.

The other day, as I was riding with him in the car, he pulled onto a busy on ramp to merge into quickly moving traffic. My heart was racing faster than the cars speeding by and I was on high alert trying to make sure we would make it out of the ordeal that is the On Ramp. Suddenly he simply stated, “This feels like my life right now.” Perplexed, I didn’t say anything – mainly because on on ramps, I only use my voice to do short little scream bursts interspersed with “Watch out!” Not helpful, I know, but I am just preparing him for marriage. He continued, “The big world is racing and I’ve got to figure out how to jump in, but I’m going at a slower pace because I am just learning.” Did my kid just say that? I distinctly remember feeling that way with each new season. I still do. And with that, I pulled my own analogy. Being on an on ramp is scary with a teen driver whether it is an actual on ramp, or the on ramp to life.

I looked at my man child and thought, “Kid, you can do it. You are ready.” We still have two years of actively investing every day, but the car ride conversations are coming to a close. In fact, there are four more Wednesday rides to church early, and then those precious weekly 20 minutes alone with him will be gone – just like that. But who is counting? The late night pick-ups won’t be necessary. The rides to work will be non-existent as he enters the on-ramp towards adulthood. We have been praying for this. This is what we have been working towards. We have been investing. This is our job.

I have been thinking about how every season is a preparation for the next. I mentioned that to him and he said, “Yeah, that’s what my mentor said. He said I need to be investing today in the things I know God has called me to do so that I am ready for the next season.” Such wisdom from a young mentor. I thank God for a guy like that in Josiah’s life.

And friends, that is good advice for the rest of us. We need to be investing now for the next season. If you are a mom, or a parent for that matter, you are investing and planting every single day. You may not even realize it, but those books you read, those dinners you make, those diapers you change, the prayers you pray, those L O N G stories you listen to, those days that can seem like they are filled with only the mundane – they matter. The time you take to spend with your spouse and focus just on them – it matters. The times you open up your home to others and share your life with them – it matters. The time you take investing in friendships that make you a better person – that matters. The time you spend to hear what God is saying over the clamor of the voices around you – it matters. The time you take to step our of your own comfort to comfort one in need – it matters. The time you take to step out of your own life and invest in the life of another – it matters. Every single day matters because the days are what make up our lives.

Instead of wishing our time away in the crazy of one season, we need to realize we are investing in the next. The choices we make today determine our tomorrow and help shape another’s tomorrow. We have been challenged to look at our lives and weed out those things that really don’t matter. Some things are good things, but they are for later. When the kids were small, I felt like I would be a mom of littles forever, but I can see now that is not the case. In that season, it felt long at times but I can see that it was indeed short. Embracing the season we are in helps us to invest in what is truly important. Life is usually not made up of big impactful moments but small, everyday choices. Let’s invest our lives in what is important. What we do matters. Our everyday choices matter. Our days matter. Our lives matter.

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