Friday, June 8, 2012

Goodbye Childhood!

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways." (1 Corinthians 13:11, GW)

Today is the last day of elementary school in our family...  forever.  Our youngest little sprite (pictured above) who struggles with severe allergies, ADHD, SPD and social deficits is really struggling with this milestone.  She doesn't want to grow up.  Here heart is sad at the thought of leaving behind fun things like first grade buddies, field day, fine arts night and the fourth grade wax museum.  She is swallowing tears as she ponders the thought of no longer seeing familiar people she loves like the speech therapist who greets every kid at her school in the morning, the janitor who was baptized at the same time she was, and her favorite, silly second grade teacher.  It's comfortable to stay in the delights of childhood.

I can't blame Sophie for how she feels.  I often want to remain in the comfort and self-gratification of childhood.  Even so, growing means leaving behind those impulsive, self-serving ways.  It means saying "no" to what I want, instead exercising self-discipline and self-control.  It means not always giving voice to the first thought that comes to mind.  It means being diplomatic rather than selfish.

As the worn-out parent of children with special needs, it can be too easy to remain in my childish ways.  I often feel indignant.  "Not fair!" is too frequently where I am stuck.  It takes every ounce of me to sometimes refrain from lashing out at doctors or teachers or insurance companies, telling them what I really think of them.  Somehow, I delude myself with the notion that because I carry some difficulties on my shoulders, I am entitled to have the world compensate me with every delight and pleasure.  How extremely immature!

God is most glorified when I put those aspects of childhood behind me!  Thinking with discernment and not shooting from the hip is what catches the attention of others because it is so rare.  Treating others with grace and mercy makes a self-centered world notice something "pleasantly peculiar" in me.  Working things out with medical professionals and school staff rather than repeatedly blowing my stack becomes a living testimony of who God is and what He does.

As we spend the warm summer months barefoot in the grass, blowing bubbles, licking popsicles and burying one another at the beach, I hope to make this transition easier for my precious daughter.  I want her to know the joys of leaving the bad parts of childhood behind, while treasuring the sweet parts of youth forever.  I want her to look forward to that "something better" God holds out ahead for her.

PRAY:  Oh, Jesus, it is so hard to leave childish ways behind us.  And yet you tell us that unless we become like a little child, we cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.  Help us to maintain that innocent trust while we put behind us the self-destructive parts of immaturity.

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