Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Pumpkin Girl!

Today is my daughter's 9th birthday!

It is almost impossible for me to think that this little baby that I held in my arms is now 9.

Where have the years gone?

My wife once remarked to me that in parenting "the days are long but the years are short." Truer words were never spoken.

Being a parent is tough. You care for your children. You would give your life for them - and you do a little day by day. You encourage them to grow and to find their way in their life and yet are reluctant to let them go. You love them beyond the ability to express and yet they can make you madder than anyone else can. These polar extremes of emotions swirl and co-exist and it is beyond your ability to understand or control.

And, God willing, in the end there is love. No matter how bad it went, when the day is done and prayers are said, after everyone is in bed, you go back to check on them and linger a moment longer to see them sleeping.

I know that these children are not really mine - they really belong to God. God has just lent them to me to love and care for until they are ready to achieve God's plan. And yet through parenting, I have learned so much more about God and how much He loves us. As much as I love my children - God loves them even more.

Despite my sins and shortcomings, as much as I make God mad with my disobedience, He lingers in the doorway watching me sleep and praying for me.

Because, in the end, He loves me.

And He loves you.

Pumpkin Girl has taught me more than I have taught her. Everyday, I better understand the passage from 1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

We live in a material world. Stuff is all around us but in the end it is all meaningless. The one thing that our children cannot do without is their parent's love. And it is the irony that by giving love, we gain back more than we could have imagined.

That is what I have learned from my children and I am so grateful.

Happy Birthday Pumpkin Girl!

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