It seems as if my child-raising years passed so quickly that I hardly remember them.
Our first three sons were born within three years while we lived in Hong Kong where my husband was a pastor and we engaged in mission work. Seven years later while back in America in busy ministry among internationals on campuses, our fourth son was born. Suddenly, or so it seems, some of our sons were married and grandchildren came on the scene. I found that I had more leisure time to be involved with that new generation than I had with my own children. As they say, we can enjoy the grandchildren, even spoil them, and then we have the privilege of sending them back home to their parents.
But not always. Due to changing family circumstances, grandparents sometimes find that they are involved in child care again. Most of my ten grandchildren lived at a distance so that was not the case. But one, my grandson Jeffrey, because of his proximity and the need of his family, he partially lived with me during his pre-school years, and at intervals during early elementary school years. I had the delightful opportunity to literally watch him grow up before my very eyes. Unfortunately, that is something I can hardly remember with my own children; they grew up so quickly that I hardly noticed in my active ministry years.
The basement door became a tradition with Jeffrey. The youngster often wanted his height measured to see how fast he was growing. The marks on that door all have dates beside them. Before I could blink, as it were, the pre-schooler became a pre-teen and now at nearly 14 I already have to look up at him!
I am so proud to see him mature. How sad I would be if his growth and knowledge and mind and ability had remained infantile and stunted. Among the changes in Jeffrey, he has grown in stature and muscle; his child-voice has deepened; his interests have broadened; his understanding has keenly increased; his knowledge of the world has expanded; his abilities, skills, and talents are developing; his relationships have widened; and his spiritual insights are heightening. His appearance is that of a young man.
I am reminded of Saint Luke's comments about the young, growing Jesus. “And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:40, 52).
I wonder if Jesus' Mother Mary had a wooden door in their home in Nazareth that had growth marks on it. Or whether Grandmother Anne was as captivated as I am when she watched her grandson Jesus mature and take responsibility beside His foster father in the “Joseph and Son” carpenter shop.
I wonder whether my Heavenly Father is pleased with my growth in spiritual maturity, insight and understanding of His will, and obedience to His guidance in these advanced years of my life. In contrast, I have lost some spiritual stature with the aging of my spine, and my formerly clear voice now often gives an uncertain sound, and my relationships have somewhat narrowed with the years and my constricted circumstances.
Have I kept my interests sharply focused on eternal things and my Christian worldview intact so that no matter what happens in life I trust in God? Have I continued to be a good steward of the abilities, experiences, and opportunities God continues to give me while the grace of God is still upon me? Do I keep increasing in spiritual wisdom and in the discerning dispensing of it to people in this generation in which God has chosen to let me live?
Advanced calendar age isn't an excuse for static growth. I wonder if God has a door somewhere in a Dwelling Place in heaven which he is preparing for me with a recording angel assigned to write my growth marks on it.