Today is a milestone day in our house. Ty moves into a bed and out of his crib. He is pretty excited about it. There are some benefits of this new arrangement, like being able to lay down beside him to get him back to sleep at night and not having to lean over the rails to put him in bed. Not to mention, when we say go back to bed; he can easily do so on his own. As I rocked Ty to sleep for his nap today, I have to admit that I was saddened as I stared at his bed. The fact that my little boy is growing up was glaring me in the face. I don’t want my son to be a baby or little his whole life, but I don’t know if I am ready for this yet. It hurts my heart a little. Then when I think that he is half way to kindergarten, panic ensues.
There are some real challenges associated with raising little children, especially those that hate sleep like Ty does. But I don’t want to waste a second wishing his life away. I want to be present right here and now. I love this season of life, challenges and all. But how can we make the most of these times and still prepare for what is next? Let’s face it, better parents than me have tried to keep their kids babies their whole life which only resulted in a mature bodied adult with infant like emotional and personality maturity. This is not healthy and not at all what I want.
The Apostle Peter gave some interesting advice for both parenting infants and spiritual infants. “Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation (1 Peter 2:2).” First let’s look at the physical implications and then the spiritual. Babies need milk to survive, grow, and develop strength. Our infant baby girl is a milk guzzling piglet. She is taking all the milk she can get and her growth is off the charts while her double chin (maybe triple chin), cheeks, and inner thighs testify of the richness of the milk. You never reach a point in life where milk is not allowed, but you do reach a point where you can handle a greater variety of food that are more difficult to chew and harder to digest than milk. Milk has everything a baby needs in it, but adults need more than milk. Ty is on pace to still be drinking milk from a bottle at 30 (you think I’m kidding but the boy refuses all other forms of milk transportation. Bottle only). But it would be ridiculous for him to be drinking milk from a bottle in high school, college, or further. Maturing and developing are essentials to life so make the most of every day you have.
Now the spiritual side of this is not much different. I am afraid that way to many Christians have missed out on this point of Scripture. We have way to many old, infant Christians. They were saved at some point but are not pursuing spiritual maturity. They can only handle milk. Peter said to long for the milk, but that was not a command to stay there. First milk and then meat. The writer of Hebrews wrote this nugget, “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Hebrews 5:12.” It is ok to start with milk, but after some time you ought to be digesting harder truths that make you stronger and more sure of whom you belong to and for what purpose. Spiritual maturity is directly tied to you obeying God’s word, deepening your understanding and relationship with Him, as well as living it out before others. Christian maturity is so important because without it the next generation has no one to follow.
I know Ty and Claire won’t be babies forever. I do look forward to see what kind of man and woman they will become. I sure hope they are better at living out there faith than I am. But I am so thankful for this time right now. They are growing and maturing daily, and I don’t want to miss a second. Even if it means less sleep, always having toys every where, dirty diapers, spit up on my shirt, lost socks, and them being scared at night. They are precious in my sight, just as I am precious in my Heavenly Fathers sight.
How have you navigated the different milestones of raising children? What areas do you need to be pursuing solid food of God’s word? I would love to hear from you. Grace and peace to you as you go from crib to bed, training wheels to car tires, or a full house to an empty nest. Don’t be crushed by the milestone, celebrate it!