“Finding Joy in the Present”
By: Katie Sadler
Seven and Three. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said those were my favorite years. The year my children were seven and three was the year of a snaggle-toothed, freckled boy whose laugh was beyond contagious and a pig-tailed giggly girl who thought she could do anything her brother could do. It was a year of new chapters and silly songs. But really…they were just SO stinkin’ cute!
About a month ago, as I stood in the bathroom with my Junior High daughter and my Sophomore Son…I reminisced over seven and three in my head but…
…drank in the young man and young lady standing before me. Seven and three were fun…but truly, every age has been my favorite!
As time moves on and my children are growing and becoming young adults, I am breathing in the newness of it. As I stood in the mirror, I soaked it in. My son, shaving and taming the curls on his head with a handful of gel and my daughter dabbing on lip gloss that just adds a shimmer to her smile that already lights up a room. I take it in. I am intentional to LOVE these ages too. But it wasn’t always like that.
I realized, when my daughter was about 8, that she was fretting over growing up…fretting to the point of tears. I would catch her looking at pictures of the time they were seven and three and longing for those times to be back. You see…I had said so much that those where my favorite years, that she though, in her little mind, that life just can’t get any better than seven and three. It caused her to have regret that she was getting older. I had an eight year old Peter Pan! And frankly, it was my fault!
I knew I had to make a change. I stopped verbalizing that seven and three were my favorite years. I became intentional about telling them how much I loved spending time with them at their age…stressing the “at their age part”. I pointed out what we were doing couldn’t have been accomplished at seven and three. That she couldn’t have climbed that tree, or cooked in the kitchen as well. As I told them how much I enjoyed them, I began to add that I enjoyed them at the ages they are, intentionally. I wanted so badly to show them that I wasn’t living in the past…that I am taking in and breathing deeply of the here and now! It was no longer ok to say “wow that was a good time!” Now, I had to make the distinction that it was a good time and I was enjoying twelve and eight…or whatever age it was. I want them to know that every moment is full of wonder for me.
It’s the same with Life. We seem to wish it away or long for “the glory days” of our youth. Wishing it was Spring, or Summer, or Vacation time. Or wishing we were young again when time was simple. We’re all guilty of it.
“I wish my kids were older/younger.”
“I can’t wait until the extras stop and we can slow down.”
“I wish my kid could drive.”
“I wish they would walk.”
“I’ll be glad when life slows down”
”I can’t wait until Christmas”
“I wish summer was still here” and so on.
The problem with this mentality is that we are missing the JOY in the present. God has put us here and now for a reason. He has ordained our days and he wants to bless us in the season we are in. If we are too busy longing for a different time, we are missing out on what He has intended to be good. That’s not to say every season in life is easy and happy, happy, happy, no! But it IS ordained and the Lord can bring good from what is intended for bad.
Too often our problem is staring us in the mirror. We have our eyes and hearts set on a different landscape, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. And then…when we make it to the other side of the fence…the first side is more appealing. We get stuck in discontentment.
And then, we teach our children.
If we want our home environment to be peaceful and joyful, we have to live in the present. We must breathe in the days at hand and not wish them away…long to have them back. We must teach our children that “THIS is the day the Lord has made… I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!” When life seems too much, too busy, or just not very fun…I ask the Lord to show me how to rejoice in the day. Life is filled with ups and downs, but the Lord can show you joy in the midst of sadness, light when darkness seems to surround us and the beauty when the skies are their gloomiest. We just have to change our focus, our thought patterns and our verbiage.
It won’t be long and our lives will change again. My children will all too soon be twenty-five and twenty-one. I don’t want to miss out on THIS time. I don’t want the memories I hold on to, to be the seven and three years and the rest of their lives be blurred in my memory. I don’t want to miss the beach in the summer and the crisp cold air of the winter because I was looking toward spring or autumn. I want to teach my children to seize the day. Live a life for God to the fullest and love every minute of it.
For over a decade, Katie Sadler has challenged women and their families to make intentional decisions in life. Katie has been a regular contributor for itakejoy.com, and she served as the Founding Director of the TrueLife Homeschool Group, creating an environment for families to love and serve together.
Katie, her husband, and their two children live in Grand Saline, Texas. Join Katie on KatieSadler.com as she makes intentional decisions – in her walk with God and in her time with her family and loved ones.