The two older kids started school this week, and Emerald has not been too happy about it. Sure, she gets to rule the TV and watch nothing but Mickey Mouse if she wants, but in her heart I think she would much rather be getting up early, getting dressed in new clothes, and heading out the door to an adventure at school.
For awhile she was in denial that the kids were gone. She was asking if Sawyer was in his room. When I said no, that he was at school, she kept saying, “No! He in he’s room!”
And, tonight when I put her to bed, I was telling her all about what we’re going to do tomorrow, but she just kept saying, “I go to school tomorrow, okay?”
And, I can sort of understand how she feels. Not that I want to go to school tomorrow (please, never again), but I know how it feels to want to do things that I’m really not ready to do. I know how it feels to want to skip steps in a process (especially the difficult ones). I know what it feels like to want to fast forward to the wiser, more discerning, more spiritual version of myself that I pray that I will grow into in the coming years.
But, growing up isn’t an easy business. It isn’t when you’re too little to go to school but too big for a pacifier. Just ask Emerald. The truth is that she has a lot to learn, a lot to deal with and go through before she finally becomes a kindergartner. She has to potty train, to learn all her letters and numbers and colors and shapes. She has to learn how to handle frustration and disappointment without throwing tantrums. She has to learn how to say more words, how to communicate better with people, how to interact socially, and lots of other things. Some of these things will be easy for her to learn, and others will be struggles. Some things will require discipline. And, in all of these things, she is depending on me, her daddy, and her brother and sister to help her grow and learn.
I feel every growing pain along with her, just like I do with Sawyer and Adelade. And, I want nothing more than to see all of them grow, even when it hurts a little bit.
Meanwhile, I’m going through similar growing pains. I may know my letters and numbers, but I struggle to know when to speak and when to stay quiet. I wonder what is the best way to love people. I can’t ever seem to get my thoughts in the proper order. I constantly fight my own pride. I love the applause of the world too much. And, with each mistake, with each painful misstep and every wrong motive and all of the ways that I don’t trust Him with my life, He gently leads me forward, wanting to see me grow.
I know He is working. It isn’t always pleasant to be a work in progress. And, there is no fast forwarding through the tough parts.
God is a father. And, in some ways, He is like a Mama who feels every growing pain in her children. He loves us enough to keep working at it because He wants to see us grow.
And, He is no stranger to pain.
So, when we feel the wringing out of our faith, when we are squeezed and prodded and torn down and rebuilt, when we are taking one tiny baby step after another, we can trust that God is making us more like Him. However slow and painful the process, the God who sacrificed everything for love and mercy and forgiveness is sticking with us, is using us, and is teaching us more about His promises each and every day.
So, I say this to you, to myself, and to Emerald Darling, my youngest and wildest: hang in there, baby. Growing is slow. But, it’s worth it.