Looking Ahead

I turn 37 today. I woke up this morning and realized I'm quickly approaching the age that I used to think was ancient. As my youngest daughter so politely informed me yesterday, I'm well on my way to reaching 100. (Aren't kids great for your ego?)

I've been a parent for 10 years. My oldest now has fewer years to spend in our house than she has already spent with us. In 10 more years, I'll be 47, and my kids will both have reached the age of 18. I can't believe we're almost halfway to having grown kids.

Just 10 years ago, I was turning 27, and I had a 3-week-old baby. We were just beginning to feel our way through this parenthood journey. Now, I sit here, the mom of a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old.

Ten years ago my parenting decisions revolved around diapers, bottles and sleep. Today, they revolve around teaching good decision making and holding little hands and hearts as they take steps toward independence.

As fast as the time has flown, I wouldn't want to turn back the clock. Oh, I'd like to have my 27-year-old body back. And I miss watching my little ones explore the world. The joy of watching my girls take their first steps and say their first words has been replaced by watching them score their first goals and ace their spelling tests (sometimes).

As I contemplate the next 10 years of my life, I have no idea what God has in store for us, but as I count the blessings of the past 10, I know that His plans are good and the results are great. Oh, the past 10 years have held some big heartaches, and I know the next 10 hold their own challenges. But the past 10 years have held immeasurable amounts of joy. I'm counting on the same for the next 10 because God's plans are good. They are always in our favor.

A long time ago when I was teenager, I picked out a verse that I declared was my "life verse." It's Jeremiah 29:11 where God tells the Israelites, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." The truth of this verse has followed me through some wonderful moments and held me up through some really tough ones.

I know the truth in this verse will follow me through the next years of my life as well. No matter what the circumstances of life throw in my path in the future, I know that God loves me, and He is not out to harm me. His plans are perfect, and they are always for my good, not my harm.

As I embark today on another year of this parenthood journey, I'm going rely on God's gracious promise that His plans for me are good. And, I'm going to teach my kids that even when we encounter heartache and pain, God is planning good things for us. He is offering us joy beyond our wildest imaginings.

Won't you walk into the future holding onto that same promise? And teach your kids the same? Because God is good, and He promises the future holds great things.