My oldest daughter turns 11 on Friday. Recently, I looked through her baby book and wondered how this little, helpless, bald baby had turned into this 5-foot-tall, beautiful young lady. As I flipped through the pages of her baby book, I thought about how different life is today from what it was when she was first born. She no longer needs me to feed her and dress her. She no longer needs me to carry her from place to place. She doesn't need my constant attention. She can tie her own shoes and brush her own teeth. There are days when I see very little of her between school and soccer. She's brave and sometimes wise. She is "growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
But even as she grows, I've discovered there are some things that kids need -- whether they're babies or grown-ups. Things that only parents can provide. God created you to be the physical provider of all the things that He represents. No matter the age of your child, remember that your kids need to know:
You love them -- no matter what.
You're always going to be there when they need you.
You believe in them.
You pray for them.
You will let them suffer the consequences for poor decisions.
You will offer advice when they need it.
You will laugh with them.
You will cry with them.
You will cheer their achievements and help pick up the pieces when they fail.
You will spend time with them.
You will teach them about God.
You will never, ever give up on them.
As our kids get older, it's easy to believe that they don't need us as much. But our kids will always need us to be their biggest champions, their biggest prayer warriors and their biggest safety net. They will always need to know there's a place they can go where they will always be welcome and always be loved.
Our kids will frustrate us. They will make us angry. They will also make us laugh until we cry and cry until there are no tears left. They will drive us to our knees in prayer and have us raising our arms in celebration and praise. But they will always need us.