I was having a rough day yesterday. I woke to my older daughter having an ankle so swollen and painful she couldn't walk from a soccer injury the night before, which necessitated a trip to the doctor for a brace and some crutches. With the schedule thrown off from the doctor's visit, my younger daughter and I struggled through a grueling day of school. When I left to get my haircut at 2 yesterday afternoon, walking out the door by myself was a breath of fresh air.
A friend of mine cuts my hair from the basement of her house. She lives just up the street. I knew my reprieve wasn't going to last long, but I was going to enjoy every minute of it. When I left with my new haircut to pick up my older daughter from school (something I don't usually do, but we decided crutches and the bus would be too difficult), I felt refreshed and encouraged.
You see, a long conversation with my friend reminded me that what I'm dealing with now with my strong-willed younger daughter is not the finished product. Through a couple of stories about her own childhood, my friend reminded me that even those frustrating days are molding character and producing fruit -- even when I can't see it. She reminded me that a 10-year-old's behavior isn't really a prediction of the future.
And I needed that reminder. I needed to remember that God isn't finished with me, and I'm 39. So, He's certainly not finished with my 10- and 12-year-old. What I see now is not necessarily an indicator of who she's going to be when she's 25, 45, or 85.
Sure, what I do now has an influence on who she becomes, but God is going to continue working on my girls' characters long after I'm not the primary influence in their lives any more. It's my job right now to guide them through these moments of becoming adults. It's my job right now to provide advice, correction and encouragement. It's my job right now to help them find the path that will lead them closer to God.
And since my girls are still growing and learning, a bad day or a bad week doesn't mean they're going to grow up to be difficult people. It simply means they're having a bad day or a bad week. Every day is a new beginning -- for them and for me. As I work to mold their character, I find myself being thankful that God gives me a new start every morning -- a new way of looking at things. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). And because they are, every day can be a new beginning with my kids. Every morning is a new opportunity to lead them one step closer to God.
I'm so thankful I got my haircut yesterday, not for the outward renewal (although my hair does look great) but for the inward one.