3 Keys to Enjoying the Early Years

by Aug 4, 2019

3 Keys to Enjoying the Early Years

by Aug 4, 2019

As a parent to 3 little children all ages 4 and under I have found myself longing for quieter nights. I’ve found myself reminiscing about the times when I did not have to worry about cleaning up messes that were not my own and times when I could come home and get some peace. If you are a parent of little children you know the struggle. Your once elaborate date night turns into quick five minute conversations in the car while the kids are napping. It goes from dinner for two at your favorite Italian restaurant to samples at Costco on a Sunday afternoon. So what do we do when as parents we find ourselves longing for ‘better days’? There are three things we can do. The first thing we can do is to be content. Throughout the Bible there are reminders that God’s people are to be “content.” Listen to Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Now the bases for Paul’s contentment is not what he has, but it is based upon a promise. The promise is that God will never leave or forsake his people. Rather than longing for a time when your kids will be older and independent you are to trust that God is with you and he will never forsake you. So face these early years with the knowledge that God is with you as you struggle with a lack of sleep and patience. God is with you. The second thing we can do is remember that time is passing quickly. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”. This season of life where you’re barely keeping your head above water is just that, a season. It will come and it will go. It will be here today and tomorrow it will be gone. Just like that. So while your children are clingy now one day they will not be. So rather than longing for better days make the most out of the days that you do have. Instead of thinking about what could be if your children knew how to put themselves to bed, or clean, or feed themselves take the time you do have to love them. Take the time while your children to care for them and bless them. Savor the times you have with them because it will not last forever. The third thing we can do is seize the opportunity. Dane Ortlund says this, “Your kids’ first intuition about who God is will come from the way you treat them.” To our children we are the most important adults in their lives. During the early years of your children’s lives they are absolutely dependent upon you. They need you for everything. They look to their parents. While that can be tiring it is also a beautiful opportunity for us to show them how Jesus loved us. We can take the early years of our child’s lives to show them how God cared more about loving his children than he did about his own comfort. God cared so much that he was willing to send Jesus to die for his sinful and selfish children. My fear is that in longing for better times we’ll squander this opportunity. Rather than be pictures of God’s love for his children we might instead communicate that God is the type of father who loves what his children will be and not what they are. However, from the Bible it’s clear that God showed love to his people “while we were still sinners.” He does not wait for us to change before he loves us. He does not wait for us to be glorified before he enjoys our presence. God loves us in our messiness. He loves us in our impatience. He loves us in our inability. And this is not simply tolerating us. Zephaniah says that God rejoices over you with gladness and delights in you with singing (Zeph. 3:17). So next time you find yourself overwhelmed by these early years or longing for the time when your children are older turn your eyes to God. Remember that because he is with you you can be content with where you are at. Remember that the time is passing quickly. Remember that there is much opportunity to show these little children that we serve a God who loves them even when it’s inconvenient.