Growing Pains

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

We have a very special closet in our house. What makes the closet special is not the closet or anything that is inside it, but what is on the drywall to the left of the closet door--the markings of my three precious children's growth. It was my husband's idea to mark up the wall that way. I was aghast at first. Taking Sharpie marker to my cream wall? The very idea made me twitch at first. But now, almost three years and many marks later, I can't imagine ever painting over those bold, black marks.

I admit it--the marks may be considered an eyesore to anyone outside the family. But that is because they don't know the cost of those markings. With each inch that is marked higher on the wall, there is a story that will remain unspoken except to me, their mama. If those marks could talk, they would recall a precious boy and his mommy desperately seeking God's face for an end to the bullying happening at school. They would tell the story of a very bright girl that needed to be "held back" a year in school and the shock that that was to both of us. And maybe the marks would tell all the times another one has sat alone at the lunch table trying to understand how friendships change.

Girlfriends, sometimes growth is painful. And growth always seems to happen when we are most unaware of it because our lives can be so focused on the pain that it takes to get to the next level. Growth does not happen when life is all sunshine and smiles. Growth happens when we are crying on our knees in desperation for God to show up in our lives. I can get so caught up in the growth pains that I fail to see Him working.

Our lives are never meant to be stagnant. I would become incredibly concerned if my three children stopped their growing at their height and weight now. I would never want that for them. So why do I become so frustrated with the growth process my Jesus has me go through? I bless His Name that He didn't leave me where I was even a year ago. I am falling more deeply in love with Him daily. That love is deeper because of the trials that He has seen me through. Change is something I dread. But it is in the times of uncertainty that I understand where my feet are planted--on Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

I will never forget the absolute joy on my youngest one's face when we got out the Sharpie the last time. "Mama! Can you believe how much I have grown???" She wrapped her arms around me and jumped up and down in my arms, so proud of where she was on the wall.

My darling sister, let's you and I remember what these momentary troubles are achieving for us--glory that cannot be compared to the pain we are experiencing right now. Our Jesus knows every tear we have cried, every struggle we have overcome though they remain invisible to everyone else. One day may we look into our heavenly Father's eyes, with shining faces, and say, "Oh Daddy, can You believe how much I have grown??" Every new mark on His wall is earning us a reward that we cannot fathom at this moment. Let's trust Him with the trials He allows to get us to those new heights.

Jesus, I am a sinful woman whose flesh does not readily seek You out. You know all things. And You know what is best for this child of Yours. Help me not to question in anger what You have allowed to shape me. May You give me new eyes to see that You are working all things together for my good. Jesus, You know I want to grow, but my heart faints under the way that growth comes to me. Be my Strength as I press on toward the goal of my high calling in You.