By Carla C. Stanford
Sometimes in life’s journey you step back and realize another passage of some sort is upon you. One recent Sunday in church, my 9-year-old looked up at me, brown eyes gleaming, and whispered, “I’m not going down for children’s church.”
Ouch, that hurt!
Had it been the first or second child, maybe it wouldn’t have hurt quite so badly, but I realized that the third and last son, the “baby,” was beginning to think himself “too big” for children’s church. We all know that children go through stages, and growing into one stage sometimes means leaving another behind. Often to grow, we need to leave certain things behind: ready or not.
It is, I think, likewise in our Christian walk. We begin as a baby in our Christian walk and as we mature, we develop new insights, habits, disciplines and, yes, new responsibilities. I Corinthians 13:11 tells us, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” So it is with God’s children.
I was not ready for Ryne’s words, but nevertheless there they were. God knows us better than we know ourselves; He knows when we are ready even when we are oblivious. And at that moment, Ryne looked down at the children moving toward the Rev. Giles Lindley for their time of worship and spied a friend. Dare I say it — a girl! (Another rite of passage.)
Suddenly he dropped his church bulletin on the pew, said “I’m goin’!”, and like many other Sundays, he was gone. I was given at least one more Sunday of watching my child gather with friends and listen to God’s word.
Maybe Ryne had been ready but I am not sure I was. Perhaps God saw that and gave me one more Sunday. I said a silent prayer of thanks (parents reading this will understand) and was reminded that we all grow as Christians, even the “babies.”
May you be ready for each stage of growth God has in store for you. Trust Him to know when the time is right and thank him for each inch of Christian growth.
Stanford is a nationally certified family life educator and a member of