“Mommy, will you snuggle with me and read a story?”
It was the middle of the afternoon. My boys were playing nicely together so I decided to sit down and get some work done. That’s when my youngest came in and asked me to read to him.
The Way Time Flies
My oldest is almost as tall as I am. But when I look at him, I still see a toddler who wanted to sit on my lap every morning and drink his milk from a sippy cup. My youngest is quickly catching up to his brother but still asks for hugs and sleeps with his favorite blanket. It seems like just yesterday they were learning to talk and walk. But those little legs have grown and can now fly through the air and kick a wooden board in martial arts class. Their once halting speech, spoken in one word sentences, now discusses matters of theology, history, and logic. And at the rate they are going, it won’t be long before they both stand a head taller than I.
There were times when my children were babies that I wanted time to speed up. I was so tired and longed for a few moments of peace by myself. I looked forward to days when my kids could entertain themselves and allow me time to get things done.
Yet the problem with the highway of time is that you can’t get on and off anytime you’d like. There are no return exits, slow lanes, or stop lights. There aren’t even any pull over stops on the side the road. We all move forward at the same rate, moment by moment, day in and day out. And as the psalmist wrote, the time we have here is brief, “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (39:5).
When my children were babies, everyone said, “Enjoy these moments with your kids. Time goes by all too quickly. You blink and they’ll be grown and out of the house.” This truth is hard to comprehend in the moment when the days seem to run one into another, filled with diaper changes, laundry, wiping up spills, and picking up toys. When time feels like it is elongated and even at times at a standstill, it’s hard to realize that we will look back and miss this season of life.
Investing in the Moments
Time is something we have a limited amount of. How we use it says a lot about what we value and what matters most to us. We all know that. Yet in the course of our days, much of our time is spent on the temporary, frivolous, and material. Too often, things take precedence over people. We prefer to check items off our to-do lists rather than reach the heart of another person.
When it comes to our children, a simple request like the one spoken by my son is a crucial moment. They often come when we aren’t prepared. Such moments are unplanned and usually inconvenient. But they are moments that can show more than words how much we love our children. These moments go far in uniting one heart with another. And such moments, if invested in, are priceless. As we take the time to love our children with the love of Christ, showing them their identity as a child of God, and pointing them to their daily need for gospel grace, such moments linger long into eternity.
Because as important as our work or chores are, the phone calls we have to return, the meals we have to make, or the bills that need paying, the hearts of our children matter even more. Much of what we think is important can wait. But our children won’t. The truth is, time waits for no one.
“Yes. What do you want me to read?” I responded to my son that afternoon. I shut down my computer and followed him to his room. It was just a moment. But it was an important moment I didn’t want to miss. Because soon enough, that moment will be just a memory. And one I want to cherish.
“Wherever you are, be all there!” –Jim Elliot