Stewarding the days we have with our children for an eternal value.
If you are a mom, you’ve heard it many times, “Enjoy the time you have when your kids are little, for they grow up all too fast.” Perhaps it’s become like a trite phrase at which you roll your eyes when a well-meaning grandmotherly figure at the grocery store watches you try to wrangle your littles through the store for that one thing you need to make dinner tonight. All the while, hands grab at every enticing thing. Voices whine for a cookie from the bakery. And the baby is making the sound she makes just before she starts wailing.
Enjoy the time?
When it comes to parenting, they say that the days are long, and the years are short. Each day we live in the moment, in survival mode, just trying to get to the end of the day—trying to keep everyone fed, clothed, and safe before bedtime—only to do it again the next day. Rinse and repeat. It’s hard to imagine life ten or twenty years in the future when our kids are teens or out of the house altogether.
Yet the psalmist reminds us that life is indeed short.
“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!” (Psalm 39:5).
James asserts the same,
“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (4:14).
As humans, we’ve managed to control many things in this world, but time is not one of them. It marches forward at the same rate, each second, minute, and hour ticks away every day of our lives. There’s no pushing pause or rewind. We see this truth when we look in the mirror each morning at the new gray hairs and lines that mark the passing of days and each year as our children sit for school photos.
Indeed, time is short.
What does this all mean for moms in the thick of raising children? The psalmist gives us insight into how to live these brief days,
“So teach us to number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Just as we’ve taught our children to count, we too need to number our days. We need to acknowledge the brevity of life. There is wisdom in that, for when we live life in light of this truth, we are intentional with the moments we have. After all, we are merely stewards—of the time we’ve been given and of the children God has placed in our care. It is wisdom to use the years we have with our children for the glory of God, knowing that they are eternal souls entrusted to us to nurture, train, and cherish, preparing them to know their Maker and Savior.
So, in the harried moments and chaotic days of parenthood, let us count our days. Let us be intentional with the time we have with our children. Whether it means setting aside a chore in order to kneel down and teach our child an important lesson or reading that “just one more” story at bedtime or praying with a hurt child or pausing with a fascinated child to watch one of God’s creatures creep along the sidewalk—let us invest in each day we have.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the details of day-to-day life that we get distracted from our calling to raise our children to know the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). The responsibilities of life—doctor’s appointments, chores, work, paying the bills—is a constant pull on our energies. Even our phones can distract us from this important work. But when we seize opportunities to show our children who their Father in heaven is through our parenting—through our consistency, love, training, and patience—we invest in our children’s souls. And an investment in the souls of our children will pay dividends far into eternity.
So, can we enjoy these days? I believe we can. When we number our days and pray for wisdom to use them to God’s glory, we can’t help but treasure the gift of time spent with our children. Even at the grocery store.
Christina Fox is a licensed counselor, retreat speaker, and author of multiple books. Her latest book is Like Our Father: How God Parents Us and Why That Matters for Our Parenting. She and her husband have been married for twenty-five years. They have two teen boys and live in the Atlanta area where she coordinates the counseling ministry at her church.