I Blinked...

It's the sentence every overwhelmed young mom hates to hear:

"They grow up so fast!"

Sometimes the words sound a bit different, but the gist is the same.  "Enjoy them while they're young," with an implied, semi-ominous, "Because before you know it..."

As an older mom, I've been surprised by how much I want to pass on this startling insight to young moms. Instead I bite my tongue, knowing such "wisdom" isn't uber-helpful to an exhausted mom who feels some days last an eternity.

But I'm living through one of those times when the reality is inescapable.

Though some individual days and weeks take eons, added together, the eighteen years of childhood move with lightning speed!

Amanda with best friend (and sister) Faith

Last weekend we moved Amanda, our sixth child, up north to attend Purdue.

Moving in

Wasn't it only yesterday she was a toddler tornado creating havoc with paint and scissors?

It took a while, but in time I came to believe she was only trying to create something. She had an innate sense for finding paint stashed away in various places around the house. Her desires to create exceeded her judgment and ability, but she's always been an aspiring artist.

Today, instead of making messes, she creates lovely things.

Amanda also delights in bringing order to places. From a young age she has enjoyed organizing closets, the food pantry, and other spaces. Do I need to tell you how wonderful this is? Just for fun, this girl has often spontaneously picked a place to reorganize and tidy, leaving not chaos but streamlined orderliness behind!

Guess what she's studying at Purdue? Interior Design, where she gets to draw and paint and design spaces on computers to her heart's content, plus figure out how to craft spaces for maximum usefulness and harmony. This area of study seems a good marriage of her love of beauty and order.

Amanda is named for my great-grandmother, Amanda Belle Ellis. Amanda Belle was a pastor's wife who raised six sons and six daughters. She was a large and gentle woman with a big heart who expressed her creativity through quilt making. Amanda Hope is a tiny and gentle woman with a big heart who expresses her creativity through paint, fabric, spaces, and just about anything she can get her hands on.

As Amanda has matured, it has been wonderful to watch her use her ever-increasing abilities to bring joy to others. She has delighted to help remodel and restore various spaces both in our home and in others'. It is our hope that her training at Purdue will only further her abilities and usefulness in these ways, while also giving her opportunities to grow in the Lord.

Before she ever made the decision to attend Purdue, Amanda (along with her dad and two beloved mentors) made several trips on Sundays to Lafayette to visit churches. Having settled on one, she downloaded and listened to many of her new pastor's sermons during the summer. It's only been a week, but wow - this church has done so much to help our daughter feel at home in her new town! There's good solid teaching and great fellowship, with a deep commitment to serving the local church. We're thankful!

Not that many years ago

OK - I'm biting my tongue here, trying not to tell you young moms to --well -- you know what!  My dad used to put it to me in a different way. When all our children were little he would say, "Drink ye deep!" I like that. So, yeah, "drink ye deep." Love those years with littles! But then be ready for the years with bigs, too.

Yes, you blink, and suddenly your children have grown up. It's inevitable. And it's good. For our goal isn't to raise children who remain children, but, by the grace of God, children who grow up to become mature, godly men and women. Rather than wring my hands over seeing another child entering adulthood, I'm going to give thanks for His work in her life and look forward to seeing the next chapters.

Colossians 1: 9-14 For this reason also, since the day we heard of itwe have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.


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