He walked the church aisle past where I sat. A little girl, about two-years-old straddled on his hip, her shoe dangled against his leg. His left arm circled her securely. Another little girl walked next to his other side, her little hand hid inside his big one. Blonde hair hung just below her shoulders. Curls bounced with each little step. The sisters wore matching dresses, blue striped against a cream background. I smiled as they marched together.
“So cute,” I thought.
Dad maneuvered his little tribe into a row a few feet ahead of me, swung the littlest off his hip, and settled her. He positioned the older child on another chair, then leaned over her and whispered something in her ear, too.
Seconds later a woman hurried down the same aisle. At her heels followed a third girl, the oldest, in the same blue and cream striped dress as the other two. She slipped into the row with her husband and their three girls. I caught the parental eye-to-eye silent communication, the sheer relief of having made it to church evident. They did the once-over-every-kid-accounted-for-check, then shared a smile.
Years ago, we were that family. Before our son was born, our three daughters, stair-step sisters slid into a church pew together, flanked by a younger version of us.
Clear and sharp, a remembrance of once-upon-a-time played inside my mind. A day long ago I reached for my husband’s attention, my hand brushing his, while three little girls giggled and wiggled around our legs clamoring for our attention. We were in an amusement park, and our girls were in orbits of excitement when I saw a family of five coming toward us.
“That’s us someday,” I told him.
He turned to watch. Three teenage daughters chatted animatedly, while their dad and mom like bookends walked on each side. Their father, completely engaged and delighted, threw his head back and laughed. He turned to look past them toward his wife. Their eyes met. I identified with the secret communication. It one of those Mom-Dad exchanges full of delight and pride for their family. Three teenage daughters.
“That’s us.” I had whispered. My husband nodded, and we grinned silly smiles at each other above the heads of our giggling little girls.
The scenes came back to me, like warm blankets spread year after year on our lives. God’s design for generations is layered with promise.
Ps. 78:5-6 (NIV) “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”
I remembered a long-ago, husband-wife, daddy-mommy, age-old shared gaze of satisfaction and delight as we imagined a day still to come, a future yet unveiled.
“…so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”
Now, in a quiet house, I see unfolding time without the blur of the craziness of insistence. I look back un-harried and recognize the precious calling of those years. How quickly the little family three rows ahead of me on a Sunday morning would change into a family of three teenage girls. Because time doesn’t stop, nor does its mission.
“…and they in turn would tell their children…”
We are a tiny slice in an unimaginably big eternity, with the task of teaching the knowledge of God in a perpetual cycle of parent to child, generation to generation.
My mommy-daughters have their own little girls now. They too feel the sands tumble through their hour glasses. I am grateful for those daddy-mommy acknowledgements I see pass between them, snapshot moments to linger over in the future someday of their generation.
I am thankful for children proclaiming to the next the Jesus we love.
My husband and I lock eyes above the blonde heads of our grandchildren and we smile, like mirrored reflections of unending praise, our imaginations fly.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
This is a great article, Sylvia. Psalm 78 us a great reminder as it includes 4 generations of instruction. We find ourselves in the grandparent phase at this time.
Thanks Dan! I know!! How did the whole grandparent thing happen so fast? It is a pretty great stage, though. Thanks for responding!
Our family is in the middle of this stage of life – the young years – and it’s hard to imagine that someday our son and daughters will have little ones of their one. This beautiful article reminded me that God’s faithfulness is so evident throughout the generations. Thank you!
Thank you Kristen. Those years sometimes seem endless, but God is indeed faithful. Thank you for being a part of moving another generation to know Him.
Add a Comment