I recently had a lovely day with my adult daughter, chatting over lunch and diving into some retail therapy. As we engaged in the hunt for a new pair of workout clothes, I reminisced how different shopping was now compared to 22 years ago when my daughter was a toddler. I watched the young Moms in the shopping center, pushing strollers and attempting to pacify children who were hungry or in a need of a nap. I, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoying a quiet day, strolling through the shops, sipping a Vanilla Almond Latte, conversing about everything and nothing with my 20-something, newly-married daughter. Wow – what a difference 22 years can make.
I remember those days back then. There were moments when I thought they would never end. I would never sleep a full night, never take a shower without being interrupted, or never eat a warm meal again – ever. The days were long. At times – never ending long.
At the same time, the years are short. It went so quickly. I remember the dance recitals with tiny pink tutus and itty-bitty ballet shoes. I remember the play dates, Bible times, and early Saturday morning pancakes. I remember as the years went by trying to figure out schedules and which sports, lessons, and activities should or should not be signed up for. Figuring it all out was stressful, time-consuming and when it all went right, a joy. I loved cheering from the sidelines, commiserating over an unfair call, or offering a hug when defeat was hard to swallow. I loved being my daughter’s Mom.
Time is hard for parents to put in perspective. At the time when newborns and toddlers fill the house, the days seem long, but after they are done, indeed – the years are short. It seems time is a game we can never win. Time is not so much an ally, but an adversary. Understanding this and gaining God’s view on time is the key to making the most of the time we have.
When did time start to go wrong? I would suggest we find the answer at the beginning of Genesis. When death as a consequence for sin entered the world, time went wrong. Prior to death, we were created with an intention of living forever with God in a state of peace. But with rebellion, man no longer walked with God, but ran from Him and instead of enjoying endless days, knew that the days of one’s life would come to an end. Death creates a tension in our relationship with time that heaven will, thankfully, erase.
Eternal life is the state in which time is no longer a Christian’s enemy. As immortal souls, we are freed from this body of death and finite experience, and enter into the infinitude our soul longs for. CS Lewis said, “Though we cannot experience our life as an endless present, we are eternal in God’s eyes; that is, in our deepest reality” (Letters to Malcolm).
I as a Mom have lived most days by schedules, appointments and deadlines. I have felt time move too slowly and too quickly; I have had too much time on my hands and more often than not, I have not had nearly enough of it. Time is not comfortable for me and yet, I find myself mucking about in it every day. I have found that if I stop and consider life through God’s eternal eyes, I remember that this day isn’t so much a moment in time, but a moment that is part of God’s infinitude. It is part of a bigger picture. If I remember that my life and its teachable moments are part of God’s bigger plan for me, then long, endless days seem less long because the purpose of even having this life grabs my attention. In addition, perhaps the years that seem too short seem more precious because of the path they created to where I am today. An eternal perspective on the many years of parenting that are now behind me leads me to gratitude for the faithfulness of God as I navigated those years. How grateful I am for Him and His ever-present provision.
Dear Reader, may this week we look at our days and our years through the lens of eternity. May we find strength in the days that are long by remembering we are a part of a bigger, eternal plan. And for the years that are short, may we find ourselves able to give God thanks for the many ways He provided and for the many precious moments we enjoyed.
For this week, I pray God grants you an eye that looks at life through eternity. Knowing as believers in Christ, we get to enjoy eternity together with our King, I rejoice in sharing my thoughts with you in this moment in time. I hope they bless your days as you live out your years in light of the bigger reality of immortality.
As always – fondly yours, Elizabeth
Other CS Lewis Quotes on Eternity:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (Mere Christianity)
The difference God’s timelessness makes is that this now (which slips away from you even as you say the word now) is for Him infinite. (Letters, August 1949)
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. (Mere Christianity)