I love how young people today keep a pictorial record of growth in their children. It’s stunning how much development can happen in so brief a time to someone who began so small.
Kollyns just turned two months, and the changes have been astounding. She smiles now with regularity, and she’s learning to vocalize well. I know there are thoughts going through her mind; I wish I could understand what she’s trying to say. She’s so insistent at times, especially as she furrows her brow and looks deep into my eyes.
Growth seen in one so young is obvious. Every week brings new discoveries (she found her hands), unique skill sets (her smiles and “talking”), and increased awareness as she observes what’s around her.
Growth, as we get older, isn’t as obvious.
Kolly hasn’t had time to develop bad or questionable habits. Everything is new to her. I, on the other hand, have had time to grow some pretty spectacular bad patterns. I tend to interrupt people when I think I have something important to say. I can get critical of others without even thinking about it. I process verbally with many words that can overwhelm others. Especially my favorite internal processors.
Growth comes at a cost. We choose to do what is right and give up what may be appealing but not useful. Growing pains happen to children often when they’re too active; legs become achy, typically when the child has slowed enough to feel the consequences. For adults, growing pains can be felt when we’ve pushed our own limits too far, when we’ve pursued areas that may not be helpful for us.
Good growth comes from being nurtured. Like plants, we can find ourselves stuck in hardpack–ground that doesn’t encourage growth but stunts it. Places where we can’t send roots down because the circumstances are too hard. But given the chance to have someone invest in our growth, fertilizing our lives with grace and truth, we can grow even in the hardest of situations.
God is the Master Gardener, the One who knows how to grow us in ways that allow us to thrive. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, He nurtures and nourishes us with His love and presence.
“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” Psalm 92:12-14
Being vital is the place of thriving. Growth is for our benefit, making us better people.
It’s also a choice. Deciding to invest in what’s good for us; walking away from what doesn’t help.
Because God created each of us, He alone knows what is best for our growth. He invests in us–if we let Him.
Kolly depends on her parents now for what she needs to grow–food, comfort, her parents with whom she can connect and attach.
We can depend on God to grow us in ways that help us become the best we can be. Attaching to His heart gives us the stability that helps us thrive.
Making something more of us that we never anticipated.