The Passage of Time

I have always had a beef with time. (Ooooh beef. Now I just want a nice steak. Anyways…focus). Time. One month from today Hayleigh begins Kindergarten. One month. One month left with all my babies here with me all the time. In one month one era ends and a new one begins. The time in my life where all my kids are “littles” and all of them are home with me and I can gather them all in my arms whenever I want, or stay in our pjs till noon or pile in the van for playdates or go on a spontaneous adventure walk-all of us together. Those days are ending. And a new era is beginning: the school era.
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If I am being really honest I must say that I kinda hate it. I wish so much that I could have all my babies home with me, that nothing had to change-not the laid back schedule we keep, not the comfortable routine we have established, but more than all that, I really don’t want the dynamic of our family to change. It is not always easy or pretty, but I love my little family and the stage of life we are in right now. I don’t want Hayleigh and Braxton to grow apart. I don’t want Hayleigh to miss out on what we are doing here. Actually, I really just don’t want to miss her myself. I am really, really going to miss her. I just want to live on in this next month and have September never come.

But, September is coming. It is coming fast, faster than I would like. In many ways September is coming faster than I ever anticipated. I wasn’t ready 6 Junes ago when the stick told me I was going to be a mother. And just as all those sweet old people tell me in Wegmans, I blinked and now once again I find myself not ready when the calendar says “First Day of Kindergarten”. How are we here already?

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This battle with time is one I just can’t seem to win. I fight against it. Then I decide that battle is futile. So instead I fight against my hatred of time passing. Well, turns out that battle is futile too, because try as I might, I just can’t be happy about it. For me there is something so “not-okay” about how quickly time goes and what it takes with it. Lately I have been trying to be more accepting of it. There is no use in not accepting something that is inevitable, no use wasting valuable energy in fighting a battle I am sure to lose. I am trying to find the joy in each circumstance I find myself in. There are certainly blessings to be found around every corner on my journey. (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I have done, and continue to do the whole Philippians 4 thing, even though admittedly, I often fail and fumble through it.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:4-9
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But somehow despite searching for joy, despite praying for peace, despite taking my thoughts captive, despite speaking truth to myself, and despite surrendering to God’s plan, I still feel unsettled in the pit of me when it comes to this passage of time. And I think I always will be. I think I am finally at the point where I am okay with not being okay with it. And here is why: time is, in many ways, unnatural to us. It is a result of the Fall of Man, a consequence of sin entering the world. We were made to live forever. Our souls within us are eternal. We were created for life without end, for life not bound by the confines of time and what the passage of time eventually brings with it: death. Just as our bodies ache with the decay that comes with age, I think my spirit aches a bit from the unnaturalness of fleeting time. It is part of the Fall. I am not necessarily meant to ever feel settled about it. While, I am meant to rejoice in all circumstances, I am learning that I can rejoice (choose joy, choose thanksgiving, choose worship) in spite of not feeling settled or even happy with where I am. I am learning what a daily, even moment by moment, sacrifice of praise looks like.  (Hebrews 13:15).

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I have spent countless hours trying to make myself okay with the passage of time. I guess I thought that at some point I would actually like it, like really, truly like it. I don’t know how I thought that would happen. My view of time has always been a struggle for me. For so long I wanted time to go faster and faster-spinning me onto the next stage. I thought I would find happiness and fulfillment once I was living my dreams. Then once I met Hayleigh and held that sweet bundle in my arms, I felt such a shift in my desires regarding time. I began to beg God for time to just slow down.

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Contentment is something I am constantly working on. And I can honestly say that overall I am content with what I have, who God made me to be, what my life looks like. I have even surrendered to the passage of time. I can actually rejoice in what is coming next, even if I am unsettled with how quickly we are getting there. I might not feel ready right now. I may never feel ready. I may always be unsettled in the pit of me by how fast life moves through this passage. But, I have come to the place where I am okay with being unsettled, because I honestly think that maybe God made us to never fully be okay with it. Maybe this, this being okay with not being okay, this rest despite feeling unsettled, this trust and surrender, this joy in every circumstance, this ease that finds itself tangled and rising to the surface amidst unease,  is the peace God has for me-the non-sensical peace that transcends understanding from Philippians 4.

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Maybe since aging and death were a result of sin, we are always supposed to battle against our feelings about the passage that brings us closer to that destination with each passing day. Maybe as we walk that passage, each milestone is supposed to bring us a bit of grief and a bit of joy. Maybe the bumps in the path of life and the staggering speed of the passage we walk through are supposed to cause us to ache for more-for eternity. Maybe time slipping though our hands, time passing us by as we stand powerless against it, time leaving us unsettled in our stomachs as we trudge on through that passage ahead, is meant to be Grace, meant to draw us closer to God. Maybe God created that ache in us to remind us that we were made for more, that our souls-the depths of our beings-were made for eternity, not decay.

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So, each time I want to grab ahold of my loved ones and long to keep them , and us, together as we are, forever in that moment, I will also grab ahold of God who has set eternity in my heart. I will remind myself that I have found great joy in each stage of life. I will remember that without walking the passage of time, I would never have experienced all the joy and blessings God has given me to hold right now. Time has not always been good to me, or so it has seemed. But God has. He is the creator of time and He holds my days in His hands. He has used time to bring me all I ever dreamed for and to bless me so much more abundantly than I deserve. Each time I fear what lies ahead, I will choose praise instead: worship over worry. I know that while I may be bound by time, my God is not. While I may only be able to see one step ahead of me, my God can see the end from the beginning. And we do not walk this passage alone.

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“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11.

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