I knelt beside the bathtub, shampoo in hand. Her curls floated in the water behind her. The shape of her head conjured up memories of five years ago, when I’d wash this very same head in her baby bathtub.
I remember being concerned with the bald spot in the back of her head full of hair. I chuckled to myself. That wasn’t a problem after all. Her beautiful hair is her crown.
I let myself linger in the memories of those baths, comparing that happy baby to this happy 5-year-old. It doesn’t seem possible that this is the same person.
Do you ever feel that way, thinking back on your child’s earlier years? It’s like you’re remembering someone different. Development is mysterious like that, I suppose.
Same person. Many of the same traits. But different. Oh, so different.
It made me think of me, as a child of God. Shouldn’t my development be similar? Shouldn’t God bend to tenderly look at me now and see a different person than I was five years ago?
Same person. Many of the same traits. But am I different? Oh, so different?
Have my Bible study and prayer time caused in me a spiritual development that has been slowly, steadily, transforming?
Have my joyous celebrations and hard times – even scars – matured me in a way where my compassion is deeper, my propensity to love wider?
Have my cries of a me-centered world been replaced by an other-centered drive?
Has promoting my own little kingdom been upended to promote God’s kingdom?
A child on a healthy developmental track will grow physically, emotionally, and mentally–as will a Christian growing nearer to Jesus. “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).
My desire, and I hope yours is, too, is for our Father to be able to look at us with wonder, seeing a snapshot in his mind where we are compared to where we were. Because as cute as babies are, we weren’t meant to remain in infancy–physically or spiritually.
Let’s reflect together–what habits can we put in place this year to position us to not remain developmentally stagnant but instead to grow in Christ?