Friday, December 28, 2007

Things change, things stay the same

Last night we had a Christmas party with our "California friends." This is a group of people we knew in California who all live in Montana now. It all started with one family visiting this place and telling the others about it. Then, one by one, God spoke to our hearts. These families moved here, and now we all remain. We love it here, and although we sometimes don't see each other often, we all believe God brought us each to Montana for a purpose.

There were three main families there last night--and their kids, parents, friends, and married siblings who've moved up. The older kids (nine in all) have gotten married and have families of their own. That added a passel of new people. Then there were the dating couples, and the newbies they brought along. (Who may have been wondering about this crazy bunch they were getting introduced to!) What started out as a small group is now a HUGE gathering.

Some of these kids' kids I only see once a year. Last year's new babies are now toddling around. Last year's teens will soon be married. Last year's "older people" ... well, we're a little older with a few more wrinkles than before.

Last night, when I was talking with one of these friends, we realized we'd known each other for seventeen years--since my oldest son was 1-years-old. Cory is now a Senior and is looking forward to heading to college next year. We shared stories of when our kids are toddlers. I talked with one of the "older" kids who is building his own house. I reminded him of when he was eleven and he used to write a Christmas list and pass it out. But he'd not only write the items he wanted, he'd also write down where they were available, and for what price ... just to make sure we got the best deal! He laughed because although he doesn't remember that, he still does the same thing. The only difference is his lists and price comparisons today include the price of lumber, fixtures, and concrete!

Some things, like friendships and personalities, stay the same. Some things, like toddlers and tweens, don't. I've been pondering this a lot today, thinking about how short our lives really are. I mean just yesterday, it seems, I was discussing potty training with these friends ... and now we're discussing upcoming wedding plans.

All these thoughts were still on my mind this morning when I came across Psalm 90:12: "Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise." The Amplified version of this says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom."

A heart of wisdom remembers that little kids grow up and will soon be raising a generation of their own.

A heart of wisdom understands that the time of our influence on young hearts and minds is short, so we need to use it well.

A heart of wisdom believes that no matter what we believe, it does no good if we do not raise our children to love God with all their hearts, minds, and souls.

A heart of wisdom knows that life is short, but God is good ... and family and friends are worth celebrating.

Next year, who knows what things will change when our "California friends" gather together. But in addition to the wrinkles and the old stories we love to retell, my prayer is that each of us will be a little more in love with God ... and the the generations that are following us will too!

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