“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
Along with many other parents out there, my family trekked across the country last month to take our youngest to her first year of college. And I literally mean a trek…in two weeks, we drove through twelve states going and coming back home! As I’ve shared before, we knew it would be hard to say goodbye, but we were thrilled to have all three of our kids together again during much of the trip. During the last night before we left, we attended a conference for the students and their parents. Being that it’s a school of ministry, there was a very meaningful time of prayer over the parents who were leaving their students.
After the service was over I took a few moments to huddle our family together and share some of my paternal thoughts with them. It was strongly impressed upon me that my kids needed to hear two things. The first was that myself and their mom could not be more proud of them as our kids. So many kids, even adults, wish that they could have heard that from their parents at some point in their lives…at least once. I knew this was one of those moments that would make a high impact on each of them. Secondly, at the ages they are, I felt it was time to bless and release them into the next season of their lives as they learn how to do this adulting thing. It’s similar to the blessing I give as a pastor when members of my church move away. It was as meaningful to each of them as I expected it would be.
Why either of these things matter as much as they do, is this little thing called, “regret”. Maybe you’ve felt the effects of it too somewhere along the way. As a pastor who started a church from the ground up fifteen years ago, I’ve had to navigate its establishment much like a founder of a start up would. Much of my time and energy went towards the church over a large portion of my kids’ lives. Now, I wasn’t an absentee father on most levels, but I’ve lived with regrets on so many moments that I missed or didn’t prioritize. I know that relationships are challenging on any level, especially in our families, so it’s such a powerful experience when we get it right. I didn’t miss the moment that night in Alabama!
For you, it may or may not be your kids. It might be your spouse or best friend. Someone who you know carries relational weight in your life. This verse taken from King Solomon’s writings helps remind us that the season we are in right now carries God-infused beauty for our consumption and appreciation. Maybe you might feel like it’s only a silver lining at the present, but I guarantee that there are treasured experiences waiting to be uncovered in many of the relationships around you. My encouragement would be this…don’t miss the moment you have to prioritize those who need your attention the most. Don’t let exhaustion, distractions or over commitment keep you out of giving attention to what or who needs you the most right now. Living with regret is never worth it, so embrace the beauty that’s in front of you today.