Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
Four eleven-year-old girls running around the house. Hiding and shrieking. Sneaking up on each other and laughing. First half-day of school. Middle school orientation in the books. Tweens going on teens. Not yet wearing make-up. Giggly. Ukulele playing. Hide and seek. Dressing up the dog.
This is innocence still.
I can’t help but mourn its slipping away.
Parenting two teenagers has made me feel vulnerable and strong, unqualified and wise, overwhelmed and confident, all at the same time. Two boys in high school, and this one, here with her posse of friends, is the youngest, just eleven. She represents to me what once was–the purity of the young, the vibrancy of day by day.
I am wiser now; things will change.
More laughter and screams. Abby’s latest Sardine hiding spot is inside the organics rubbish bin. Literally. Finally found by the other flip-flopped three. She has snagged my phone and been taking photos of herself as she waits for her friends to find her. Texts the photos to me on my computer. Crazy. This girl will always surprise me.
I am wondering if I will remember the love between these four girls–their laughter, their innocence, their kindness, sun shining bright upon each face. Let me not forget innocence, youth, so easily.
This morning, before the playdate, I come across an old video of my daughter. Six years old. Attempting to blow out her single “number six” candle on her pink princess cake but she’s laughing too hard. Her brothers at the table cracking up, cheering her on.
My heart aches a bit as I watch the screen. Both happy and sad. Tension of holding on to memories of the past and being grateful for the now.
Maybe the definition of “growing up” needs tweaking.
Father, I feel the tension of anticipation, of change–why must the purity of childhood fade?
*images by Abby
This summer I read a bookthat eases the uncomfortableness a bit–this awareness of time passing, of things ending, of people I love leaving. All Things New, by John Eldredge, (releasing next month) reminds us that all that we love on this earth, all that is precious, all that we hold dear, will never go away. In heaven, it will be restored, made new–more beautiful than we can imagine.
What we love most won’t be left behind.
God restores everything He makes. He renews all things He’s dreamed of. He brings life to all people, all creatures, all the beauty He’s made with his words, his two hands.
So these beautiful girls: I imagine how I will get to see them again, but with eyes made new by God. I will hear their laughter, experience their hearts the way God sees them. In each aspect of our lives–relationships and creation–heaven will make everything whole, brand new.
Relationships severed now healed. Hearts once broken now whole.
We don’t need to be afraid of growing up or of growing old, of missing out or of missing what we love most. Heaven, through Jesus Christ, wants to redeem every single thing God loves, each person and thing He has made.
In heaven, our imagination is going to break open wide when we see what God has been dreaming up all along.
There is more than what our eyes can see. It is the unseen, the beauty coming, that is even more true than what is now. And that is amazing. More amazing than we can imagine. But I like imagining it, even still.
What about you? How are you wrestling with time passing, with being grateful for the present while trusting God with an even more beautiful future yet to come?
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com