“Paw-Paw!” “C’mere Paw-Paw!”

Nothing brings joy to my ears more these days than the sound of my grand-daughter calling for me from across the room when I get home in the evenings. She’s excited to see me—as I am to see her at the same time. She’s special, precious in my eyes in a way that despite having raised four children, I could never have anticipated these new feelings within the reaches of my furthest imagination. Children are special and there is no doubt that they are truly blessings from G_d; even more so when they provide you with the miracle of grandchildren in their own right.

Parker Olivia Anne Johnson is two years old plus a few months. (We still give her age in months at this point) She’s precocious and temperamental as are most children at her age, but that only adds to the experience of those things that make her special. She’s the daughter of my oldest son, who is off serving his country in the Air Force, hence the added extra time at Paw-Paw’s house these days while her mom is at school.

She’s at an age where communication still revolves around pointing your fingers and talking baby-talk to her when you want a desired result. And she still has a language of her own which is incomprehensible except with a lot of forethought, or by simply asking her mom to translate for us. Potty training has almost been accomplished (she’ll hate my mention of this when she gets older) and she can even sing her ABCs.

Children are special and each has his or her own personality traits. I learned through my own experience that you love your sons, but worry about them entirely too much. Because sons are generally miniature versions of yourself as a man, replete with all of your assorted fears and inconsistences. Or maybe you just notice them more. Daughters, on the other hand, are for sheer enjoyment and are easy to be carefree towards, because by the same token I cannot look at my daughters and not see a miniature version of their mother when I do so.

But back to Parker, which is where we started. She’s two. Sometimes she misbehaves and sometimes I can’t understand her when she is trying to tell me what she wants. On occasion she regresses in her potty training. She can’t read yet. She cannot say her colors nor pick all of them out plainly. We cannot have a discussion on the works of Hemingway and Faulkner, and she may grow up in a world that cannot remember them at all. I like deep movies that make me think—and especially those that make me ponder upon them long after I’ve watched them. She is still into Dora and Sponge-Bob Square-Pants. But am I disappointed in her as a result?

No. That would be silly and just in case the facetious font isn’t working on my computer, you should understand that I am kidding about this. Parker is two. There is a lot of growing ahead of her, a lot of learning, and a lot of maturity waiting to be plucked from the tree of her life which will be harvested by her own experience and necessity. She’s still a baby. I expect no more than where she is now and enjoy her even deeper as a result. It is interesting and exciting to see her develop and learn as time goes by. I’ll honestly profess it is a miracle from G_d the way she does so.

Sometimes at church I catch myself playing the part of maturity-detector for my Christian brothers and sisters. I wish they wouldn't make so many mistakes in their life. I get aggravated when there is not enough help for programs or outreach ministries. Sometimes they seem more concerned with the social aspect of church and not about the expounding of G_d’s Word through devotionals and messages from the pulpit. On a few occasions, I’ve noticed that they play favorites; shaking hands with those visitors that have a certain standing in society and are less inclined to offer the same to those with none. Yet I know they are Christians, and I was there when they were born again. So what gives?

It is during those times I'm reminded that walking with G_d on a daily basis is a growing experience. None of us (me included) will ever be where we should be in our relationship with Christ until we reach the next life that is waiting for us. Until then, we have to grow and mature a little, or at times a whole lot. Peter writes: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”Grace is easy to grow in as it is readily available and imperative due to our sinful nature. Meanwhile, growing in knowledge requires studying His Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to open the windows of understanding to us.

It's a lot more enjoyable to concentrate on watching them grow and mature than it is to stand on the sidelines and point my self-righteous finger of condemnation at them. My job is to accept and love them, and applaud them when they uncover new heights in their spiritual journeys. In doing so, I may just grow a little more my own self.

Growing a little more each day...

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