A friend of mine had a baby boy recently, her first. Although she seems young, she is 25, the same age I was when my first baby was born. She is a woman who had some hard times in her teens and began to love Jesus for all she was worth.
When the baby was a few weeks old, she and her husband led our church body in worship through music. They are both very talented musicians, and I always love being led by them.
As I watched and worshiped with them, I could see changes in her. I saw a beautiful face that had deepened in its wisdom. She had been through the refining fire of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood, and I could see something different. Fatigue, no doubt about it. That surely comes with the territory for both parents. But sacrifice, worry, pain on another’s behalf, putting one’s own needs aside in this total and primal way, it can change a person. What I saw as she sang and lifted her arms to the God who gave all, was a woman who had stepped to the other side of growing up.
Raising my own children, one of my themes was that I wanted them to be “grown up” when they were adults. Not just older in their bodies, but grown up in their hearts, minds, and character, things which are certainly not a given. This is a process, of course, maturity comes in gradual bits as we let God have his way with us. And though we never quite arrive at that distant station, if we give ourselves up, progress can be made.
My friend is calm, humble, open, outward, because now there is someone for whom she would lay down her life in an instant. Moving oneself permanently off of center stage makes a person different in outlook and sometimes that is visible on the visage if one has eyes to see.