I watched as she descended the stairs that curved around the small pond in the park. Her arm was tucked into the crook of her dad’s arm and they were walking slowly. I could see them talking and sharing the moment, their smiles telling me that all was well. The sun peaked through the leaves for a brief moment and reflected off the beautiful beaded embellishments on her white dress. As they drew closer, I could see her freshly painted toes as her dress swayed back and forth. I realized that somewhere on the stairs, not surprisingly, she had abandoned her shoes. Then she was saying her vows, making promises to love this young man with all her heart for all eternity. The dance with her dad was beautiful, as was her first dance with her husband, each different and yet both so full of love. The limo arrived and they ran toward it while their friends showered them with bubbles. She turned for a brief moment and our eyes met. My breath caught in my throat as I realized my baby girl, who loved to play in the mud and have brown fuzzy caterpillars for pets, was all grown up. My heart ached to hold her one more time but they were already gone, off to start their new lives together. For me, another opportunity to grow.
For some unknown reason, I thought by the time middle age rolled around, I would not be experiencing too many “growing pains.” Boy was I wrong! I never imagined that my daughter getting married would be a time of growth for me. These new “growing pains” remind me that growth never comes without pain. I remember hearing the story of the Emperor moth and how it must struggle to pass through the part of the cocoon that is much smaller than it is.
During the process of struggle, a substance is forced into its wings that enables it to fly. Without the struggle, it would never be able to embrace its full potential.
The same is true for us, without the growth that is sometimes painful, we will never embrace our full potential. The great news here is that we have a promise from Isaiah 41:10 that says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” We are not alone as we grow! We can reach out to God for our strength and our help. Another scripture, Isaiah 40:31, is quite familiar to many people. It says, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Our Creator wants us to embrace our full potential; He has plans for us that we have not allowed Him to work out yet in our lives. What are the plans He has for you? Do they include some “growing pains?” If so, know that He will walk alongside you and strengthen you as you grow!
Walters is a pastor with the Salvation Army in Juneau.