A couple of times a year I get the opportunity to be tutored by a spiritual mentor. She is a speaker on subjects like marriage, love and the transforming power of Jesus in our lives – some things that I’m pretty interested in! This mentor lives in another state, but visits us en route to speaking engagements, and the teaching begins almost as soon as she enters our home. Our entire family loves it when she is in town.
Last night my friend was speaking to a group of leaders within our church about some of the basics of loving one another well in marriage. She described the importance of giving room for your spouse to grow and change over time, reminding us all that we are now different than we were when we first married. The message resonated in the room, with people acknowledging that it had been vital in their marriages, perhaps something they had not been taught to do, but had been doing on some level. Good teaching, right? Well, the lesson actually came a couple of hours later for me.
We were in my living room, the last conversation before bed, and my friend described how her adult daughter is living in a distant country, about as far away as you can geographically be from home, and thriving. She shared that her firstborn would be coming home for a couple of weeks soon, and that she looked forward to meeting her again. I remarked that this sounded so sad, like she no longer knew who her own child was. She then explained that the principle for a good marriage is the same for a solid relationship with our children as we all age; we must give them room to grow and change. We cannot expect our children to remain who we know them to be, or else we will stop knowing them at all.
This is true for all our closest relationships; are we willing to encourage those we love the most, to grow and change over time, without the expectation of remaining who we once knew them to be? Our daughter in college is learning new concepts and making exponential growth in character, maturity and knowledge these days. It is so important for me to celebrate who she is now, and trust who she is becoming, without my ideas or plans limiting her.
My mentor friend is here for a few days, and I know I will be challenged several more times by her wisdom and willingness to speak truth. It is my hope that you have someone in your life that sharpens you and reminds you of what really matters.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17