Matt and Monika had their baby this week, and they brought him to church when he was just a few days old. When I saw baby Rockwell, I marveled at those little fingers and his tiniest button of a nose. Part of me wanted to freeze time for Matt and Monika, to somehow bottle up this newborn season and never let him grow up because he is so very sweet, little, and perfectly beautiful.

Tim’s and my son Russell turns two years old this week, and he is becoming such a big boy! During these two years, we have eagerly awaited and embraced each of the “nexts” he has grown into. We were so excited when he could roll over, sit up, stand, walk on his knees (for a year), then walk on his tippy toes, and now run. A lot has changed in two years! So, when I saw baby Rockwell, I wanted to freeze time, not just for him but also for Russell. Please, sweet baby love, stay small for a little longer because life goes so fast. Let your mama and daddy hold you and love you and snuggle you forever.

But we all know that my wish isn’t possible. There will soon be no stopping Rockwell from rolling and crawling and running. And even if Matt and Monika could slow Rockwell’s growth and hold him close to home for his whole life, would they do that? Probably not. They understand that a parent’s role is not to keep our children small. The goal of parenting is to provide an environment of nurture and love so that a child can grow up well. Our responsibility is to point the way and provide the space so that our children can spread their wings, fly, and eventually soar. We get to show, to tell, to model, and to teach (even in failures) what life with God looks like.

So Matt and Monika and baby Rockwell and big boy Russell, may you never stop growing into his love and goodness for you. May we as your church family provide the love and nurture and space that you need to become all God has designed you to be.