I’ve always been fascinated by children’s development – the timing and order skills are developed and how the skills they learn now will affect the rest of their life. Now that I have my own, I am continually amazed how God created our bodies to develop. Things that baby’s instinctively do ultimately fulfill purposes in their development .
For instance, did you know that by sucking on a bottle or breast, babies are developing the muscles they will need later on for speech? By bonding with their mothers (or primary caretaker) babies are learning to recognize strangers. By putting everything in their mouths, they are learning different textures and shapes, plus practicing the most important survival coordination skill – hand to mouth. How else are they going to learn to eat?
I started out my career with children by teaching special needs children – hearing impaired and multi-handicapped. I saw firsthand how skipping any of these developmental milestones can have devastating effects on a child. One child I taught was so sick his first year of life that he had to be fed through a tube. He had recovered, but was delayed developmentally because he missed sucking on a bottle, putting everything in his mouth and so many other things. He had the capacity to eat normally, but lunchtime was a nightmare because he hated it so much.
Right now, Isaiah is almost 4 months – 16 weeks –he’ll be 4 months this Friday. And I’m having so much fun watching his development. He gave me the biggest belly laugh last Tuesday, he’s smiling and cooing, grabbing at things and holding them. And attempting to sit up – with lots of help from mom and dad.
I think the same principles in child development can be applied to our spiritual development – child of God development. The things that we are going through right now might not seem to matter much, but navigating successfully through those trials and tribulations is going to help us in the future. Learning to trust God when things are not so bad can really pay off when we have to trust Him when things really are rough. I can remember being fearful at home in Memphis when Greg was away and God speaking to me – “How are you going to trust me when the danger is real when you can’t trust me when danger is not imminent?” It was a milestone of development for me.
There are many more – small things that don’t seem to really make much of an impact – but in fact they are milestones in our spiritual development. If we don’t learn them, we will not develop into the person God intends for us to be! I want to meet all my spiritual development milestones that God has for me. Just like I play with Isaiah to stimulate his growth, God has opportunities all around me for growth. Opportunities to use patience, kindness, self-control…you get the idea! And for me, most of them are just around the house.
Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4