INNOCENCE AND HEAVEN AND MORE TO COME

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our eleven-year-old girls running around the house. Hiding and shrieking. Sneaking up on each other and laughing. First half-day of school. Middle school orientation in the books. Tweens going on teens. Not yet wearing make-up. Giggly. Ukulele playing. Hide and seek. Dressing up the dog.

This is innocence still.

I can’t help but mourn its slipping away.

Pay attention.

Okay.

Parenting two teenagers has made me feel vulnerable and strong, unqualified and wise, overwhelmed and confident, all at the same time. Two boys in high school, and this one, here with her posse of friends, is the youngest, just eleven. She represents to me what once was–the purity of the young, the vibrancy of day by day.

I am wiser now; things will change.

More laughter and screams. Abby’s latest Sardine hiding spot is inside the organics rubbish bin. Literally. Finally found by the other flip-flopped three. She has snagged my phone and been taking photos of herself as she waits for her friends to find her. Texts the photos to me on my computer. Crazy. This girl will always surprise me.

I am wondering if I will remember the love between these four girls–their laughter, their innocence, their kindness, sun shining bright upon each face. Let me not forget innocence, youth, so easily.

This morning, before the playdate, I come across an old video of my daughter. Six years old. Attempting to blow out her single “number six” candle on her pink princess cake but she’s laughing too hard. Her brothers at the table cracking up, cheering her on.

My heart aches a bit as I watch the screen. Both happy and sad. Tension of holding on to memories of the past and being grateful for the now.

Maybe the definition of “growing up” needs tweaking.

Father, I feel the tension of anticipation, of change–why must the purity of childhood fade?

This summer I read a book that eases the uncomfortableness a bit–this awareness of time passing, of things ending, of people I love leaving. All Things New, by John Eldredge, (releasing next month) reminds us that all that we love on this earth, all that is precious, all that we hold dear, will never go away. In heaven, it will be restored, made new–more beautiful than we can imagine.

What we love most won’t be left behind.

God restores everything He makes. He renews all things He’s dreamed of. He brings life to all people, all creatures, all the beauty He’s made with his words, his two hands.

So these beautiful girls: I imagine how I will get to see them again, but with eyes made new by God. I will hear their laughter, experience their hearts the way God sees them. In each aspect of our lives–relationships and creation–heaven will make everything whole, brand new.

Relationships severed now healed. Hearts once broken now whole.

We don’t need to be afraid of growing up or of growing old, of missing out or of missing what we love most. Heaven, through Jesus Christ, wants to redeem every single thing God loves, each person and thing He has made.

In heaven, our imagination is going to break open wide when we see what God has been dreaming up all along.

There is more than what our eyes can see. It is the unseen, the beauty coming, that is even more true than what is now. And that is amazing. More amazing than we can imagine. But I like imagining it, even still.

What about you? How are you wrestling with time passing, with being grateful for the present while trusting God with an even more beautiful future yet to come?

 

innocence heaven
innocence heaven
innocence heaven

 *images by Abby

innocence heaven
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Showing 7 comments
  • Gill Graham
    Reply

    Hi Jennifer Greetings from across the pond. I love love your Loop posts thank you so much.
    Regarding aging I have been really struggling with this and limiting myself.I will be 68 tomorrow. I have been praying about these feelings of despondency and God is so gracious .He filled my heart with gratitude. For my wonderful parents who are now passed and I give thanks for them. I am blessed with children and grandchildren who I spend time with very often . I give thanks for my husband my dogs my friends my Church. I hope this doesn’t sound self congratulatory because I am awed by the magnificence of all God has given me. Knowing the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit and remembering to listen for His voice is the door to all this joy and gratitude. Thanks for the opportunity to share every blessing Gill Graham

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Gil, This is just true–how our joy of the Spirit is received through hearts of gratitude for all He gives. I love your words here, your beautiful heart. Thank you so much, sister. Bless you on your birthday! I pray you have the most beautiful day with your Father–that you feel His love for you and rest there.

  • Whitney Alexander
    Reply

    This is so beautiful it made me think about when my children was growing up. I understand that what I did for my daughter, no what I do for my children is right in God’s eyes are ok. Also these days when a child is not ready we should keep them close. After reading this I have a peace in my heart. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Whitney, Bless you and your children! I pray God continues to give you His peace as you listen for His voice in your heart. You are so loved.

  • Mary Margaret
    Reply

    I have been struggling with the “aging” process now for a couple years. Some losses and some just letting go. This last year has been the start of my empty nest. Having a new routine without my sons. I have struggled greatly and have looked to the Lord daily, sometimes just to help me get out of bed. Lost my purpose., or thought I did. Slowly, ever so slowly He has brought new people and opportunities into my life. Got me moving again. I prayed everyday that the Lord would help me and send his Holy Spirit to guide me and this has brought me closer to Him and given me a new sense of what my future might hold. I feel and know that I needed to get my relationship with Him fixed first. Jennifer I have to say that it was Loop that got me through a lot of bad days. And now your blog is so wonderful also. Thank you, through you Jesus has opened my eyes to what’s good again.

  • Janet Rowland
    Reply

    When I turned 60 in 2015, I was in total disbelief! What happened!! I was funny to think that I was 60. Now going on 62, I am still in disbelief that people I used to believe “old” felt like this, like I’m 30 or 40 something inside, just know more, and a few more scars and deep wounds. But, I was able to retire in July and now am a live in grandma keeping my newest grandchild who is 4 months old along with his 10 year old sister. I am in heaven. I am so thankful to have been given another opportunity from God to “raise” another child. What I mean is, I can enjoy this baby and granddaughter without the stress of when I was actually living the moment with a husband and three little ones. I didn’t know how to relax and enjoy the time with them. I had to work and had to keep a spotless house and have everything under control! I wish i had known then what I have learned at this stage of my life. Yes, enjoy your kids now. I can’t help but believe it will mean the world to them later. Time doesn’t stop for any of us.

  • Sandie Heckman
    Reply

    Seems that we are all in a season of change.
    I notice the silence in my home and it saddens me, that my house is no longer alive. My daughter is gone and married now, I’m divorced for what seems like a lifetime- one thing for sure I can turn up the music now loud and listen to some of my favorite Christian bands.
    I don’t think this season will last long, just long enough to really run some mind movies of past memories when I was a mom in motion. You know, little feet running through the house and I had too many things to do and not enough time to enjoy what was going on.
    God has great plans for all of us, and in these seasons of change we need to listen for His voice. It can be a great struggle sometimes when my head thinks like a junk drawer spilled out on a trampoline. I’m trying to rid the strongholds in my life – fear, thinking too much and the drama brought on by the media. Jesus spent time alone with God, I’m trying, but sometimes the silence is deafening.

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