Can Someone Please Slow Down This Ride?
Normally I use this blog to post about leadership, ministry/church related issues, local & global mission work, etc. However, today this post is very personal.
I woke up this morning wondering – “Where in the heck did the last 13 years go???” 13 years ago I stood in a hospital holding my newborn baby girl, and there was no man-tears about it, I cried like a baby at the sight of the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. (Umm – sorry my beautiful wife – I mean next to you of course) It was truly a life-changing experience – to hold this fragile new life in my hands & realize that God had just given me one the most precious gifts in all of life.
And I was gone! Completely, utterly, head over heals in love with my little girl. I remember the first word she ever uttered – “da-da”. I remember her first wobbly steps across the living room floor. I remember her first day of school & teaching her to ride a bike. I remember putting her on a school bus for the first time & tearing up as my baby rode off. (I also remember thinking that if anything happened to my baby, I would dismember the bus driver) I remember daddy/daughter dances. I remember times she was scared & she’d take off running to daddy. She knew her daddy would protect her.
My wife, Gina, used to say that just couldn’t believe how such a little girl could have such a big man wrapped around her little finger. I am guilty as charged!
I remember playing Pretty, Pretty, Princess & my little girl putting necklaces, earrings, & make-up on me. I remember taking her to Disney World for her 5th birthday while she was in full-blown princess mode. It cost a small fortune, but that didn’t matter because this was for my little princess.
I remember her first soccer practice & how nervous she was about playing with other kids who had played longer than she had. She was afraid she wouldn’t be good enough & that they might laugh at her. I remember kneeling down, giving her a reassuring hug, & then looking in her eyes & telling her that she could do anything she set her mind to – that she was more than good enough – & to go kick some butt! And with that she was off!
I remember coaching her soccer team for a few years & the rides to & from practices where we would talk about everything – life, school, her fears, God & even lots of girl/hormonal/development stuff that I REALLY wish she would have talked to her mom about. And while it was extremely awkward to talk about these things with my little girl, I tried to never let her see it. Because I was also thanking God that our relationship was such that she felt comfortable talking to me about this stuff.
I could go on & on & on & on… but I think you catch the drift here. Well, on Sunday my little princess turns… (not sure I can actually type this)… she turns 13!!! Ummm, excuse me, but where exactly did my 5 year old little girl go? 13 years cannot possibly have gone by already! And besides mourning a childhood that is passing by —- I’m not so sure I’m ready to let her be a teenager. Really? Not yet! Not so soon! Come on God! Can’t we slow this ride down and give me a few more years?
Tonight we’re having a big party with 20-something of her friends & honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready for this. I sit with a lump in my throat & my eyes watering as I write this. (Must be my allergies!)
But let me tell you – she is one amazing young lady! God truly reached down & touched this girl — Gina & I cannot take much credit for how incredible she has turned out so far. She loves Jesus, church, ministry, & missions. She’s got straight A’s in school & is a pretty darn good soccer player. And she could be a role model for most adults when it comes to maturity, compassion, & heart for God & ministry.
I’ll also tell you that I am SO grateful for some mentors God placed in my life years ago who challenged me to find a healthy balance between ministry/career & family. (My hot-blooded Italian wife also helps keep me in check!). I’ve been criticized that I am not more “available” to people. (ie. Tues & Thurs evenings & part of Saturday are soccer time with my Bri-Girl; I don’t answer my phone at dinner time or when I’m spending time with my family; etc.) I’ve been told that our church could be much “bigger” (ministry speak for a successful church).
But here’s the reality, & this applies to any of our careers —- we’ve got lots of years & lots of opportunities to build our churches, companies, careers, etc. But please don’t miss this – we only have a very small window & one shot with our kids!!! So, I’ll take the flak & criticism – but I WILL NOT blow my one shot with my kids!
So, Happy Birthday to my beautiful, amazing, smart, & talented daughter Brianna! You Rock! You are truly a gift from God & I am so incredibly proud of you!
Oh yeah – God, any chance on that slowing the ride down thing?
This entry was posted on November 11, 2011 by Howard J Koepka. It was filed under Family Ministries, Leadership, ministry, Parenting, Personal Life, Relationships and was tagged with Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, church, compassion, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, Haiti, help, helping others, Holidays, humanitarian aid, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, social justice, Social Media, technology, twitter.