Destiny In Bloom

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

posted on March 15th, 2010 / by Susan Thomas / 34 Comments

I love babies!  I really do.

I have to tell you from this mommy’s perspective babies are the cutest little things I’ve ever seen.  My favorite part is their little toes.  Wait, it’s their fuzzy heads.  No, it has to be their pudgy legs.  Don’t you want to just squeeze those little legs?  I can’t choose my favorite part!  I love the whole baby package!  I just know I’ll be that great grandmother one day restraining myself from rubbing the baby heads of complete strangers. :)

As a blessed mommy of four little people, I have enjoyed the daily discovery of watching my babies grow.  Their mental and physical development is truly a miracle.  Those first two years especially amaze me as their little bodies and personalities develop so quickly!

Along with our babies and all their cuteness, there comes a lot of work!  Babies depend completely on the nurturing care of their parents for their wellbeing and even their survival.  Parents clean them, feed them and care for them when they are sick.  In my rough estimation, if all my babies potty train at age 3 … (One of them is giving me a run for my money right now!  We won’t mention any names.  Do we think potty training might be a form of torture?  Are we all going to be O.K.?  Wait … is that my mind over there across the room?  I knew I lost it somewhere!) I’m sorry I digress.  As I was saying, we will have changed approximately 23,900 diapers during our family’s baby stages.  Though I love the baby stage, I may just throw a giant party when my babies can finally kiss their diapers goodbye!

Feeding our babies is another one of the huge tasks we perform as we care for our precious ones.  They simply cannot do it themselves.  They can’t prepare food and they can’t feed themselves in the beginning.  Little by little they grow, and they begin to put the food I give them into their little chubby hand with high hopes it will reach their mouths.  It is sweet!  But, it can also be exhausting!  As a mommy, there are those days when you eat as fast as you can, because you barely have time to feed yourself!  While I pray every day God will help me not wish away any moment with my children, there is a sense of accomplishment when they can sit at the table and feed themselves.

Can you imagine how exhausting if this process of “feeding them” never came to a healthy end!  What if my 16-year-old child someday demanded that I feed her all of her meals!  Can you see me holding her spoon and playing the “airplane game” to try and get her to eat?  Are you kidding me?  Let’s just say that would be very short lived! :)  But, spiritually we can fall into this trap.  I like to think of it as “the FEED ME syndrome”!  Typically it reveals itself in the form of comments such as “I just need to be fed.”  Or, “I’m not really being fed in this environment; I’ll have to go elsewhere.”  Rather than an isolated incident, it becomes a consistent theme in our lives.  Either there’s just never enough food, or somehow it’s not making into our mouths.  While it’s hugely important to make sure we are in a church where God can grow us as we worship him in “spirit and in truth”, it is equally important to take a moment and examine what we really mean when we utter these words.

In John 4, Jesus had just finished ministering to an adulterous woman at a well. Pointing her to the Savior and healer of her soul … himself … this precious woman becomes convinced Jesus is the Messiah!  As they are finishing their conversation, the disciples (silently shocked by his behavior) offer Jesus some food.  And Jesus makes a point. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work … I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:34-35, NIV).

The disciples weren’t getting it yet, and sometimes neither do we.  Jesus was being fed alright.  He was receiving spiritual nourishment.  But Jesus knew where his food came from.  At this stage in Jesus’ development, his ultimate food wasn’t coming from his disciples’ sweet efforts to care for him.  His mother Mary was no longer responsible for feeding him.  While he loved his friends and their community, they were not the source of his food. He did not refer to the local Bible study or the great teachings of the area’s well-known Rabbi.  Jesus declared that his food was to do.  To do the will of God his Father.  To embrace the purpose and reason he was even walking on the earth in the first place.  He was so close to God the Father that their mission was one and the same. “To seek and save the lost.” (See Luke 19:10.)

As a follower of Christ, someone somewhere has invested in you spiritually.  Someone told you the amazing news that Jesus saves you!  Someone, somewhere was on a mission to “do the will of him who sent me”.  As you experience your new birth into Christ’s family, God sends people to feed you and help you grow.  God is so sweet to clearly describe the natural growing process of a follower of Jesus.  Just like our physical bodies change and develop, God created our spiritual lives to do the same.  He tells us as new believers to be “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, NIV).  Did you see that?  We’re designed to grow up!  That is awesome to me!  So what’s the problem?  Don’t we all just naturally grow?

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others.  Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.  You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.  For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.  Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:12-14, NLT).

I was baptized on Easter Sunday when I was seven years old.  It was a precious moment.  But there came a time in my journey when I ran.  I ran far.  For several years, I ran and I ran far away from the God of my salvation.  Until one day, almost two decades ago, I was sitting in my college dorm room at the end of my rope and full of the pain resulting from my wrong choices.  I had been a baby for way too long.  As a result, things in my life were very stunted and unsightly.  I picked up my Bible out of pure desperation, and the God of the universe met me there.  Like a malnourished baby, I began to “drink the milk” of God’s word.  Pouring over his truths.  Talking to him about everything as I cried out in my pain.  Receiving the healing power of his Spirit moving in me.  Over the next few years, I ate up every word fed to me by great teachers God put in my path.  God began to grow me.  I began to change.  God loved me even while was still sinning against him.  And God helped me to love him back.  God gave me passion.  God began to free me and prepare me for the life he had for me!

We all need to be fed.  We all need fresh food every day.  So it is with our spiritual lives.  I love to watch my little toddler now learning to use her own spoon, and I imagine her one day as she prepares meals to feed her household!  The baby stage is sweet, but God calls us to grow.  Adolescence has its special place, but I’m pretty sure none of us want to stay there! :)  Maturity is a sign of health.  We mature as we get to know Christ better and better, and he grows us.  We respond to his love as he helps us to love him back!  Our lives begin to look more and more like his.  Our hearts begin to beat for his mission: to seek and save the lost!

How long have you known Jesus?  What are you doing with what you know?  Friends, let’s pick up our forks together and run to our Great Chef!  Let’s feast together on his Holy Bible, and then let’s experience a life beyond our wildest dreams as we live out his design and calling on our lives!  Filled with the Holy Spirit, let our souls be nourished as we do the will of our Father.  God alone has the power to make things grow.  Will you cry out to God with me?

My amazing Lord God!  Yes, I do love you because you loved me first while I was very unlovely.  Please help me to run to you as the source of my food and to put your Word into the very practice of my life.  Only by your Spirit’s power can I even live.  Let me live a life growing stronger and more passionate in you every day!

Susan loves speaking to women about the promises of God!  Susan is a Licensed Professional Counselor and wife to Brandon Thomas, pastor of Keystone Church.  For over a decade, her counseling has focused on marriage counseling and women’s issues ranging from anxiety, depression, sexual abuse, and many other challenges that women face.  She is a mommy to four amazing children and forever grateful to be a child of the Most High King!  Susan has a passion for seeing lives changed by the power of God and the joy of a life lived in intimacy with Jesus.

Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas

34 Responses to “Growing Pains”

  1. Maturity is a sign of health! I love that. As I watch my 1 year quickly turn into a two year old in these next couple months, I have been thinking about the process of growing. It’s God’s design for them to grow and develop, no longer need us as much. Although part of us misses those days, there is excitement for the next stage. Much like I imagine God is excited as we grow in Him! Thank you for reminding us to continue down the path of spiritual growth!!

  2. Good stuff!! Many truths and words that I re-read and was blessed by and encouraged to grow. My kids are 17, 12 and 1 so I have had the beautiful gift of starting over. Meal times are something that I have thought about and how very time consuming it is! I forgot that part but now I will look at it a little differently as I spur my little guy onto feeding himself and reminding myself to do the same.

  3. GOOD STUFF!!!! Thanks for sharing, this is truly amazing! And the potty training will get better. We're in it to win it!=)

  4. Susan,

    I LOVE this analogy….what a creative way to bring home some powerful truths in God's word! SO loved reading your thoughts……I will forever be grateful for Keystone's ministering in truth and love to my family during a difficult season of our lives. May God continue to pour out His favor and blessings on you and Keystone as you are a light for the Lost and a place for the believers to call home. With love, Beth

  5. What an awesome word for us! Especially as a mom it is easy to be so preoccupied with the growth and development of our littles that we forget about our own growth and development. Thanks for this great reminder to always keep growing!

  6. What a great read ! It was just what I needed this morning to remind me of my own growth! I am so guilty of feeding others, and forgetting about myself…Thanks for the reminder, Susan!

  7. what great insight…thanks for sharing!!

  8. Thanks for this word, this day….it ministered to me and gave me confirmation on my new direction.

  9. I've heard this topic more than once from you, and every time it means more! You have such an amazing heart for our Lord and I am privileged to be your friend and learn from you! I love you dearly! xoxo

  10. Susan,great insight…After raising my 4 sons and now nurturing grandchildren this was such a wonderful reminder that we have many seasons in life, but we never stop needing that soul nourishment that comes from God and causes us to grow no matter which stage we find ourselves in. I am always encouraged by your writing and speaking of your journey, as God speaks to you out of everyday places in life… You are an inspiration!!! Thank you…Jan

  11. Susan…as always I am inspired by your ability to take the everyday moments in your journey of life and see God's hand of grace and mercy in it. You are writing a beautiful story of God's grace and in your life, and in the life of your family and others,as you grow in the soul nourishment that is so needed by all of us each day, no matter what is going on. Thank you for encouraging me and others with your insights.. You are amazing…Love you always…Jan

  12. Yay Sue -I had to actually change my just turned THREE year-old's diaper in the middle of reading – and now I can rejoice because THIS TOO WILL END and she will grow! No seriously – loved this. I share your story of running and being a baby far too long. Thankful for a God who doesn't leave us stunted – but who woos us and draws us and grows us in Him. Love you. Thank you for who you are. Jen

  13. God is so good to us! What a privilege it is to feed others like we have been fed. I love the “airplane” feeding analogy. We serve a fun and adventurous God who smiles and delights in seeing us grow in a healthy manner.

    When we fall in love with Jesus His love naturally flows out of us to others.
    I can’t wait to set the table and invite others to share in His love.

    Love, Stephenie

  14. "Please help me to run to you as the source of my food and to put your Word into the very practice of my life. Only by your Spirit’s power can I even live."

    I am so thankful that we don't have to try and keep a list of "do's and don'ts" in order to grow. What a blessing it is to have His Holy Spirit live inside of us to guide us along this journey of life and that He gives life, meaning and wisdom to us through feasting on His word! Thanks so much for sharing with us Susan!! xoxo!

  15. Awesome stuff Susan! I love your heart for God and your ability to speak truth is such a creative, impactful, and tactful way. I have heard the "I am not being fed" and similar statements from a few friends recently and this is such an great way to share God's truth about our own responsibility in our spiritual growth and development.

  16. Everything you have said is true. I would like to give a caveat, though. "I need to be fed" can be uttered by two different groups of Christians.

    1. Those lazy in their spiritual growth.
    2. Those who are hurting and in a season of despair.

    The first category is what I believe you are describing above. The second one is one who I want to address. The second group includes people who are spiritually babies and mature. They are going through things like infidelity, loss, illness, betrayal, and abuse. For mature Christians, there is a shame in talking about your problems. They are trying to stay true to the teaching not to talk bad about their husbands when they are getting abused emotionally and physically or their husbands prefer their drinking buddies, naked pleasure bars, or pornography to a conversation with their wife. Many of them have experienced relational malnutrition, and it's hard for even a mature Christian in the position of a trial to be nourished totally on reading God's word, prayer, and worship. These type of mature people are core volunteers who need a supplement.

  17. Susan – Ditto everything said above! Love your heart for Jesus!

  18. Susan this was GREAT! The whole part about "my food is to do the will of my Father" was life to me today. I have been stuck in this little battle of wanting to stay in God's presence and eat up, while He keeps urging me out more and more. I've been afraid of busying up my life doing things for God while neglecting my relationship with him. But, with Jesus as my example, He was able to have both God's presence in His life while also "being fed" while doing the will of His Father. What a wonderful confirmation for me today thank you tons!

  19. Been there, done that, still struggle with it … however, my life was SO blessed by hearing you talk about this exact concept and parallel at one of our Bible Studies right before Dad's accident. It helped when I became a bit frustrated because all the advice, scriptures, etc being "fed" to me were not fulfilling me. They were encouraging me, but not fulfilling me. Once I turned to the word myself, he spoke new verses and promises to me that were exactly what I needed to hear. I still have a lot of growing up to do spiritually, but thank you for reminding us all that we have a duty as Christians to turn to Him directly for our nutrition.

  20. "Though I love the baby stage, I may just throw a giant party when my babies can finally kiss their diapers goodbye!"

    I love this! I've been having this same conversation with my three year old! glad I'm not the only one who'd throw a party! ;) This is a Mama amen!

    "Maturity is a sign of health. We mature as we get to know Christ better and better, and he grows us. We respond to his love as he helps us to love him back! Our lives begin to look more and more like his. Our hearts begin to beat for his mission: to seek and save the lost!"

    So glad He grows us and empowers us to do His will. Maturity/health … yes … YES!!! This is a fellow God-chick AMEN!!!

    Susan, Thank you do much for writing for DIB! You words were both fun and weighty … a great combination. What a blessed group of ladies that get to sit under your leadership … I've kinda heard it's fabulous!

    Great Love!

  21. Loved your insight, Susan! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  22. Susan! I love that I get to know you even more-no matter what form it comes in! I too have decided that as much as I love the "baby" stage of anything-it has to come to an end. I love that God is more gracious than I ever could be as a mother when it comes to being patient about dumping diapers and running towards truth. Love you and your heart and so glad that I am in the daily walk with you!! much love~m

  23. Susan….love this post!! Thanks for sharing your journey with each of us. You are greatly loved! Jill

  24. Great post Susan! Love you- Angie

  25. Susan,
    Thank you for sharing what God has put on your heart about "growing and being fed". As always, I am inspired, encouraged, humored, and challenged by you! We need to count on Jesus alone for our real nourishment! Thanks for the reminder and challenging words!
    Love you!

  26. Wonderful word! Indeed we all experience growing pains- so glad that God is patient and wants us to suceed in our growth in Him! Loved it! Thank you!

  27. What a wonderful devotional !!! The analogy is great !! I love the way you weave it all together with experiences and scriptures we so identify with as mothers !! I feel "fed" after reading your words –so well written ! It is an importatnt reminder of our basic need to feed on God's Word.
    Looking forward to another devotional contribution from you, Susan!

  28. Susan,
    What a wonderful message and we ALL need to heed your advice and move closer to a more mature level in Christ. That really is what the christian walk is all about learning from God's word and appling it daily!
    I am so proud of you and I know your family is as well. Keep studing and sharing your insights.
    Rita Bonds

  29. Wonderful Susan! Loved your insight on this topic from a mom’s perspective. Our only “food” comes from His word and we need to desire steak and not milk as we grow in our faith. Thanks for sharing your heart. Your writing was truthful, challenging and humorous. Great! Love you and your amazing influence in womens’ lives.

  30. Thanks so much Suey! Love your wisdom and insight into the scriptures! You are a gifted writer and speaker….and I love seeing God use you to reach so many people! love you! jill

  31. Susan, thank you for this great practical analogy. It is in serving that we learn to love, and in loving that we grow and mature. Good stuff! We definitely had a party at our house when the youngest was potty trained–it's a rite of passage for the parents as well as the child! :)

  32. Susan- this is so good! I love the line, "Let us run to our Great Chef, let us feast together on His Holy Bible." It's so true, as I hear it all the time, these words.."I'm just not getting fed". Your blog is right on, we need to grow up! Thank you for sharing your heart! Bless you!

  33. Wow!!! That was a great word!!! Thank you so much
    for sharing. Your analogies were
    awesome and scripture references
    were on point. I love how you
    speak God's truth in such a loving
    and practical way.

  34. So inspirational! Loved it :)