I was recently in the Concert Hall of Susquehanna University for the last time. My daughter’s years of school concerts have come to an end. The music was powerful and the musicians so accomplished. She was on the stage and all I could see was her beautiful profile. As I stared that profile seemed to blur into a little girl’s and I was swept back to the beginning.

Elementary school and she came home so very excited that she could join the band. She wanted to play the flute. We rented her first instrument and she began to play. The music at those first concerts wasn’t even in the neighborhood of perfect; there were squeaks and squawks as the band attempted to play “Hot Crossed Buns". 

But to this mother’s ears, it was beautiful.

Middle school and the director needed someone to take on the challenge of the oboe and my girl, she raised her hand. It was like starting all over and there was frustration and tears and music lessons in a tutor’s basement. But the notes were growing sweeter at those end-of-year concerts.

High School and the kids that were still playing were the ones who had dedicated themselves to their craft. The music was more difficult but all of the experience and practice created amazing harmonies.

And my mind came full circle. 

Back to the concert hall and the way my daughter has grown, the way she took a gift and pushed through the moments she wanted to quit. Instead she practiced. And practiced.

But what if she hadn't made that choice? 

What if she hadn't nurtured her talent, had been content in mediocre performance? What if she were still playing Hot Crossed Buns? Would I love her less? Would I be less proud? The answer is, of course, no. My love for my child wouldn't diminish one iota if she chose not to grow the gift she was given. I would still be proud to call her my own.

 But my heart would ache a bit at the waste.

Oh, the lessons God teaches me through my children. There have been large blocks of time when I have taken the gifts God has given and not developed them, have even outright squandered them. I have been comfortable and content in knowing that I was saved. I didn't want to stretch or grow, I was fine just as I was.

Did God love me less? 

Was He less proud to call me his own? No, but I bet my decisions made His heart ache a bit. And when I think of the missed opportunities I had to serve Him, my own heart aches at the waste.

It's a new year. 

A time for fresh starts and do-overs. 

Why not resolve to grow in your relationship with God in 2014? Spend time with Him, allow Him to stretch and grow your faith. Decide to nurture the special gifts and talents He has given just to you. Practice your faith.

After all, you can't play Hot Crossed Buns forever.

~ Cyndi Word

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee