Our family recently passed another milestone, two to be exact. With six children, it is not hard to imagine that Stephanie and I have lived through nearly every imaginable family emergency, crisis and episode. Having two boys and four girls has kept us young and on our toes.

We lived through the days when we had four children ages 4 and under. I will not soon forget what it was like having three kids in different diaper sizes. Get the wrong diaper on the wrong kid and you have got trouble.

How could I ever forget when the entire family had influenza for nearly a month? It was like dominos. About the time we would get one child nursed back to health, another would drop like a brick. We thought we would never see the end of saltine crackers, chicken soup and cold wash cloths.

We have lived through nearly every emotion imaginable. One of our boys nearly died when he was 18-months old, we found life continues on the other side of a miscarriage and we have learned to live knowing one of our children faces the challenges of a chronic disease. Raising kids is tough, but worth every bit of effort.

I found myself in the middle of an interesting experience a few weeks ago. Within the same week, I was walking on a college campus helping my oldest daughter locate the classrooms where she would begin her college career. A few days later, I found myself working to remove the training wheels from my youngest daughter’s bicycle. One is starting college, while the other starts the first grade. They represent perfect bookends to our story as parents.

As we moved the bicycle to the backyard, and I chased my 6-year-old as she wobbled and struggled to find her new wings, my mind was filled with memories of my children from days gone by. And here I was taking it all in for the last time. And so I did. I cherished every single moment. I looked at her tiny hands as she gripped a frilly handle bar grip. I smiled as she grimaced to keep her balance. And then, like each of her siblings had done before, she took flight on her own and made an independent lap around the yard. Our eyes connected and we shared a sense of accomplishment that neither of us will ever forget. She had learned to ride her bike without training wheels. I had just introduced my youngest child to freedom and independence. What might she become and what else might she discover as she learns to trust her instincts, abilities and the guiding hand of her father?

How must our heavenly Father feel when He sees his children succeeding? Surely He must smile as we discover what we were created to be and the freedoms that come through life in Christ. His guiding hand is with us through every stage of life. Whether learning to ride a bike, experiencing college for the first time, raising a family or adjusting to retirement, the Father takes great pride in being with His kids on this journey we call life.