I believe the end of this Earthly life is near. And I want to take this moment to praise my Lord. He gave me the tremendous blessing of being born in the United States of America. He saw fit that my Mom and Dad stayed together and raised us, and loved us and protected us.
Despite my own sin, He had mercy with me. For a while, in my youth I turned away from Him, and tried doing life without Him. Like any loving Father with a child wandering away, He never let me out of His sight.
I gave Him the silent treatment for a while. But where else can I turn, who else loves me like my Heavenly Father. I’d been disappointed, and hurt and angry. And He stayed back just enough to let me suffer some consequences that come with disobedience. He chastened, but restored me, drew me home to Him, and what a relief as the burdens and shame and guilt were lifted off of me.
Life never got any easier, in fact, I can safely say, it got much harder. But every step, every mile, every challenge, He kept working on me. It is yet to be seen, what He was up to all these years, what He has done in me.
But on this nippy almost-spring day, daffodils bloom in my yard, and tulips won’t be far behind.
We never got the place all fixed up like we had hoped to do. But frankly, I have to praise God for His wisdom in letting things be hard. If I’d had boundless energy, and perfect health, it would have been easy to be selfish in how I used my time, or to work for the sake of having more and ” better” stuff. Instead, God gave us an arrangement that let motherhood be my primary job. I always felt I was not “enough”, like our boys were being cheated. But now that they are out there on their own, I see the grace and wisdom of what God allowed.
I admit that for the past five years, I have determinedly not allowed myself to think about the changes happening, the monumental, irrevocable changes to our household, to our family, to all that I had been living for over the past 23 years.
In that period of 5 years, both sons graduated and struck out into lives of their own as fledgling adults.
It is coming up on 9 months now, since the younger one left home. And today was the first day I let myself think of the baby days, of the fact those childhood days are really over. I kept my brave face on. And the rest of me seems to have followed the example, because I got through it without the soggy mess of crying about it. Absorbing it cutaniously, slowly, so as to almost avoid the pain. For these many months, I was vaguely aware something was “off” in me, and my mind pondered obliquely from time to time, like a tongue to that place where a tooth has fallen out, but it had not registered.
I was kind of stumped. I guess I practiced denial so well, I managed to deny being in denial. On purpose, though.
Regardless, it kind of feels like gingerly traversing down a very steep incline, when you are at the point in life when neither your knees or balance are what they used to be. You don’t realize until you make it down, how scared you were.
My post empty nest story will not look like that of many of my peers. Mom’s who juggled it all, or either really could afford to quit work and choose to stay home. We couldn’t afford that, and juggling it all was never an option for me.
During the early years when I could still work, I felt guilty when home, for not contributing more to the household income, and guilty when I worked, for leaving my kids with a sitter.
My health continued to decline until I could no longer work, so I lost my investment into a nursing career, at the same time I lost my ability to do many things I enjoyed. That was hard to accept. We get our identity wrapped up in what we do. Every new person you meet, inevitably asks, “so, what do you do?”
But what I gained in the exchange I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I found my identity in Christ. I was there for our boys. I learned to pray. I developed a love of scripture. I will never claim to be much of a cook, but I fed my family, and nurtured them. God had a better thing in mind for me than ease, financial prosperity, the “rat race” and measuring myself by the world’s standards, conducting myself by worldly expectations.
I know that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. I have not been as eternity-minded as the Lord deserved me to be, but I have lived with eternity always in consideration. I have been looking forward to meeting Jesus “in person” from a young age. I did not always walk as close to Him as I could have. Thankfully He knows my frame. He does not hesitate to come the greater part of the distance.
The devil never quits trying, but he can never take away the peace and joy of knowing I am redeemed and always in His care, and one day, will be in His presence. Just as I eagerly anticipate when my kids come home, how humbling it is to know, God feels that way about us.
Time No More
The yard now stands empty where two little boys played, who filled up our hearts with memories made.
From baths in the sink, to wagon rides, walks to the park, to climb monkey bars, swinging on the swings, and sliding on slides, to drivers licenses, and their very own cars.
Hugs and kisses, with extras for later, tucked for safekeeping just under their bangs, school buses, field trips, handprints on mirrors, and windowpanes.
” Enjoy every moment, they grow up so fast” said every mother ever, since ages past. I remembered. I took their advice. I held them and loved on them, every chance. But darn it, their childhood still didn’t last.
Not long enough, and yet we wondered if we’d all survive, there were trials and struggles every mile of the way, and by the time I was 32 my body felt like 85.
Often I felt it was not fair to them, but a kind missionary said something to me about that, and it made me stop and think. He said ” you don’t know but what your sickness has been the best raising you could have given them.”
I received those healing words and tucked them away, and they comforted me on the really hard days.
I think he was right. They’re young men now of integrity. All credit to God who made them so, not because, but in spite, of their father and me.
Now they serve our nation, far away from home and there’s rarely a moment I don’t think of them. They have begun their own adventures, Lord, and we entrust them in your protective hands.
I will not be sad that precious time is over, instead I thank You, Lord, for granting us the sacred privilege of being Mom and Dad of two amazing young men, and thank You most of all, for providing us all a way of salvation by the sacrifice of Your own son on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead three days later, and now intercedes on our behalf, sitting at your right hand, awaiting the command to bring Your children home, out of time, into eternity!