Nothing in the world can prepare you for motherhood. Being a mom is a big beautiful, messy journey, that only God’s grace can help us navigate. As most moms know, it’s not a happily ever after story book tale of perfect little humans sitting around, with praises on their hearts, always cheerful and ready to give hugs at any given moment. Yes, there are these moments, but there are also screams that give you chills as you race down the hall to find out who is bleeding, and lost shoes when you are already 30 minutes late to a most important meeting. Or there are the tantrums when they don’t get their way, and have to sit in time- out way too long. Then there is the mom roller-coaster of feelings like we blew it 100 times that day or some times in the last hour. The countless hours praying over your children that will give you strength you need just be able to survive another day. This is all just until they are two! We have those of us who think we can play supermom and have this amazing plan to make homemade meals each day with fruits and veggies at every meal, all while homeschooling, carpooling to different activities, with and IKEA home that is perfectly organized. Not to mention the perfect chore charts that will have everyone taking part in making the house a home.
Reality check comes very quickly when we realize as moms, that although our plans are great thoughts, life and children always have a plan of their own. That plan rarely fits into our beautiful, somewhat imaginary life.
In all of the learning that happens with being a mom, I have found those precious moments that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Like when you see them being kind to others, and thoughtful of others feelings. When they begin to talk about what Jesus would do in sharing with a friend. Even in the times when I’m sorry turns into a special God moment where you know they are realizing how God really cares for them. I remember so many of those beautiful nuggets, that I feel like God allowed me to see, to keep me trusting in Him.
Being a mom is the best, most important thing I will ever accomplish. I have struggled with feeling good enough, or wondering what I could have done differently about a situation. I have had times when my kids were teenagers making dumb decisions that I knew, they absolutely knew better, and wondered how I could have let that happen. Yet, one thing has remained, my heavenly Father always has made time for me to sit with him and share my heart. Sometimes I would lock myself in the bathroom just to be alone and cry out to God for his help, to lead me as the best parent I could be. There were days I cried myself to sleep, while God rested his love upon me and spoke words of encouragement to my heart.
Before my children were even born I began praying for them. Praying for their heart to be soft towards God. I prayed for the plan God had for them and that God would show me that at an early age so that I could guide them along that path for them. I prayed that they would feel the fathers love for them at an early age, and that God would burn a passion for him in their hearts so strong that the light of God would pour out onto those around them. I prayed for their future spouses and the heart for God they would have. Of course, I also prayed that I could somehow be the mom that God needed me to be to help guide and guard their hearts towards Him.
All in all, God has not made me the perfect mom, and I am so inadequate for this title. Yet, I have pursued this calling on my life as the greatest calling my God has ever given me. I have five amazing gifts here and one in heaven that are my greatest and most valuable treasures, but ultimately they are Gods. They are His children purposely designed to be given to my care. God knew exactly their personalities, and gifting, and battles they would have. He knew the mom that each of them needed to be prepared for their purpose. God handpicked me. How did I get this incredible honor? What a privilege. Through sickness and disease, through trial and temptations, through back talking, and running away from God, even through death, they are my children, and I love them. Not because they are perfect and have made things easy, not because they listen or are obedient on given days, not because of their humor or funny grins they give, but because they are mine. They have a mom that completely and utterly loves them just for who they are. They are precious in my sight. I don’t look at them and see their sin, I see who God made them to be. I see who they are capable of being. I see a reflection of Christ, because that is the image they were made in. In Psalm 139:14 it says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by our creator. This has always been my prayer, that I see my children they way God sees them.
As a mom that has put her whole heart into her children, I find myself at a crossroads, you could almost say a roadblock. Moms spend decades investing and praying and nurturing their children. It has been our time, money, joy and heartache, loving these young people. From birth they have been dependent on you as a mom for everything. They survived because we fed them, and gave them our everything. We began teaching them from a young age to be responsible, and help others, to be kind and generous, to love God before all else. We helped them learn and grow for the soul purpose of someday being able to be dependent on their own. To go out into the world and be the hands and feet of Jesus. To be an example of Christ in the world and shed their light in the darkness. We taught them to pray and be mission minded whether their next door neighbor or across the world. We taught them that the body of Christ is an important part of walking with God. How friendships and fellowship with other believers was so important. We guided them to use the gifting that God had placed in them for His purposes not their own. To be selfless in a world where so many are self centered. Although, there are many things that they will learn on their own as adults, their foundation came from their home, and a praying mom that never gave up and always said I Love You!
So if this is our heart as a mom, to, ” Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart” (Proverbs 22:6) then why as a mom am I, and I am not the only one, confronted with the painful almost debilitating at times truth and reality of letting go. It sounds nice and all that our children are launching out, and becoming their own person, they are growing independent with their own real relationship with God. They are becoming and pursuing what God has called them to be. This is a natural normal process and necessary, and yet I find myself at times at the most heart wrenching time in my life. Where I see the beauty in it all, and see Gods hand upon my children and I love watching their story unfold, yet to let go…… is the hardest part of being a mom yet. My children didn’t come with a manual, yet somehow with Gods divine help and a lot of grace we came through the trenches and out to the beauty and joy on the other side. Yet in the beauty their is a depth of sadness that I can’t seem to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy and so blessed, but I also have to work each day to allow myself time to grieve the loss of my children.
Yes, there have been moments of being fearful of my children not living under my roof and all the what ifs and concerns of if they will make good decisions and wise choices etc., but, those have not been long lived. I was really ok with letting them go on that aspect, because I knew that God had always watching out for my children. I knew that at every turn and every choice that He would be there and guide their hearts. Even in times that they didn’t make the right decisions I knew He would be there to give them council and or convict their heart to turn from their current direction. I knew and stood on the promises that if I raised them in the Lord in the way they should go , then I knew that those promises were true, that even if they strayed they would always come back to Gods truth and their foundations. I trusted God for my children, and that was the easy part.
My heart aching with every departure of one of my children is not something I was prepared for. For months of all the lasts and memories that flood your heart as you look through pictures for graduation, to songs sung at church that hit to the very core of your heart, the reality comes too quickly. It seems they were just born, just learning to walk, and loosing their first tooth, then it fast tracks to senior year. I don’t even know where that time that I thought I had so much of even goes. One minute they are snuggled in your lap as you are singing to them some song you made up about how precious they are in Gods sight, to the next thing you know you are standing in the grocery story sobbing buying milk because you realize you won’t have to buy so much with them gone. As you being packing their whole life into totes to take to college the realness of not doing their laundry any more seems terrible, although for years it’s something you have complained about. Their room gets cleaned out and now you only dream of having clothes all over the floor.
My oldest left for college five years ago, and I still remember the feeling all the way home from dropping him off. That complete emptiness within me. I cried from the pit of my heart, aching to be with him again. I remember finding sunflower seeds on the floor when I got home, and didn’t move them for weeks just to have a piece of him home. Even though I would get so frustrated finding sunflower seeds all over when he was home. I found the very things that I tended to get upset about were the very things I missed the most. The little things that reminded me of his presence within our family. Our family was no longer the same, there was a piece missing. The dynamics of our family changed, the conversations changed. Meals were different, chores changed, bible studies changed. The younger children all looked up to the older and now they were all trying to find their spot in this new line up. A family unit felt broken and taken a part. We all playing such important parts in each others lives, and I never really realized how we all functioned as a team until the day he was gone. I understood more than ever the body of Christ. How we all have such an important part to play. All with our own abilities and gifts that God has given us that we bring to make up the church. When one piece is gone, things don’t function as they used to. For a mom, we tend to fix things that are broken, we mend up those with broken hearts, but what happens when the family isn’t really broken but feels broken in your heart. How do we as moms fix our own brokenness? Well, we don’t. But, God in lavishing his love on us sits right beside us as we go through the naturally hard process of letting go. He uses this time to just be present with us. He listens, and feels every hurt and every bit of heartache. See God has hurt for the loss of his own child, in far greater ways than I will ever know or understand. He watched the torment of his son and the brutal death. Although he knew the outcome, God still felt every blow to his child. God went through the most unimaginable heartache and loss, and He did it all willingly for you and me. There will not be anyone who understands the loss of a child by death or just by sending them out of your home to college like our God.
When I sit and I think about sending now three of my five children off to school, I am so blessed beyond measure and so very proud of my children for all they are doing for the Kingdom, but I also know that during this time of walking this journey of sadness that my God understands it all. He is the one who heals my broken heart and gives me joy in the midst of my sorrow. God will be there when I miss the way my family used to be. He will be there to encourage me and remind me that I will always be there mother, and always be an important part of their life. He will be with me when I miss everything about them, about their sense of humor, their homework issues, their conversations into midnight about their struggles and hurts. He will be there on their birthdays when I don’t get to see them face to face and watch them blow out candles. God will be there to hold me when I miss the light and life they brought into this home and their friends who became like family. He will be with me when I lay my head down at night and miss giving them a hug each night and telling them I love them and that I believe in them. Through all the worries that I will worry, He will be there to calm my anxious heart and soothe me into His calm. He will also be with me when I get those late night calls that they just failed a paper or when something happened that was amazing, because He will remind me that I was one of the first people they chose to call. He then will remind me of the endless possibilities that await them in their lives and that a special journey has begun. Even in that my eyes will be filled with tears of thankfulness for all God has done and continues to do in their lives. I will be reminded of all the moments that God was there beside me walking the journey of raising my kids with me. He reminds me that he has always been there and will always be there right beside my precious children and right beside me. God will be there to get me through each new faze of adjusting to the new normal until I am able to see more clearly that it is a beginning of a new chapter for all of us and not an end. While I look back and hope that I’ve done most things right or right enough, I know one thing for sure, that God has been our rock through the journey of me being their mom, and He will be our families rock wherever life takes us. Apart or together we all serve a God that always bring us back together.