Mothering means lots of changing seasons.
Done correctly, it means there will be sleepless nights and hot tears on your pillow. It means lots of messy moments and endless challenges. It means robust celebrations and a million prayers.
In essence, the role of mother requires you to teach your kid not to require you anymore. It means your kids will grow up and leave you behind. And trust me, you will never be ready for that moment.
The moment of separation.
When my boy completed his training as a fire fighter in Charleston, S.C., he called to tell me about the details of his graduation ceremony. He was so happy. It made the fact that he lived 1000 miles away almost worth it to know we’d finally be celebrating his dream of becoming a firefighter.
“Mom,” he continued excitedly, “The Chief will there to present my diploma personally. She’ll shake my hand and give me my official badge. I’m even allowed to ask someone to walk on the stage with me! It’s supposed to be a person of importance. A person who has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a firefighter.”
I waited for it. In my mind, I could see us walking across the stage, me beaming with pride and smiling as I pinned the DYKSTRA badge on his crisp blue uniform shirt.
He continued, “Mom, I asked Kym to walk with me. I’m going to marry her this summer and it seemed like the right choice. I didn’t think you’d care. You don’t care do you, Mom?”
The proper response to change.
Now, what I wanted to say is, Listen, Mister, NO ONE on this earth loves you as much as I do. NO ONE has done more to get you to where you are today. Of course I care! I want to be the one to show you off and tack that badge on your shirt. I am your mother! What are you thinking!
But, I didn’t say any of that. What I did manage to say was, “Eli, I think that’s a great idea. I will be in the audience cheering every step you two take. I am so proud of you. From now on, I will always be your second-best girl.”
“Thanks, Mom. I can’t wait to see you.”
I got off the phone and just bawled.
Just like that, the season changed.
I had done such a splendid job of raising my boy that he didn’t need his mommy any more. He could solve his own problems. He made great decisions. He knew how to take care of himself and his soon to be wife.
From the best seat in the audience, I watched with pride as Eli and his beautiful fiancee accepted congratulations and honors at the graduation ceremony. I clapped and cheered as she pinned his badge on his shirt. I smiled and snuffled as they took yet another step toward their future as one.
I’m so glad I didn’t get in the way. It was painful to let go, but it was time for a season change. God knew that season was coming, just like he knows when your season is about to change.
I lean on knowing how much God loves me so I can trust him when I’m standing firm in a tough season or making my way into a new one.
Prayer for your new season.
I realize there are seasons for everything. That can be good news if you’re in the midst of a nasty one, but what if you like where you are? It’s my experience that changes are not always welcome. I hardly like them even when they are my idea!
If you’re in a comfortable season, enjoy it! If you’re in a season of transition, hang on and watch for God to move. I pray you have the courage to stay the course or the courage to get out of the way. I pray you have the discernment to know which one to do.
How about you? What season are you in right now and how does it feel? Leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what’s happening in your life.
Scripture: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
Prayer: God, Lead me in and out of season. Draw me to you and into my future. Help me to trust you when it seems terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Give me the discernment to know what to do when. I lean on the fact that you love me and want the best for me.