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.
Those seasonal changes/events/milestones/bumps in the road take your heart in your hands and Jesus take the wheel holy moments. Gentle talk to me mom-ents ! I am sorry and I am glad to walk with you. Good for you, girl! Thank you for sharing.
No lie, Kathleen. Parenting isn’t for cowards. lol
Thanks for writing.
Robyn. I am in a challenging season right now, my husband lost his job and he is the major bread winner, my 24 year old is struggling but my youngest son is doingoing well. It seems every baby step I take forward I take 10 giant steps back. I feel lost.
Christine, I hear your heart cry. Ugh, so hard.
You didn’t ask for advice, so I’ll just pray.
Lord, you see this family and the dire situation they are in. I’m asking for a new job for this man. A job that pays well and fulfills him. I’m asking for you to affirm Christine. Remind her that you you love her and see her and are with her and for her. I pray also for her oldest child to be led to a remarkably good future. Nothing is too hard for you, God so hear our cry and answer our prayers. amen
I am in a point that I want a change but don’t know the right way to go yet in my life
You are not alone.
I pray that you hear from God and have perfect clarity for what’s next.
In Jesus Name amen.
Outstanding! The grace you’ve shown calls for two tear soaked tissues and a standing ovation. Thanks for sharing you’re heart and wisdom with us!
Thanks for that affirmation. 🙂
You are the best of encouragers.
This is very timely for me. After several years, I have to get a new primary care physician,as my insurance is not covering him anymore,after May 31st. I think the Lord has helped me find one that I will like,but I am not looking forward to making the change. I know He will help me with this change ,but I would appreciate your prayers,that God will help me with this change. I guess when you’re almost 75, change is not always something we enjoy,but I thank God we have him to go to ,& we can know He will help in any situation .God bless you.
You are not alone in your reluctance to embrace change.
I do pray in agreement that this new Dr. is a great fit for you and your insurance.
Well done, Sista’!
This coming August, marks 7-years since my Dad went to be with the Lord.
I’m a grown adult with a husband, children and grandchildren.
Mom has decided to throw her children a curve ball this year my accepting a marriage proposal from a widower with no children.
She planning to move out of our families centennial farm house and move in with this man that we don’t really know.
This is moving way to fast for us. Mom and dad were married 52 years when he passed. The man who she said yes to is in his early 80’s. She is in constant care of him but we don’t see him doing the same for her. She drops what she is doing and tend to his needs. But doesn’t drop what he is doing to take her to the doctor etc.
Mom has agreed to meet with her 4 children with on Mother’s day per our ongoing request.
We the children, do not really know this man. We have tried to have conversations with him with no positive response.
I pray that God plants the seeds in our minds that we plant the right seeds. A loss of another parent by a hasty marriage ? breaks my heart.
How long did you pray before providing a answer to your son? Amazingly you have to be very careful with your words, it’s difficult to pull them back into your mouth.
Ouch, that is a curveball. I hear your compassion – that you want your mom to be happy but the concern about his character.
We widows have a saying. “We want a man who doesn’t need me to be a nurse or a purse.”
When you meet on Mother’s Day, make sure your mom understands that you are not opposed to her happiness or even her remarriage. That she is a grown woman and you understand that you don’t get a vote on her decision, but because you love her, want to know she is going to be loved and adored and cherished. Ask her to tell you all the good things about this man before you express your concerns.
You might want to tell her that you are not trying to protect your inheritance, and that the relationship she has with you is the most important thing you want to preserve. Ask her to help you find the space for her to be happy and you don’t feel like you’ve lost her?
God Almighty, lead this conversation. Let no weapon of the enemy or the flesh interfere with the preservation of relationships between parent and children. Guide the conversation to a winning understanding of hearts. Lord, we love you and trust you. Amen.
I am so proud of you Robyn! You did the right thing. When our son got his wings (he’s an Air Force pilot) he was dating Andrea but not engaged etc. so his Dad pinned on his wings with me right next to him. His Dad had also been in the Air Force so it was fitting. I have always told him that Andrea is first in his life now that he is married. I had a terrible mother in law who just couldn’t let go, and I was determined not to be like that. My problem is when they visit here from Florida it’s ALL her family. She has two sisters and of course her parents. Now that I am a widow (2 yrs. next Sunday-Mother’s Day) I would like to be included in their family time but it just doesn’t happen. They were both brought up in the church but do not attend a church and they just need the Lord in their life. They have been very successful and you know how that goes – they don’t “need” the Lord. I continue to pray the Lord will send someone in their life to change their thinking.
Congratulations to your son for meeting his goal as a Fireman.
First, so sorry for the loss of your man and now the secondary loss of time with your kids.
Asking God to intervene and woo them back to him and asking for time with them. The devil will try to make you feel like it’s hopeless and you aren’t important, don’t listen – he’s a liar.
As you keep being a support and cheerful encourager to your son, he will make the time for you.
I don’t know the whole story, but text and call him, too, it’s possible he feels like you don’t need him.
Love you, Ruth. Believe there is a better future coming.
Robyn, thanks for sharing . There are so many joys and changes in being a mother. Even though you were disapointed with Eli’s decision, I love your response. We love our children even though we have to let go and be very proud of what they do.
My season of transition is being a widow but I’m grateful that God gives me peace and he has given me three wonderful children and their families who are always there for me.
Ooooh, you nailed it, Jackie.
Great to see you on Friday at Youth Haven.
I remember the first time I met you at Doster Community Church, at ladies luncheon.
I found you on line looking for a speaker for our ladies group, I talked to you on Saturday AM & you invited us (
Sharalyn Downing & Nancy Eggleston) to see you at the Church. We called the Church to make sure they had room witch they did. We got you to come to our ladies retreat in Shipshewanna at the Essenhuaus.
God moves in many ways. So happy you are doing so well & blessing so many women. Hoping to have you come again to one of our ladies retreats or your at one we can attend.
Thank you Robin
I remember that, too. Wasn’t there an earthquake that day?
Always great to hear from you. And YES, I’d love to come back and speak at your next women’s retreat.
Such a pleasure to hear from you and thanks for all you do to make Jesus known.
I think you did the right thing. That is easy for me to say but I also want you to know I realize how hard that must have been. I am proud of you for letting God lead you to the right decision. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us.
Thanks for your affirmation, Jeanne!
It is sooo difficult to raise them well with God’s help and then let go!! Especially when they are boys!! And grandmothering may not be at all how we have prayed and envisioned it so we just keep on praying for God’s wisdom! So brace yourself! It is no surprise to God!! It involves many tears, heart aches, and trusting God, but it usually means, “Yes! You raised him well AND you did the right thing!”
Thanks for writing, Lynn. Life is full of surprise endings! lol
I appreciate the head’s up about grandmothering.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do in this season. A week ago my daughter’s boyfriend of 5 years asked me for permission to marry my daughter. Today, my girl calls me to say “M” flipped out and threatened to burn all her belongings and her dog. She had to file a police report. My heart breaks for him and her. I love that boy. He is a part of our life. But of course my daughter did the right thing. Praying for both of them. They are hurting.
Lord have mercy, what a nasty turn. So proud of your daughter and of you for raising her to make good decisions. I’m so sorry that it came to this ugliness. Praying for God to douse his peace on you all.
My big thing right now is my too independent 92 year old mother who is two hours away. Thankfully she has a good neighbor.
On a different note, when I graduated from nurses training my fiance surprised me by coming and did my pinning. Like you, my mother was a good mother and let him do it. Blessings. Linda
Aw, thanks for sharing this with me, Linda. Sounds like you have a good mama.
I know it’s hard when you want to care for them and they are so far away.
I would have done the same thing! As a matter of fact I sort of have. My adopted son had some pretty important events coming up for his senior year. Although I was the one there for the milestones he had been through and had backed him financially I knew his natural mother would want to be the one in the limelight at that time. I stepped back but he knew I loved him with all my heart and that’s all that mattered to me!
WOWOWOWOW! Delinda, that demonstration of love and humility made me cry. Well done, Girl.
You bless me with your story.
Your response was very admirable and perfect. I’m not sure I would’ve handled it as tactfully.
You are right because we all go through different stages, at different ages, and very different ways. Sometimes we handle them with strength and sometimes barely making it day to day or month to month. We just have to keep our faith in God and be see steadfast even when we keep falling.
Hey Linda, My reaction was Divine, as you can tell from the story! My natural reaction was not pretty, but Holy Spirit’s intervention saved me the grief of regret and kept bitterness from blooming. I’ve reacted badly enough times to recognize the difference. Sounds like you have, too. 🙂 Thanks for writing with wisdom.
I was sitting right there with you feeling your pain….I understood how you felt so torn. I have been there in many ways. Being the mother of one child, it was a position I have been in more than one time.
For me the time of transition seems to be approaching for a ministry that God has had me develop for the past 11 years. While it has been successful and has grown enormously, I get the feeling that my time as head of this endeavor may be reaching an end. From a $50 Christmas present that God inspired me to turn into a Christian event that has turned into a 501c3 Public Charity…..I have followed God’s lead every step of the way. But the last 6 years have brought much change in my husband and my life. A failed business, a bankruptcy that moved us to another town where God had I start a Bible Study that we have led for 6 years…and now….there will be more work for Him. While the details are not clear, I know He has more work for us. I question whether my time with the charity is coming to a close. I pray that God will bring someone forward to take my place….and that He gives me the ability to step down gracefully when that time arrives.
First, can I say, “Well done!!!”
I pray that God’s leading is so clear you never look back and question your decision. I pray for you to ask for a successor and that he/she appears soon so you can mentor and train them.
Lord, Bless your girl, Judith with favor and discernment as she trusts and follows you in this next season. Amen.
Way to go, Robyn! Grace under fire! God will always bless doing the right thing, though it isn’t often easy. Had you said what you were thinking,
it may have backfired on you and caused division between you and your son. My son is engaged at the age of 38 and is getting married for the first time in November. There’s times when his fiance (who comes from a family of addiction), is kind of mean to my son. I just have to bite my tongue. It’s their journey, not mine. My son is just a sweetheart and doesn’t always advocate for himself (Hey where did that come from? me, but I’m learning). Anyway, the least and the most we can do is pray for our children. No matter how old they are, our heartstrings will always be with them.
You are so right! We watch them make decisions and celebrate. Even if it means possibly cleaning them up later.
I do think we are allowed to speak truth into them and if we see flags to ask if they see them, too, then stand back.
All the best to your son and his new wife this November.
YOu are going to be a terrific Mother-in-law.
THIS is exactly what I needed to hear at this moment. Laying in bed thinking about my children growing up and feeling the emptiness as a tear rolls down my cheek. Thank you for this wisdom. You handled it beautifully. Because of your wisdom shared, Robyn, I will handle it differently. I so needed this! Thank you, and Thank God. ??
What we learn about the heart of God by being a mom, right? The heart can stretch waaaaaay more than I thought.
Perfect. You now know all those restless and tearful nights of praying for your son was worth them all. Embrace being “second” favorite girl in his life and he will continue to make those phone calls with excitement in his voice. I am so proud of you!!! Patsy
Thanks Patsy. You’re the best!
A similar situation came my way. My eldest is an Orange County California Sheriff and asked me to co-walk with my husband’s sister but she was asked to pin him while the future daughter-in-law sat in the audience with my husband. The Lord has done a miraculous work in my life. This aunt was never able to achieve her dream of being a wife and mother so she has poured love and time and faith into my children. I didn’t mind sharing this stage. Both of my grandchildren live in other STATES than I -that is heart-itching.
Wow, that was very kind of you.
Way to go. Thanks for writing and for your encouragement.
I would have felt the same way you did and would have done the same thing you did. It is hard when the girlfriend becomes more important at certain events, but I know he loves me and he knows I love him. I am in a stage that I don’t like. Trying to stay out of depression, work on my marriage and trying to enjoy life, but sometimes it is hard and takes alot of praying. I just want to be happy and that’s what I keep telling God and myself. Thanks for listening.
Sure thing, Donna. Glad you wrote.
My key to being happy, (I have recently discovered) is my focus. If I focus on what I don’t have, I tank, but if I’m thankful and cheerful about what is going well or what I have, it makes it easier to be happy.
Robyn… you did exactly what I would have done!
Would cry when I got home!!
I love your response to your son. I know I would have bawled. Probably wouldn’t have been able to speak. I have been in constantly changing seasons for many years. I lost my dad 5/15/13 and my mom on 8/7/16. My oldest son married and moved to Arizona. I went through a very deep depression for several years starting about 6 months after my dad passed. I am finally out of that dark hole and in the light again. I was at PAUSE at CCC and really enjoyed listening to you. I feel as if I am grieving for my son along with grieving for my parents. We used to be close. It’s as if he dropped off the face of this earth. I didn’t think there could be anything harder than losing my mom and dad. I was wrong. Please advise and pray. Thank you.
Oh Girl! So sorry. You’re an empty nesting orphan. You probably are grieving the loss of your folks and your son’s presence in your everyday life.
I wish I had some wonderful cureall to make this all better, but I don’t.
I do know you can mitigate the effects by being thankful in all things.(phil. 4:6)
By focusing on time you had with them and whatever is good now. (eph. 4:8)
and by serving others. and pray.
Don’t wait for your son to call, be sure to initiate conversations with him, and not about how you miss him, but engage him by asking what is new and exciting in his life. Be prepared to talk about the good things in your life, too so he looks forward to your calls.
I wish it were easier. Know that you are not alone and you are loved.
Father, ease Laura’s heart ache. fill her to over flowing with your love and kindness. In Jesus Name amen
If we have kids there is surely different seasons that we go through. My youngest of four is getting married this July. I learned how to let go when my first son got married. I have two girls and two boys. We are not involved in this wedding. I am at peace with that. It’s their day and I am happy for them. They have been living together for three years now.
My oldest daughter I had given up when she was born. The father didn’t want to marry me. I got back together with Mary when she turned 22. There is quite a story to all of this. She was not married yet. I asked her if I could go to her wedding someday with that came. She invited me and my other children. Her adoptive parents were so gracious and included me in everything. It was such a pleasure.
My oldest son, Jason, was not so gracious. His wife to be didn’t want to have anything to do with me. Still doesn’t after almost 20 years. Another story is misunderstandings. I did make their wedding invitations only because I would do it for free. We hardly ever get to see their kids. And that is sad. But I rejoice every time that we can.
My second daughter Stephanie and her guy Jason couldn’t be happier for me to be involved. I make greeting cards and I made her wedding invitations. I had a shower for her and she was delighted. I was a happy Mom of the bride.
I delighted that you could let go and see you son and his gal truly come together and be happy with your choice. Remember that he did ask you.
That was the important part. His girl will always remember that you did even if she doesn’t really know that she is.
God Bless You and have a great day. Enjoy your children while you can. Make concessions because you want to be part of the grandchildren.
Thanks so much for sharing real life, Shirley.
Ouch! But what a sweet blessing to see him take a step to the future in caring for his girl. Good job, mom!