We have in the hallway leading to our boys’ bedrooms a cross-stitch piece I completed a few days before Robert was born (21 years, 5 months ago). It is a quote that reads,
“There is no higher calling in life than raising the children God has trusted to our care.”
I have friends who have journeyed to the empty nest. Some went kicking and screaming while others rejoiced that the day was on the horizon when the youngest entered Pre-K.
When Robert approached his high school graduation, I went to Highlands for a few days of alone time to examine where I was in this process of my call to full-time motherhood. I packed my used copy of Carol Kuykendall’s jewel, Give Them Wings, along with boxes of tissues and fresh paper in my journal. I justified the trip as worthy because I needed to evaluate my identity and calling since half of my reason for mothering full-time was about to spring from the nest.
Instead of picking up an indication I needed to develop a new hobby in my new state of mothering one at home and one away, I sensed an even stronger pull from God to recommit my calling as a mom to be the best I could be for David. Involved in this was the clear communication in my spirit from God that I needed to nurture more and control less. He gave me my orders to finish the high school years for Him and for David and not for the parents’ association, not for the fame of being at school volunteering, and not even for the weekly Moms In Touch group I had faithfully attended since Robert’s 4-K years. I was to draw aside with God on my own during David’s remaining years and focus on praying for him specifically and enjoying relaxing rather than running in my then-typical frenzied way to be “Mother Superior”.
After the time alone, the boys all came up and we celebrated Mother’s Day that weekend of 2007.
It’s now 2010, and David will graduate from high school in a few short days. I have once again returned to Highlands with my copy of Carol’s book and fresh tissue and journal paper. But, this time, I have returned to the same spot and similar place in my life’s journey as a mom more confident in Who my God is and less confident (in a healthy way) in myself and my ability or lack thereof to control my own family and my own life.
I realize that God calling me to more solo prayer time was not only for David’s sake, but for mine, too. His pull for me to retreat from busyness was for a purpose.
I have seen God work in ways that I may have not noticed before with my fast pace and I have seen, too, the preparation for this time in our family’s life due to small tests all along that got us ready to walk in faith and trust down a path of illness we would not have chosen had we the option.
So, David’s graduation is a milestone marker for him. I see it as one for me, too.
A friend sent me a verse the other day that ministered to me greatly. It’s from Psalm 116. When I went to the Psalm in the NLT, I took great comfort in all of it and found it a fitting Psalm for how I feel as I type this reflecting on God’s goodness towards me all my life. Make sure you are reading Psalm 116 on the link in the next sentence…you may have to scroll the page to reach the right one. Read it here.
What’s next, God? What’s next? I’m ready and at peace to handle whatever You have ordained for me. I pray my youngest is ready for what You have in store for him. Make it so, Lord. Grant that I will be the mom You have called me to be at every phase of mothering. May I continue to serve my family in a way that pleases You and represents You here in the home You have placed me during every season of life that remains for me. I’ve so enjoyed this calling. It’s the best thing You’ve ever trusted me to do. I know I have made mistakes along the way and I pray my children won’t remember those or the times when I was not a faithful representative of You. You are the ultimate example of the perfect parent. May I continue to look to You, to seek Your advice, to thank You in trials and joys. Give me the courage to give my sons appropriate space to stretch their wings and let You catch them. Move me out of the way. Continue to prepare my boys now men to be salt and light in the world, to represent You in a way that makes You proud, to become men who will be faithful to You and their families. Give them a boldness to speak Your Word all the time and not compromise it for the sake of pleasing man or for the sake of any selfish motive on their part. My job in this season is done and I await the next with great joy for what You have planned for them and their futures, and what you have planned for me and Rob. Thank You.