There is a concept especially popular in college basketball where some of the best high school players are offered scholarships to prestigious universities where they play for one year and move on to the NBA. The universities hope the players will help them win a championship; the players hope the university and the status/recognition they receive while playing there will help to earn them a top draft spot into the NBA. The relationship is short-term, noncommittal, perhaps…self-serving. One and Done.
Often, perhaps too often, I risk vulnerability. Multiply that vulnerability times about 100, and I lay out the current cross I bear, the present crossroads in which I find myself. I risk capturing my thoughts in writing so that I don’t forget God’s faithfulness, so that I don’t forget the lessons He teaches, and perhaps just maybe to let others who struggle with similar circumstances to know they aren’t alone. Although I have to warn you, the circumstances I find myself in my seem so very petty, so pathetic. And yet, here I am.
Since I was very young, I felt my calling in life was to be a wife and a mom. That is my passion, my calling, my wholehearted desire in life. And God has blessed me with not only a husband who is my best friend, my love, and two beautiful children, but also with the ability to work with and beside them everyday for the last 18, 14, 12 1/2 years respectively. Most parents, I suppose, go through a kindergarten separation anxiety when their wee ones go to school at 5 years old. I never had to go through that…not really. Ben and I have always taught at the school that Liz and Nate attend. All that we do has always been together…as a family. Sure, there have been days and times that the proximity has been difficult, but those times are few and far between. I have cherished our closeness.
I’m so thankful to still work with Ben and to still have Nate at our school. But part of me, part of our family won’t be there this year. And that emptiness is overwhelming at times. I know, I know. She’s just going down the street to high school. I know I’m pathetic. I understand that I’m a sap, a pansy, perhaps a bit of an emotional mess.
However, I feel as though my heart is emptier. My purpose is wavering a bit. Like what is to come next can’t compare to what was. Like I’m a one and “done-er”. The best is over.
I’m not so much worried about what she will face in high school, the new challenges, the new friends, the thought of her driving in a few years, or…GASP…the possibility of her being courted or going on group dates. Though I do, of course, think of those things and pray the God will continue to lead, direct, enable her to make choices that boldly stand for Him and to allow His light to shine through her. I am at peace where God has placed Liz for high school. I know she will thrive there. My conflict isn’t that noble. …sigh… No, my conflict is selfish. It is more along the lines of…What does this life transition mean as far as my mothering? My purpose? My calling?
I know, I know…selfish. And yet life’s transitions hit me hard at times. And self-preservation kicks in.
And this particular transition makes me question if I’m all dried up, used, up…a one and “done-er”.
In all honesty, I think my “what is my purpose?” questioning and my “loneliness” is not only due to Liz leaving our school after being there with us for 11 years, but it is due to all the other changes we’ve been through in the last 18 months–my dad and grandma’s deaths, our ministry being attacked harshly last year, Liz getting older, my turning 40 (ugh) etc. etc. I also feel lonely not only for Liz but for her classmates and their parents who we are close to and many who I won’t see very often any longer. I guess I just feel nostalgic for “what was”.
AND I feel old and dried up at times, like my role as “mom” is changing. What else do I have to offer that will fill the void?
I have many friends who are making transitions this week as well. They are taking their babies and dropping them off at college. And though my separation anxiety is not to the same degree as what they are experiencing, I can at least relate to their tears.
God is using this time to teach/remind me that life’s transitions are often so hard. God’s been showing me to keep my eyes on Him and allow Him to be Lord–not my parenting, my ministry, my purpose. These roles are often temporary or at least changing. But He is forever. These other things are good, but they can NEVER be my idols. They can never replace Jesus as Lord of my life.
God is speaking fresh to me through Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
This verse doesn’t just apply to our children’s futures as they transition to new stages; and yes, their futures are bright and as parents we are super excited for them. But this verse applies to us moms/parents as well. He’s not a God that says you are all done and used up and have no other purpose. Nope. He’s a God that has the best plans and future for us as well.
He is NOT a “one and done” God. He is not One who says, “Now that life has changed, I don’t have any other plans for you. I don’t have anything good left for you to offer or to offer you.” That is NOT our God.
And even when our time comes to pass on into eternity, He doesn’t say to us, “You’re DONE!” No. Instead, in His gentle, loving voice, He says, “‘WELL done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!'” Matthew 25:21
And the difference between “WELL done” and “You’re DONE” is the difference between serving THE God and allowing anything else to be our idol.