All of a sudden, my four oldest are out of the house. Though I have 6 left, and an extra kid living here for a year, these 4 have consumed my life, for most of my life. OHHH the ache…..for I have adored doing life with them and my world feels vastly, hugely and painfully different. I KNOW…..it’s all good. JUST ACHES…….
This was my thought one morning early last fall. I wanted to share a few more thoughts now, after having successfully navigated those first few months.
I have home schooled all of my children, virtually all of their lives. I am not the amazing academic teacher that my sister is, though I will tell you my two at Oral Roberts University are maintaining straight A’s. (Much more to their credit, than mine!)
But I am a nurturer. And I am good at teaching very real life and how to live it and love it and thrive. One of my strengths is taking everything that comes along and using it to make teachable moments and life long lessons out of. Whenever we all get together, inevitably I will tell them, with some excitement, “Oh, I have something to share with ya’ll”. To which my oldest son, Josh, always responds, with a smile, “Of course you do Mom.”
I have spent the last 27 years teaching, correcting and pouring everything I can into the amazing children Father has privileged my life with.
All that to say…..as soon as my 4 oldest left home, I was very aware of the fact that my parenting style would have to change to accommodate these “adults” now. Over a decade ago, we had transitioned with them, as early teenagers from expecting obedience to being their primary influencer, based on relationship. But I knew this change was even more than that. I really felt rocked. All new territory, that we had not been before. For those who know me well, you know how my favorite prayer is for the “Lord to perfect His strength in my weakness”. So, I began with that.
And then I sat each of my kids down and humbly and most honestly confessed that I would need them to teach me how to walk this new territory with them. I asked them to please remain honest with me and tell me anything they wished I knew, as they realized it. For example, I said “If one day you think to yourself, I wish Mom would not call me so much. Or even, I wish she would call me more. Then PLEASE TELL ME THAT! Every thing that you figure out that you wish I would figure out, I want you to tell me and I will grow and accommodate. And “Please, be patient with me. I am learning a new life, even as you are. But I want to learn and do this right, by you.”
As I was truly seeking to be the best new mom to “adult” children that I could be, I had a few people speak into my life some pivotal lessons right when I needed them. Fortunately for my kids, I realized they did not need an “object lesson” of everything anymore. I am really trying not to advise them, unless they ask. I probably pray more than ever for each of them. And not desperate prayers, seeking to control in any way any more, but for the Mercies of God all over their lives. That they would continue learning and growing in the Lord, even as I feel David and I still are – every day of our lives.
I love the scripture “Great peace shall my children have, for they shall be taught of the Lord.” It gives me great peace……and joy. I soo believe that they will all continue being taught by Father God Himself and He will guide and protect their journeys. And I trust the Holy Spirit’s ability to move in their lives, even as He does in mine.
It is a special place I maintain in their hearts and lives now and I feel that I am growing and learning so much in this new territory. Now it actually feels sweet to me.
I will admit, I miss the heck out of their daily presence in my home and at my table. And I have shed a few sweet tears over all the lifetime of preciousness shared, that is different now. But I am loving the new rich relationships growing with them and all their significant others. (Their “extremeties” as my sister calls them.)
Embrace each new season, knowing it is ok that you do not know all of it’s lessons yet. Just seek to learn and know that each new season will require you to grow in new and deeper and different levels of love than you may have ever needed before. And that is a beautiful thing, if you will go there, with that heart attitude. And believe me, the Father is always willing to teach us when we are willing to learn. I am taking new joy in my adult children as I watch the unique ways they all process thru everything, with honest hearts before God that seek Him and want His ways.
“ALL IS WELL. ALL IS WELL. AND ALL SHALL BE WELL!” (Jesus to Julian of Norwich) and I believe it!