I am definitely at a crossroads in my life, or that’s how I feel anyway. I took the time to look up what the word “crossroads” means and I think I am the living definition.
“The noun crossroads is great for describing a point in your life when you have to make an important decision, like when you need to choose whether to attend college or backpack across Asia. Though a literal definition of crossroads might be something like “the point where two roads meet” it is more often used in a figurative way, to mean a situation that requires some important choice must be made ” (Vocabulary.com)
Well, I am not getting ready to go to college and I have no desire to backpack across Asia, but I do feel like I am at a juncture of what WAS, what IS and what WILL BE.
I am no longer the mom of children, I have a teen and young adults. They are mostly self-sufficient and require little from me; and I am beginning to wonder what my purpose is. What is supposed to happen now? I am not needed in the same ways I used to be needed and sometimes, with two trying their best to forge their own way in life, I struggle with feeling unwanted. Where do I fit in to all of this change?
This is an unsettling season.
I talk to other parents who are either empty nesters or all of their children are still bustling around their home and I get many answers ranging from utter joy to surrender and chaos.
I miss the chaos.
I miss being needed for everything and nothing. Yes, I know I complained about it at the time, but I didn’t mean it. It felt good way down deep inside to be the only one who could meet the demands of my little ones. To be the one they wanted when something went wrong. To be the one they looked to when life seemed scary; to wipe the tears and share in the thrill and joys of discovery.
I loved being that person.
And now, here I sit on a lazy afternoon wondering where the time went. Watching Hallmark channel, writing to you and feeling forlorn. No one needs me right now, not physically anyway. Don’t worry, I understand the importance of a mother in one’s life, I’m not saying that I am no longer necessary, I’m just not needed like I used to be. Maybe I’m having pity party; maybe it’s more of a slow revelation, whatever, it’s hard.
That’s what was.
I’ve been to two weddings so far this summer and my niece is getting married at the end of the year. One wedding was on the beach, it was a lovely affair. The other in a more rustic setting with a beautifully decorated barn for the reception. It was charming. My niece will say “I do” in a church building and we are already talking about white lights and everything sparkly. All of this wedding talk has me on an emotional roller coaster flying through all sorts of feelings at warp speed. Laughing one minute, crying the next, anticipating milestones on the top of one hill, wishing time would stop on the bottom of another. How can it already be time to talk about weddings?
Life is changing, moving, growing all around me, and I’m holding on for dear life.
This morning my youngest left for what will be a total of three weeks to be a camper and a camp counselor. As he was backing out of the driveway I just kept thinking, “How can he be old enough to do this?” And yet, there I stood at the end of the driveway in my unsightly housecoat and red slippers waving as he sped on his way. I felt like running after him and going with him, but I know the time has come to let him go. Not just to let him go, but to encourage him to go and live the great adventure God has for him.
But, I am selfish and I don’t want him to leave.
I recently had a discussion with my twenty year old son about some tough changes he was going through. He has such wisdom to be so young. One thing he is adamant about is appreciating and even celebrating the person God made you to be and not finding your identity in another person, career choice, money or anything else. After a lengthy heart to heart about his current situation, the Lord spoke so quietly to my heart that I had to lean way in to hear Him. Something my son said resonated inside of me. But it took until the next day for me to put all the pieces together.
“That’s what you’re doing,” the Lord spoke into my heart.
“What, Father, what am I doing?”
“You’re finding your identity in your children, in a season of life that is coming to an end for you.”
“Well, Lord, I’ve loved being a mommy and I’m not sure what to do with myself now that they are leaving the nest. I am afraid and I feel lonely. What if no one needs me? What if I am forgotten about? What do I do with my time? What if…?”
So many questions come to my mind; so many uncertainties. I have no idea what life is going to look like for me in the very near future and honestly, I loved the season I was in. The loss of it is something I need to grieve. I want to be careful not to LIVE in my grief, but I don’t want ignore it either.
I know what sorrow is.
I have stumbled down the dark road of loss and I understand exactly how it feels. But, I have also felt the sweet presence of joy in the midst of it. Like the taste of salty tears on the lips of a heartfelt smile, joy and sorrow, they can coexist.
That’s what is.
I have more. I felt these words as an impression that my sweet Savior deposited into my heart. There is more. When my children have all moved out one by one and each one has forged their own way, I will be living in the “more.” I am holding on to that truth with both hands.
I am left thinking about a verse I read in my Bible study earlier, Ephesians 3:20 communicates it so beautifully.
“Now to him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
After reading this verse, my mind quickly grabbed onto the phrase “immeasurably more.” What in the world must that mean? For the God of ALL creation to say “I can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine” is one of the most exciting thoughts I’ve had in a while. I’m not sure I’ve really wrapped my mind around what that could mean, but I’m going to spend some time trying. I’m not thinking about the THINGS He might be willing to give me; I want my heart to long for MORE of HIM.
HE is the real satisfier of our longings.
I no longer want to find my identity in the abundance of my life. As wonderful as it all is, it will never keep me supplied with what I really need. So, I will take the advice of my twenty year old and look to heaven and within to find my identity, my hope, my joy and, yes, even my sorrow. All of it together makes me, ME.
My life season should not define me.
And I am going to take Ephesians 3:20 to heart and pray for the immeasurably more in these changing days of life.
I know this will be a process. It will take time, and these days it seems like I have more of that on my hands.
That’s what’s to come.