I’ve just recently passed an important milestone.
I remember being a young woman with my life stretching out before me like an endless country road. As the days went by I never really thought about what life would look life after my children were grown. I just lived one day to the next taking care of needs and making supper. It’s ironic because I am a planner at heart, but planning beyond high school wasn’t on my radar. Oh, I knew it was coming, but I never planned what I would do with myself once it happened.
My husband and I always said we were glad we had kids young so we could enjoy the years on the “other side.” Meaning, when they were grown we would still be young enough to live some life together. Maybe sow some oates, and I mean that in the most Christian way possible. You know, take a cruise, visit some famous buildings, check out the National Parks blah, blah, blah.
For those of you who’ve followed my journey, you know it’s been a year and a half since my youngest went off to college. He’s doing fine, just swell as a matter of fact. I’m the one who has taken long walks, consumed a lot of hot tea and learned meditation so I could handle the undeniable fact that I was done raising children.
And, trust me, I tried to deny it.
It’s taken years off my life learning to live in this new space called “middle age.” And just when I think, “you know this isn’t so bad,” ANOTHER milestone stands up and slaps me in the face with reality.
My youngest child turned twenty a few days ago and I’m about to lose my mind about it.
I officially have no more teenagers.
Who am I?
I remember seeing those mom’s in church. You know, the ones with no small children to drag along, and no teen in the youth group. She would come into the building all put together; perfect make up, a color coordinated tailored outfit with nail polish to match and every hair in place. I would wonder what it was like to NOT have three little ones in tow as I blew my stringy, freshly anointed with dry shampoo, hair out of my eyes. I was pretty sure my life would be so much simpler, and dare I say it…uncomplicated. But, I never put more than one minute into this inner dialog, I didn’t have time because someone inevitably had to go to the bathroom.
And now…I AM THAT MOM.
But, you know what, unlike the mom’s I THOUGHT I saw, I am never all put together.
Makes me wonder if it was all an illusion, maybe those women way back then weren’t as perfect as they appeared.
My conservative church upbringing burned into my soul that God has a purpose for every season of life, and I believe he does. And my church language is clear, as I hear myself telling another inquiring about my well-being, “I know God is in control, He uses all things for my good and His glory.” There’s absolute truth in that statement, but if I were to open a window into my heart, you might see a different story.
You might see that I’m a mess every time one of these milestones looms on the horizon.
You might see that I deal with jealousy when another mom talks about how much God is doing in her life. Not the jealousy that wishes she wasn’t happy and fulfilled, the kind that wishes I could be like her.
Maybe that’s the root of the problem, I have all of these expectations, or maybe I’m making too many comparisons.
Maybe I’m longing for the life I think I SHOULD be living instead of embracing the one I’m ACTUALLY living.
Maybe I’m looking for purpose in all the wrong places.
Or love… (Couldn’t resist!)
I wish I could type “my future” into Google Maps and have the directions appear.
“Make a right turn out of your driveway, then head south to start your day. More instructions to follow.” Then I would KNOW I was on the right path.
Anybody else out there relate to this? Am I the only one?
My dad, who also happens to by my pastor, spoke to us on Sunday about God’s plan for your life. He assured us God has one. What I didn’t expect was how keenly aware I would be of the time clock, ticking away the minutes, hours and days of my future. I’m not getting any younger and I don’t feel I have time to waste wondering what to do next.
Where are you Google Maps?
What’s the plan, Lord?
My dad/pastor took us to Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
He got my complete attention after reading this verse the apostle Paul penned all those years ago.
I am holding on tight to it.
I wanted to stand up in church and declare it MINE, it is FOR ME.
I need it.
Since a ranting empty nesting mother standing in church to declare in language uninterpretable through tears is not smiled upon, I kept my seat. But, in this place where I write my heart and where I can be fully transparent I declare it MINE.
He who began this work in me is FAITHFUL to COMPLETE it.
And I can say it in writing so you can understand it despite my tears.
I don’t know what’s next for me. I don’t know what I am supposed to do next. Sometimes I think I’ve hatched a plan only to feel it deflate and disappear.
I want to do something.
I guess it will be the next thing.
Come to think of it, that’s how Google Maps works, right?
One piece of the directions at a time.
I’ve learned over the years the Lord can speak through circumstances or people or whatever He chooses. When I see a resonating theme I stop and pay attention because I know He’s saying something.
That’s the theme lately.
“Look back and see I’ve been faithful throughout your whole life.”
So, today, I have my little piece of the directions.
I’m going to remember.
I’m going to look back before this milestone of all my children in their twenties and reflect on God’s goodness. Maybe in the remembering I’ll have more courage to step out in faith without knowing where the plan will take me.
Without Google Maps for comfort.
Guess there’s only one way to find out.
And one more thing, here’s to all the mommas out there with grown children, the ones who look like they’ve got it all together…but really don’t!
Don’t let appearances fool you, we’re all just over here trying to figure this thing out on the “other side.”