Today is another Monday in the life of me, aka “Mom.” Every Monday brings the typical responsibilities no matter what the weekend held , even if the weekend captured the moments of a child’s step off of my path, onto his own.
This past weekend we graduated our fifth child from our homeschool. While the house calls out out for the cleaning up of the remains of the festivities from the rich fellowship of the weekend, I’ve opted to take some moments for reflection and replenishing – the kind of heart-healing that can only be given by my Heavenly Father. I am choosing a quiet time with Him before I jump back into the tyranny of the urgent and the pressures of the fast-paced family life that will never quite be the same again.
Being the mother of seven, with ages ranging from 25 to nine, there are many milestones that my heart has endured. Over the last ten years I have given birth to my last child, said an earthly “farewell” to my dear friend, endured silent heartaches, graduated five children from high school, married off two daughters, moved to a new state away from three of our grown children to pursue God’s new adventures for us, and welcomed two grandsons into the world.
My mind and body have learned to carry on through the heart pains and parent pride moments, but I have found that I must take time to allow my Heavenly Counselor to mend my heart in the aftermath of each milestone.
With the first few large life events, I hated the day after, when the house fell silent from the celebrations of the weekend before, as the reality of a changed-forever life brought mourning for what was. That’s not how I view “the day after” anymore.
On THIS day after, I’m exhausted and the house is a wreck; the to do list is bulging from the responsibilities that had to be put on hold while I focused on bringing the milestone to fruition (none of these big events happen without great effort, as you know). My emotions are crying out in a panic, “God, how can I possibly enjoy life without my dear child by my side?!”
But my soul, oh my soul, after all these years, has finally learned that there are ways that my Heavenly Father speaks to my aching parent-heart in a unique and precious way reserved only for the day after.
In this significant moment…
Our abundantly loving God fills my soul in ways that only HE can because He created my soul for such divine communion as this – a time when my tenderized-by-the-milestone soul is able to plead more purely and listen more desperately than I am able to on normal days. In this significant moment He reminds me today, as He does every “day after” that my heartaches are actually growing pains!
On THIS day after, my soul presses me to carve out a significant fellowship time with my Lord so He can show me how to pray for this grown child and how to walk the next section of my own path in the strength of the God’s comfort and closeness.
I’ve got important work to do today that supersedes the return of the routine…
I’m sitting here in purposeful luxury at this moment – indulging in a rare cup of coffee with cream, in my special “devotions spot” in the living room, next to the picture window that overlooks the flower garden as the sunlight pours in on the pages of my Bible. Never mind that it’s my new “large print” Bible because my eyes don’t agree with me that I’m still young. I’ve got important work to do today that supersedes the return of the routine. My important work is to cherish this day – the day to grieve the end of a chapter, honor the years that God entrusted this child into my care, pray for the his new path, and celebrate the days to come!
“…celebrate the days to come…”
I’ve been married 27 years and not all of them have been roses and daisies. Some years have been thorns and thistles; some have been thunderstorms and disaster. But,the last ten years, these years of large milestones, have been the most amazing and glorious of all the years so far! I think it’s the accumulation of time to collect God’s perspective on life over my meager mortal viewpoint. For now, in my mature years, I’m able to see that thorns and thunderstorms bring growth and new beauty. He has taught me that scars can become beautiful when mended by His presence and purpose.
For nearly all of these 27 years of marriage I have read the Proverbs 31 passage about a woman of noble character and I have striven to become her. You know what part has always stumped me? Verse 25, “…she can laugh at the days to come.” I have pleaded for years for God to give me the seemingly unattainable quality of being able to laugh at the days to come. All those prayers and efforts to develop this quality in myself has seemed to no avail. Until today.
First of all, I’m not a fun person. Fun is awkward for me. I’m a deliberate and intentional person, and spontaneity is hard work for this girl! Laughing about anything is just not my strong suit. Not only that, but I’m a future-minded person – planning ahead, preparing for the unexpected, and calculating its cost. How in the world is a girl like me to learn to “laugh at the days to come?!” My good and gracious God, my Friend, gave me an unexpected gift today on THIS “day after.” Tears fall down my face as my soul leaps for joy about this gift – today He showed me something about myself that I’ve been praying for these last 27 years.
God has revealed to me that it is my anticipation of this special time with Him on the day after that qualifies as being able to “laugh at the days to come!” What?! Can this be?! I anticipate the “day after” time with God because I know He will be shaping my spirit, helping me to have joy for the next portion of the journey. I trust that He has good things in store for my family. He has been faithful with each new hill and valley, even each fork in the road where another child finds their new journey on a separate path from mine. I trust his faithfulness more with each milestone. “Laughing at the days to come” is a joyful trust in the One who holds our tomorrows.
The way I feel right now reminds me of the end of the movie Emma when actress Gwyneth Paltrow displays Emma’s joyful dismay in discovering that the deepest desire of her heart has surprisingly come true – that Knightly has asked her to marry him! That same feeling of glorious fulfilling joy is what I am experiencing today as God has told me that my ability to treasure “the day after,” in all of its messy, exhausted, heart-depleted fashion, as a precious day all of its own is what He meant in Proverbs 31:25, that a woman of noble character can “laugh at the days to come.” Learning to cherish the day after is my own kind of milestone moment! Thank you, my precious Father, for giving me the desire of my heart – the ability to recognize, through my grieving tears, through my tired, messy day full of routine obligations, that this is also a sacred day to mourn and mend and look to Him in anticipated delight of the days to come!
My milestone prayer for my son…
“Dear Lord, I thank you for our son that you entrusted to his father and me these past 18 years. You alone know the days that lie ahead for this young man. May you go before him, making the rough places smooth and the crooked places straight. May you go along behind him to comfort and repair when the path has been difficult. As he traverses the mountains and valleys ahead, may they be effective in his growth, producing wisdom and strength. May you keep his feet in the center of your will and his heart turned always toward you. May his passion for you be stronger than the temptations of the world and your guidance be louder than the distractions. Surround him with people who encourage him to rise above pitfalls, who lift him to new heights, who challenge him toward greater victories than ever before, and who love him sincerely and even sacrificially. Give him the courage to bring you glory instead seeking his own accolades and continue to show him that you and I love him unconditionally. Help me to allow him to stumble and explore but to also know when to speak up in wisdom or even admonishment, but only when YOU want me to. May I be a good listener, his greatest fan, and his biggest prayer warrior. And then, dear Lord, please teach my heart how to walk on my road without him near, how to live at a further distance that gives him freedom and growth, allowing us to become life long friends that bring mutual edification in a deep indescribable bond of love. And help me always to live in joy and anticipation of the days to come, exemplifying to my children that your ways are worthy and wonderful.”
Walking this Journey right along with you,
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