Wednesday, August 21, 2013

College Prep Course

Last Sunday, as I was working at church, I observed a young couple drop off their only child at the nursery.  As is the case with most young children in an unfamiliar environment, the little boy screamed and cried as his parents tentatively walked away.  Witnessing the near-panic in the distressed mother’s face, I came alongside her and said, “He’ll be just fine, Mom”. 

And he was.

That’s kind of how I feel every time I drop off a kid at college for the first time—near panic and unsure of their survival skills.  Except they’re not the ones crying, I am. 

I don’t have to participate in that dreaded exercise this year, (you can read about Luke’s departure here and Tess’ here) but next year, I will do it once again.  And I will cry.  And I will mourn the flight of one more child from the nest that I so carefully prepared for them for 18 years.  This “launching” is always a very sentimental time for me and I spend much time replaying their childhoods in my head.  As I hug them good-bye, I will inhale their scent, reminiscing on the sweet after-bath baby smell that used to intoxicate me when they were young.  I will look in their eyes and envision how dirty-happy they used to be after a full day of making berry potions and mud pies outside.  I will listen to their grown up voices and rehearse the trusting way they used to call out “Mama!” when they had bad dreams at night. As they sit on the bed for their first college photos, I will play and replay our bedtime routines in my mind--complete with music box melodies.  I will remember every picnic in the forest, every lightning bug-catching evening and every song wafting from the swing set. I will remember these things as I embrace my child…and leave my child…and walk down the stairs of the dorm without my child.  Then I will put my sunglasses on as I enter the daylight and let my sorrows about the end of life-as-I-know-it flow out in my tears.  Then I will drive away from my child and feel great guilt over leaving them.  And great fear over trusting them.  And I will want to do a u-turn right there on the highway and drive back to the dorm and rescue them. 

But really, it’s me that I would be rescuing.  My child is fine with her new life.  She is excited to move on and move out.  She is exhilarated by fresh independence.  Her life is finally her own.  She’s ready to run towards her goals and hopes and dreams.  Childhood has been achieved and conquered.  She is ready to grow up. 

And I need to let her.

And while I am struggling, I can thank my Father for the privilege of raising her.  I can rejoice in His sovereignty over her life.  I can ask Him to guide her and protect her as she is away from my ever-watchful eyes.  And I can trust that He will hear my prayer…today and every He guides her and forms her into a beautiful reflection of Himself. 

Because He loves her even more than I do.

I can’t imagine that. 

She’ll be just fine, Mom.   And so will you.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Matthew 10:29-30

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Panda on Fire

Long time no see, huh?  Well, I took a little blog-o-cation and gave myself permission to not write in my blog for a month.  I had to do this because I kept feeling guilty about not posting.  You see, I have been keeping this blog for nearly four years now and I have rarely gone more than two weeks without checking in.   I have also rarely been as busy “doing stuff “(that’s for you Mom) as I have been these last 4 weeks.   
 When I told Tess that I felt like I was burning the candle at both ends,

she was horrified and gasped, “What?!” because what she thought I said was
burning the panda at both hands.


Once we got that misunderstanding straightened out and I explained to her that I had not been abusing pandas, nor had I been burning their hands, I proceeded to explain the meaning of this oft-used colloquial phrase by enunciating the words “candle” and “ends”.  This seemed to clear up her confusion and appease her curiosity, although I did notice that she hid all of the lighters later that day.

This whole job thing has been in high gear lately since my co-worker has been on leave with a family emergency, and I have been thrown into temporary full time employment—something I haven’t done since before we had kids.  (Kudos to all of you moms out there who have figured out how to do that—I think it’s beyond my capabilities.)  I can’t seem to find the time to do all the things I want to do—like see my family and write in this blog--and when I do have the time, I am too exhausted to do them—eerily similar to when I had four little kids. When my kids were small, I never aspired to be the Super Mom you see portrayed on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook these days.  I could barely handle dressing, feeding, and keeping them all alive.  In fact, to cut down on laundry (and bathing) in the summer, I just had them wear swimsuits all season long.  Not only was swimwear completely washable—outside with the garden hose or in the neighbor’s pool—it really never needed to be removed except for the occasionally potty break (which sometimes also happened in the neighbor’s pool). You think I kid.

Sometimes this feeling of being overwhelmed makes me panic.  But in that panic, I have finally learned to run to Jesus.  There is no rushing in Jesus…no chaos…no fear.  It is in Jesus I must learn to find my rest.  My world may continue to spin faster than I like.  My days may never again be at my own disposal.  I may never have time to selfishly do what I want.  But my Jesus stays the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  And I can always bank on that.  His never changing nature comforts and grounds me. 

So this week, when I feel like things are speeding by me at a thousand miles an hour, I’m going to choose to stop…and sit…and steep myself in His powerful Word.  God’s Word changes how I feel about my life.  It tells me how I should think.  It makes my world smaller and God’s purposes bigger.  It tells me this story--His-story--is not about me.

I may never aspire to be Super Mom, but I have a Super God.  And I can trust Him with all this life throws at me.

Even when I feel like I am burning the panda at both hands.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  

Psalm 91:1