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December 12, 2017

Gathering Stones: Kids All Grown – They are Solid Stones

This May marked the year that our youngest, our baby girl, graduated from the university.  She graduated from Dallas Baptist University, Suma Cum Laude in a degree of Elementary Education with various certifications from what is considered one of the top universities for Education in the US.  Then just yesterday she signed her contract to teach at Terrell ISD, just south east of Dallas.  Today as we travel she is debating living arrangements. —- All grown up!

As a mom I have always enjoyed every season of growth with each kid.  Each season with each kid had different challenges – never the same challenges, that would be too easy!  But I have loved every season, Randy and I took pleasure in watching and helping them to mature, take responsibility, be formed into uncompromising followers of Jesus who live their lives well.  I was never the mom that cried at Kindergarten graduation, ect.  I did and do take pictures – absolutely, but was always excited to see the next step, the next season of growth.  Sometimes I even felt guilty for the lack of tears.  However I have to admit that a month ago as Randy and I pulled away from DBU for the last time (Hannah stayed several more weeks with her roommates.) I had a twinge in my heart.  Then yesterday as we drove into Terrell for Hannah to sign her contract I had this sense of empty arms.  I think because I felt a bit like I was losing a portion of my role in life, a portion of my identity.  I am officially a mother of ALL young adults!  Adults that take responsibilities, work hard, play hard, have more wisdom than me – but don’t tell them that, and love Jesus with all their hearts.  I have also realized until this point I had determined to be a parent not a best friend, so it didn’t matter if they ‘liked’ me or not.  I loved them too much to be worried if my decisions made them like me.  But now as they stand on our shoulders and go further I find myself concerned, even fearful, do they like me.  I will love them forever, but I don’t want to love them from afar, I want to love them close, involved in their young adult lives.  Then I have to remind myself that I was NEVER embarrassed of them.  I sowed true love in each of them.  Therefore, I will reap that they will always be proud of me and they want me involved to some extent in their lives.  I cannot bow to man pleasing or my fears!  Unacceptable!  Not truly loving my kids at any stage!  My life is changing.  My role as mother is shifting to a placeI have never been.

Our youngest baby…

I will always be Josiah, Bethany and Hannah’s mom and now I consider myself to be a second mom for Brandi and Boone, a title I wear with pride.  I would be the first to admit that they are not perfect, but close!  They really are amazing!  I know it is the keeping Grace of God.  He has done a mighty work in and through each of them and continues to this day.  I guess the two things I am most thankful and most proud are the facts that they all love Jesus with all their hearts and that they are living life well.  They know how to work, pay their bills, treat people with kindness,  to struggle but not give up.  I appreciate those qualities.  Each has found grace to live life well, to make MOSTLY good choices and take responsibility.   They are mature young adults.

However full my heart is, it is also fluttering.  Those past times of attending athletic events,  praying for starting positions and wins, hugs, wiping tears, coloring together, school projects, tucking them in bed, laughing so hard at the simplest things, trips to the zoo, mission trips (now their leading mission trips); those memories are becoming more and more like puffs of smoke.  So my heart has been trying to find a way to hang onto to those puffs of smoke.  Then it dawned on me!  They are not puffs of smoke, they are stones of remembrance.  Those memories, those successes and challenges of raising kids are stones on the altar of remembrance that I can stand on as a living sacrifice to God.  I am not losing, I am gaining!

I have given my children over to God from conception, but I have so enjoyed stewarding them for the Kingdom.  God gave me a verse the other day as we were praying specifically with Hannah for her decisions that will so impact her future.  “I have taken responsibility for you. (Is. 42:6)” – God.  My kids are God’s responsibility.  HE orders their steps.  HE makes a way for them when there seems no way.  He opens doors and closes them.  HE sees them.  HE knows them.  Therefore the memories that I have are more than precious treasures, they are stones.  Stones that remind me of the goodness of God.  Stones that remind me of His steady presence.  Stones that remind me of His Joy.  Stones that remind me of His tears.  Stones that remind me of His adventures then and to come.  Stones of the greatest gifts that with which God has ever entrusted Randy and me.   They literally provide for me as a mother an alter to stand on, to offer myself everyday to God that He might live through me and bring His Kingdom bigger.  Those stones of memories of my children when they were younger are significant in the alter of remembrance, because I stand on them, not pine for them.  I stand! They are solid not a smoke.  There is eternal substance in these memories.  I stand!  They are more about my future, my kids’ future, than our past.  And the memories are memories, not flesh and blood.  My children are alive and thriving right before me as young adults.  What’s not to celebrate!  I don’t want to miss living with my young adult kids today because i am living in a smoke of memories that have no substance, these are not memories of solid stone.  When I use them in the altar of remembrance, they become solid stones and I can really live today.  I can celebrate.  I will stand on the memories but live with my children today and make more memories, and add more stones to all our altars of remembrance so that we can all go higher, reacher further in the Kingdom as living sacrifices!  Memories with our children are beautiful and deserve to be celebrated!  Memories of our children are the best stones!  Solid.

Into our youngest young lady!

Originally posted June 17th, 2017