I’ve been feeling words rolling around in my heart and mind lately and decided maybe these words aren’t just for me. Maybe you need to hear them too.
Last Saturday, our youngest child graduated from high school. And man, did this one hit me hard! When you graduate your first child……it is weeping and nashing of teeth. You just cannot imagine sending off your first born into the cold, cruel world. But you do……and five years and a LSU diploma later…….she (and you) made it and she’s doing just great!!
When our second child graduated high school, I don’t remember any tears at all. Just feelings of joy, and gladness, and thankfulness and relief that SHE made it and I made it……and we both lived to tell of it!! 🙂 And three years later, she too is doing great!
But that last child……that’s another story. Not only my last child, but my only son. And not just my only son, but the end of a season of parenting and raising children as I’ve known it. I don’t think I was quite prepared for the gammit of emotions that I would be feeling, and quiet honestly, am still feeling. I will always be a mother to my children but my season of RAISING them is over. I’ve done my job the best that I’ve known how to and all three of them are now RAISED. How they choose to live their lives and honor God with their lives……is now up to them. Thankfully, and only by the grace of God, all three of them truly love God and are serving Him beautifully in their own unique way……and as their mother, there is not a greater gift they could give me!
As I’m exiting this season of raising children, I find myself thinking of all you moms who are still deep in that season. And I find myself telling you things in my heart and praying for you and giving you caution as you navigate this oh so important season in your life. So today, I decided to write out the words that I’ve had in my heart for you and pray that these words would encourage you, and secretively wish someone would have spoken these words to me many, many years ago.
(1) EVERYTHING REALLY IS GOING TO BE OK…..REALLY!!
On the other side of whatever you are walking through, as a wife or as mother, it really is going to be fine. When we’re in the middle of “it”, “it” is always magnified 10 million times bigger than it really is. Take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back, set your eyes forward…….and keep walking THROUGH “it”!
Don’t stop. Don’t wallow. Don’t have a pity party.
Just keep walking, keep praying, keep holding onto His promises for you and your children. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
There is the other side. And it’s going to be just fine when you get there.
It may not look like what you envisioned. But whatever is on the other side of what you or your children may be walking through, it will all be ok because God is already there……and you can trust Him completely.
(2) DON’T TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY.
You’re not the worst mom in the world. Really, you’re not!
We are all really trying the best we can. Some days we do good, and other days we’ve messed up really badly. But it’s ok. Tomorrow is another day, with new mercies and new grace for a new day.
When you mess up…..apologize.
When you want to give up……don’t.
When you feel like you’re a screw up…..you’re not.
When you want to blow up…..call a friend.
And when you want to walk away…..run to God.
(3) STOP COMPARING YOURSELF.
Mama’s……STOP comparing yourself to every other mother who you think has it all together. Because they don’t. Your children don’t want you to be the perfect mom. They want you to be YOU. Even with all your imperfections…..they love YOU. Nobody else can be the mother to your children that you can be. If your children needed another mama, God would have given them someone else. But He didn’t…..He gave them YOU and He knew exactly what He was doing!
Of course we are all growing and learning, and aspire to be more Christ-like every single day. But at the end of the day, God made YOU. You, the mother, that at times may be short-tempered, and low on patience, and “I cannot pack another lunch or cook another meal” mama. You may not have the tidiest house or the cleanest car. Most days you don’t know if you’re coming or going. And many days, if you can just glance at your Bible on the end table, you count that as a success! You may be the least creative and most disorganized mother in the entire 3rd grade but your kids don’t care…..they love YOU.
Now…… you start loving YOU!!
(4) Start falling in love with your husband again……TODAY!!
There is a day coming soon, (TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!) that you’re going to look across the room and see that husband of yours and it’s just you and him in the house now. No kids to hide behind, no school activities to stay busy with. No carpooling to do, no field trips to attend, no birthday party’s to go to……just you and that man whom you adored all those years ago when you both said, “I do” to one another.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve thought to myself, “I sure am glad that I deeply love and really like 🙂 Eugene…..or we’d be in pretty bad shape right now!” For years, we’ve counseled married couples, either through our messages on Sunday or one-on-one conversations, to make your spouse the priority over your children. And thank God we practiced what we preached!! Because now we are facing one another in a whole new light and whole new season……..and we’re not dreading it at all!! In fact, once we get over the shock of our last child leaving home, we’re going to be pretty excited about this whole empty nest thing!!
If you haven’t already done it, or you need some encouragement to do better: START TODAY!! Start loving and honoring and investing into your spouse and your marriage….TODAY!! There will come a day when you will thank me for this one….I promise!!
(5) God is good and He is faithful….period.
God is good….even when we are not.
God is faithful….even when we are not.
And God is good and He is faithful to your children…..even if you don’t see it right now.
As I’ve reflected lately back over the years……those are the two resounding thoughts in my head: God is good and He is faithful.
In good seasons of parenting: God is good and He is faithful.
In terrible seasons of parenting: God is good and He is faithful.
When my kids were in a great season: God is good and He is faithful.
And when my kids were in a dark, difficult season: God is good and He is faithful.
As I looked at our family picture at William’s graduation, and saw all three of our children loving and serving God and working to build His kingdom, I was overcome with emotion as I thought: God is good and He has been faithful to our family.
And the same is true for your family and your children: God is good and He is faithful. Even if you’re family picture isn’t what you’d hoped it would be……He’s still good and He’s still faithful.
Psalm 119: 68 “God…you are good and what you do is good.”
A promise to all of us……even us mothers. Especially when we’ve blown it.
Rest, relax, savor and treasure those words: God is good and He only does good. It may not be good now but in the end, it will be good. If it’s not good, it’s not the end yet.
So mama’s, go enjoy your husband and your children and this season of parenting that you are currently in. Stop worrying and fretting and wishing this season away because one day your wish will come true and your season of raising children will be over. Leave your season with no regrets!!
I haven’t been the perfect mother. Are there things I wished I’d done differently? Sure!! Are there mistakes that I’ve made? Absolutely!! Are there areas that I wish I could go back and re-do? Without a doubt!! But I have done my best and I’ve honored God to the best of my ability.
And by the grace of God, I walk out of this season with no regrets.
All because God is good and He is faithful!! Amen!