We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
*This post may contain affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase certain advertised items, I will receive compensation to keep this blog up and running!
The kids came in to celebrate my birthday last Saturday.
Oh, my soul. A mother’s heart never tires of her children all underneath one roof, joking, teasing, hugging, and laughing.
We sat around the breakfast table and talked for two hours about favorite Christian authors and the deep concepts of life.
My girls brought out their favorite books and read excerpts from Bob Goff and C.S. Lewis.
When we’re on an adventure with God we’re too excited to be afraid and too engaged to be thinking of anything else. ~Bob Goff
We discussed what that concept looks like, practically speaking.
How to let go what we grip so tightly in our fists, unwilling to trade change for God’s better.
Unwilling to trust that God’s change is better.
I shared a quote that keeps flitting through the corners of my mind:
Change is the one constant in life.
What kind of changes are you facing today, friend? Do you believe that through your acceptance in transitions, God can grow your faith into hope?
The transitions of change
My four kids are in their early twenties and so excited to live radically for Christ.
But as I sit reflecting on their youthful enthusiasm, I can’t help but acknowledge pangs of fear at what they may be facing down the road.
I want to live radically for Christ, too.
But I’ve also lived long enough to know that there will be upsets, heartache, unexpected change in plans.
I remember setting out for college, marriage, and parenthood, eager for what lay ahead.
Funny, I possessed so much more excitement for the future back then than I do now.
Could it be because I just turned fifty-one?
Before my birthday dinner, my husband thanked the Lord for me, asking for 51 more years…
And I thought, “I just don’t see that happening.”
My dad had outpatient surgery Friday. Instead of the expected return home from the hospital, they kept him until Saturday, due to low oxygen levels.
So in addition to his less than stellar health at my birthday dinner, my mom fainted (which she often does – doctors can’t seem to find the cause).
After dinner and ice cream cake, my husband loaded them both in the car and drove them home…
to the other side of the wall.
Ironic. (They have an apartment above my garage.)
I wonder how many more birthdays I will have with them.
My mother-in-law’s husband almost died last month.
He participated in the birthday celebration too – doctors are still stumped about his medical condition.
The Tiny Tornado, ran crazily, zooming around the corner for freedom, past the uninstalled safety gate (for the elderly’s safe passage), wreaking havoc and shrieking for joy.
His little sister comes next spring.
My middle daughter brought her boyfriend home for the weekend. It’s looking serious.
Some days I think, “Lord, I don’t know if I can take any more change now. Can we just slow life down a bit?”
Hope is a must
Sharing around the table that morning, I expressed some thoughts to the new boyfriend (we’ll call him “NB”) regarding my struggle to grasp the empty nest for a time. (Granted, there is still one kid left. But three out. That’s 3/4’s, sister.)
And one thing I realized during my search for reconciliation with the past versus the present, was that in order to survive and thrive…
…one must have hope.
I lost my hope for a time, thinking my life was over once the kids began to leave.
Mothering was all I ever wanted to do.
But God had more in mind.
Mothering was all I ever wanted to do - but God had more in store. Click To Tweet
He showed me that my life was not over.
That He had work for me to do. People for me to minister to through written words of hope.
I just needed to open my hands, step out in faith, and reach toward what He had shown me.
Darlene Wilkinson in her book, Secrets of the Vine for Women, states that every gift from God on this earth has a time limit.
If I assume that everything I hold in my hand today is mine to keep, I will be deeply disappointed.
Ultimately, I’ll begin to question God’s character and His intentions toward me – and that can spell big trouble.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. That means:
my _________________(fill in the blank)
…it’s not mine. Not really.
I have it because God gave it to me.
And He determines the expiration date of that gift.
Every earthly gift is from God, and He alone determines the expiration date. Click To Tweet
The truth is that you cannot determine or control how long you will have your husband, your children, your parents, your job, your home, or your health.
If you’ll release your emotional ownership of these things, you’ll respond much more positively when the time comes to release back to Him what He so lovingly and willingly loaned you in the first place.
And you’ll be much more able to receive His comfort in your loss as well as thank Him for the time you had to enjoy His gifts. ~Darlene Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine for Women
Letting go isn’t easy.
I’ve been watching my parent’s health slip farther and farther beyond medical control.
Watching my children leave home, become independent, and make adult choices.
The prime of life, as I knew it, has passed. (I’m letting go of age, too.)
But as I shared with NB about hope, I became excited:
“Two weeks ago, I spoke at a women’s gathering about releasing the past and reaching forward to what lays ahead.
And the funny thing is, the speaking engagement venue was the very place I received the call to blog as a ministry.
It was a Beth Moore simulcast about fear. I’d been asking God for three months to address my fear if He wanted me to write.
I knew it was a God thing. I even gave a testimony about it at my church the next Sunday. I entered a blog post about my commitment to step out in faith and write consistently. Whatever God was ready to do in me I was willing.
And then I sat on that thought for 3 more years.
Like a hen, nesting an egg.
Last January, 2015, after grieving for an entire year over the loss of two kids out of the nest at once, I reaffirmed the commitment and began “52 weeks” on the blog, writing a faith-based post each Monday.
God blessed that commitment and continued to lead me to a strong, Biblically sound fellow blogger and sister in Christ. After following her for several months, she sent out a call for those interested in a Christian Blogger’s Bootcamp.
I decided to jump in with both feet.
God lead me to build a new website, and through CBB, I met other women, just like me, seeking to get the Word of hope out to others.
We built friendships and lifelines. I grew in my knowledge of the blogging community, my excitement over the endless ministry possibilities mounting.
I wrote a blog post about releasing regret and moving forward.
Someone saw that blog post and asked me to come speak at the ladies’ gathering.
And hope was born.”
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. ~James 1:2-4
Friend, I got my hope back. I realized God’s not done with me yet! He’s used me to minister to women (specifically moms, but not exclusively), encourage heavy hearts, and share His Words freely.
As I walked outside to watch my daughter and NB load up for the drive back to college, I felt another pang of anxiety.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back in two days for Thanksgiving!” My daughter skipped toward her car.
And I thought, “Oh Lord, let it be. Keep her safe – there and back.” Marveling at the innocence and presumption of youth.
But God is good. And, He loves us so very, very much. He loves my kids more than I ever could because He created them.
They’re not mine, they’re His. And they’re on loan to me.
I unfurl my tight-fisted hands and raise them, palm up, open, accepting, releasing.
Do you find it hard to let go? What comfort have you found to help with this?
We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith. ~Charles Swindoll
A special offer
You may or may not know that I’ve raised a son.
He’s 24 years old.
I still can’t believe I’m saying that.
Anyhoo, a couple months ago, I sat down and pondered the strategies we implemented in the raising of our son, who is now out on his own, living in the big city of Knoxville, Tennessee.
I came up with ten important tips I feel are essential in rearing a confident young man.
Those 10 tips are available to you for free, as my gift to you. Just click on the picture to download.
As we all know, our children each have a will, and that will must be won by Christ in order to be totally used by Him.
It takes a lot of prayer and work, and even then, children can go astray.
I pray every day my son remains true and steadfast in the Lord.
That being said – there is no one-and-done secret recipe to growing your son.
But with these top ten tips, you will be well on your way.
If you have a son or a grandson, I encourage you to read this resource and share with others who are seeking ways to rear their young man to confidence and independence in the Lord!