10 years ago, my husband and I with our two small daughters left our hometown and moved 18 hours away from family, friends and our comfortable place in the world. God called us to a new place and a new adventure with Him. As I stepped off the plane in Gulfport, Mississippi with two very tired and overly excited little girls, my mind went into over drive and it hasn't stopped since! I went into survival mode!
It was just me and my husband and our girls, ages two and seven. We left behind a safety net and began the journey on our own. God always goes before us and prepares the way! He most certainly had all the details taken care of like the sale of our home-in two days, to buying a house I had never seen until closing, a church home that fit our needs, finding a school for my daughter, and friends to love and support us through this transition. It all fell together in His time. I knew we had to survive this and so I went into overdrive making sure we managed this new life that God had placed before us.
We were faithful to follow but would I be faithful in living it?
My husband was in a new position at a new plant and I was at home with the girls. No one to help me but Mel. And we did it-we survived. It was the best experience we have ever had together! We are much better for it because we were obedient to God. Our stay in Hattiesburg, Mississippi was short lived and news of the plant closing brought us to our knees. What?? We were obedient and moved our family 18 hours away and now the plant is closing!! God had to send us far away so that we would completely trust in Him and then He moved us a little closer to our family (only 9 hours away). We moved to Macon, Georgia after a year of being in Mississippi.
Well, if you have ever moved-it is exhausting! Everything must be cleaned out, packed and unpacked. We have moved five times in 10 years. After each move, it became easier to know what to expect but my survival mode never stopped. There was no one there to do it for me-we did it! Don't get me wrong-I didn't expect anyone to do it for me. Moving is a life lesson everyone should endure. It taught us what's important and what's not in the grand scheme of things!!
Making lists and planning everything down to the last little detail gave me " a sense of control" and a security net that I was clinging too desperately. I already knew how faithful God had been to us and his provisions for us were something I could never have planned but I was living in my fleshly spirit. I just couldn't let go and let God. I needed to feel like I had a grip on life because well, frankly, we had a lot to prove. We wanted to prove we could do this on our own and do it right!
Our kids are older now and as we enter a new season as parents, my lists don't seem as important! I am seeing that this time at home with our girls is very short in the cycle of life. Roughly 18 years and the kids will go off to college and on to adulthood leaving us behind to enter yet another season-the "empty nest."
My husband and I loved that time in our lives we call "BK" (before kids) and we look forward to it again. Being a parent and raising our children has been a blessing beyond words but my love for my husband has grown even more through these years of parenting. I love my husband more because of the love he has for our girls. We have always put our relationship above the relationship with our daughters-if you don't-you will be completely lost when the kids move out! Mel and I date and snuggle and laugh and enjoy life together as parents because we want to set an example for a godly marriage for our girls. And we know that one day it will be just the two of us again and we don't want to have to reconnect after years of total consumption from the children.
A strong marriage will stand strong not just before and after the kids. I love our girls and I treasure every minute with them! This season I am in now is the toughest one thus far. Each stage of growth with my girls has been ever changing and beautiful. I never experienced the "terrible twos" or the "bad teen years". I have always appreciated whatever season I was in and embraced it. (It's all about attitude.) As my oldest will be turning seventeen and a senior next year (thoughts of college start to take root), I am struggling with this season!
It's a season of letting go! Do you know what I mean? Oh, I want her to go and spread her wings and she must do that- this is what we have been training her for all of her life. My struggle comes with the fact I am old enough to have one going off to college and praying we have taught her well for her new journey!! She's just a junior and I have shed so many tears already, I probably won't even cry when she graduates!! But, you know what? God is in control. He has the perfect plan for her and I just have to "let go" and watch God do His mighty thing! This season reminds me of how we had to let go of our "home" ten years ago and leap!
Many who know me, know that I am a planner! Mel calls me the "family cruise director". I plan vacations, field trips, parties, meals, well pretty much everything. Being a good steward of your time and being consumed with planning are two different things. I admit I am over board with the planning. I've learned to survive with lists!! Well, God and I are fighting for the cruise director seat right now because I want to map out the whole college/career thing for my daughter and God says otherwise.
Okay, I was a former high school guidance counselor and it's hard not to go over board in the college planning arena. But, God reminds me daily when Mackenzie walks out that door to go to class or meet a friend or go to work, that she is HIS and only HIS! He lent her to me for a brief time to prepare her for the BIG life He has set before her. So, I'm ripping up my lists and dropping to my knees because I can't do this one! I am weak and just a lowly vessel for God. He's got this and He certainly doesn't need me telling him what to do!!
Each day is a "die to self" kind of day!! I give it to Him.
I was reminded this morning as I read through Proverbs that God has got this!
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand!" Proverbs 19:21
I pray this one over my daughter every day!! I just have to pray, there is nothing else I can do in my own power but to physically drop to my knees and PRAY!! No list or amount of planning will ever prepare you for this season.
As I reflect over these past ten years, I am so humbled by God's gentle hand on my shoulder. He quietly whispers to me saying, "Trust me-I've got this!" I can't even explain how God has grown my heart during this adventure we have been on. We are settling down now and the adventure and the need to survive has been quenched. God gives me rest and refreshment. He invites me to walk along with Him now and watch what He has in store for our next adventure.
What season are you in? What do you need to let go of and give to God? God just wants our hearts and obedience! He just wants us to do that simple act of letting go and obediently give it all to Him!! Will you let go today? Whatever season of life you are in GOD HAS GOT IT! You should be comforted in knowing that He carries us in His arms through the journeys of life.
So rip up those survival guides and lists and drop to your knees and just PRAY!!