Aug 14, 2014

Back To School Happy Dance... Now What?

It's that time of year again. 
The day parents dream of come July 5th, and children wake screaming from nightmares... of arriving to school naked or worse, dressed like Beiber.

Transition- the process of changing from one state or condition to another.
Transition takes time. 
A season, a butterfly, a flower... takes time to be what it was created to be.

We tend to rush the process.
We don't like the stretching, the twisting, the shedding of comfort to new opportunity.
A potters wheel starts with a blob of clay and then....
well, mine would still be a blob but you understand.
The end result, a bowl to be filled... with nutrition, purpose, things of value.

I celebrated each school year with our kids.
 They will tell you my favorite days of the year. The day I picked them up for Christmas break and the last day of school. 
My heart sang. The idea that I had them back, all to myself, in our home, laughing, cooking, baking, singing. 
Joy to my soul.
We transitioned back to us, home.

Tomorrow my son starts his last year of college.
When he began his freshman year the hubs and I dropped him off, far from home and drove to a new home, in a new state, far away.
It was new everything which equaled a gapping hole in my heart.
Transition in real time, a new physical state with no ocean involved. 
That's another story for another time.

I've shared some of my transition in other posts, so I won't go into detail.
It was hard for me...
but not because of my kids.
I knew they were in the right place. It was me that seemed off kilter.
  I left everything that made me feel important, needed, worthy.
People do that for me.
Sometimes my flesh and blood, but also others. 
Many others. 
It was a time I had to get very quiet, listen, dig deep, soul searching to where the tears came easy and Truth showed itself. 
I learned where I needed to be humble, transparent, if I was going to be used for His kingdom again.
God provided a few women to love me and encourage me. He gave me small platforms to share Him.
It was enough. It had to be.
I waited, still hungry but giving it all up to Him... sometimes moment by moment.

This year is different.
For the first time in three years we live in the same community as our now adult children.
Yes, cheers all around.
But... to be clear.

I am not here for my kids.
I am here because of my kids.

Sound harsh? It's not meant to be. 
It's purposeful.

Of course, I am here when they need me and we enjoy each others company.
Yet, my purpose must be with God and where He is calling me.
My days of mothering babies are over and that is okay. 

God continues to provide people to love, encourage, do life with.
We need not share the same blood for me to love you.

I truly believe this is the kind of love God calls us to.
Agape ~ wide open with surprise and wonder.

This is where God lives and this is where joy comes from. 
When you find that love for others it's about as wonderful as this side of heaven can get.
Recently, I told God that while I was thrilled with the one on one time He and I were sharing, I needed a bit more. 
"Sorry God, I hope You understand, it's been three years and I'm about parched. Something has to give, You or me."
 I needed community that could grow deep roots.
That was on a Monday. On Tuesday it began and it hasn't stopped. 
He and I talked about this for the past three years. 
I'm just thankful He started listening.
Good Lord :)

My babies are grown, with a calling of their own. 
If you have met them you will understand, at least with the daughter. She is older than her years and wiser.
The son, well... he still needs a chaperone most of the time... 
and it's not me.

We have provided them wings to fly and if we get to watch... yay! 
All the more joy for the parents,
we must step back, regardless of the distance measured between our feet.

The transitions will continue.
We wonder as moms if we will survive when they go to kindergarden, then camp, then college. I remember them all.
Part of your heart goes along for the ride, never returning.

But alas, they grow up. 
That was the goal from the beginning, right?
If not, I'm really sorry for you today. 
This is going to be extra hard.
If this is where you find yourself today... 
you are not alone.
Repeat that.
It happens, but you can survive the transition.
You have huge purpose, besides raising your sweet, beautiful children.

I always wanted to be mama. It's the next best thing, to being a daughter of The king
 and wife to a prince. 
(see what I did there:))
I desired a husband and family.
 It happened. 
Yay... but it wasn't how I planned it. "God, are you kidding me? What are you thinking?"
I learned through the hard moments the words of Dallas Willard.
These words ring true to the depths of my soul.

Dallas said, 
"You must arrange your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God."

No matter what.

Read that three times, repeat.
Contentment, joy, confidence.
They come from above, not within. 
They come from God, not you.
They come from what He did, not what you do.

Dallas said these words to John Ortberg, during a time of deep struggle for John.
He evidently listened, for as I read his book, Soul Keeping... I am inspired to dig deeper in the ways of God.

Dallas said, in everyday life... that's the day in/day out hard stuff, the joyful stuff, the stuff that tries to suck the life out of you.
The loss of jobs, sick kids, broken relationships, harsh words.
Find contentment, joy, confidence. 
Because we do not base our joy, contentment and confidence on
get this...
 our kids.
or our job,
even our mate.

We base it on God... our everyday life with God.

That's all that matters.

My kids heard my mantra growing up. 
"I don't care what job you hold, where you go to school (okay, I kinda, sorta cared about this), what letters might go before or after your name. 
I care about your relationship with Christ and His sons and daughters."
I think they heard me.
Actually, I think they heard their Father God. 

The transitions will continue. 
Some hard, others happy.
But I dance the happy dance today because I get to love people everyday and 
because I find my joy, my contentment, my confidence in Him, my God.

Happy back to school time sweet friends. I hope you find your joy, confidence and contentment in the One who dishes it out lavishly. 
He has plans for you.
Go love people. 

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