For over twelve years, I have a had at least one child at my side for all waking hours. The kids and I have graduated from diapers and baby food to bicycles and musical instruments. Suddenly this week, I have experienced the odd silence that happens when all of the kids go to school. It was sad. It was freeing. It was lonely. It was empowering.
Other moms are changing seasons, too. Some are taking children to college for the first time. Some are transitioning to home-school. Some are transitioning to public school. No matter what the change of season brings, these transitions can be hard for us moms.
Our children are born moving away from us. First they breathe on their own; then they walk, eat, run, and play on their own. Each year of their lives moves them further and further away from their dependence on their mommies. Yes, it brings us tears, but this process of separation is a good thing designed by God.
I am just beginning this new stage of motherhood. Like many moms, I am just starting to figure out what this new season might bring. Here are some thoughts that have gotten me through this first stage of the new season.
1. Although the role has changed, my children still need me.They need me to listen to them at bedtime. They still need to reconnect with me. They need to know that the new season doesn't change my love for them.
Most of all, they need me to pray for them. They need me to speak God's Word over their lives, their challenges, their fears, and their successes. They need me to ask God for wisdom so that I can be the mother they need right now.
"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." --Isaiah 30:21 ESV
2. I am still a daughter of GodIt is easy to let the demands of motherhood overwhelm other parts of our identities. I must remember that my usefulness to God goes beyond my mothering role. As the children move beyond their dependence on me, I must stand on my own two feet to be the woman God has called me to be.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." --Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
3. I must let God guide my steps.Only God knows where this next chapter will take us. I don't have to figure it out right this minute. I don't have to have a ten-year plan. It is OK to feel a little unsure of the next stage. After all, God has promised to guide us step-by-step, not a decade at at time.
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." --Psalm 110:105 NLT
4. The God who guides you will also guide your children.
"We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands." --Psalm 78:4-7 NLT