Man, that happened fast! I thought as the half pan of week-old egg bake slid into the garbage. The fact that it was no longer edible wasn’t my main concern. Struck with the reality that any food item would be thrown away because of lack of eaters occupied my thoughts. Another subtle, yet harsh reminder that the faces living at home change weekly. Just a few days ago, my oldest son still hung his coat up by the door and parked his beater in the driveway. Only a year ago, we were planning a high school graduation. A short 4+ years ago, I washed mounds of laundry on a daily basis, attended countless soccer games and track and cross-country meets and baked more cookies in a week for my own family than some people bake in a year. Food never spoiled and egg bake never saw the bottom of the garbage bag. Life whirled with activity and energy and noise and mess and we enjoyed the beauty of a full home.
How quickly quietly days slip into weeks, weeks to months and months stretch into years. It feels like there’s barely time for a breath before someone else moves out and moves on. Don’t get me wrong or misunderstand, I don’t want a 30-year-old child sleeping on my couch. I get that this leaving –this growing and transitioning– is good and necessary. I love that my kids are maturing and taking flight. I love that they’re adventurous and revel in trying new things, seeing new places and meeting new people. I’m proud of each of them for their blossoming independence and firm, authentic faith.
But with each departure, the grazing time for my thoughts lengthens. It’s easy to ruminate. The rooms of our home say goodbye to their occupants and the sounds echo in the void, and Brad and I ponder the past. We made so many parenting mistakes. Did we equip them well? The closets empty and the grocery bill gets smaller and we wonder about the future. Will they be ok without us? Will we be ok without them? As new faces are introduced and we imagine the reality of our kids having families of their own, we think about the paradox that as the kids leave, the family grows. Will the in-laws like us? Will they want to come home–to our home? Will they value the homelife we’ve made?
Real questions and honest fears ring in my ears along with whispers of peace.
Peace, daughter, never will I leave you or forsake you.
Peace, child, I am the same yesterday, today and forever.
Peace, beloved one, you are mine, you belong to me.
Peace, dear heart, my banner over you–my anthem for your life–is love.
Peace I give you; no matter the past, present or future, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
We all need reminders of God’s love and presence. You may not be saying goodbye to your kids right now, but perhaps your soul needs soothing because of another circumstance. Take courage, my friend.
He knows you. He loves you. He sees you. He cares.
“Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.” ~Psalm 46