This is the first back-to-school season in 18 years that I will not have one or more of my three kids homeschooling. I am now the mother of three young adult men!
This is most certainly a new season in my life. One might assume that I feel relief for that responsibility wrapping up or excitement for my newly found free time. Try as I have to not be unreasonably sentimental, I just cannot stifle that part of my personality. Every little tell (and there are many that bombard us this time of year) in this back-to-school time just reminds me that this part of my life has come to a close. I have nothing else lined up; no career that’s been on hold all this time; no specific pull or calling that gets me up in the morning to plan my future.
None of this has taken me by surprise, but I still wasn’t ready to begin this new phase of motherhood and identity. I always knew that I would miss raising my boys once they’d grown. The brunt of the pain came earlier, in the beginning of my youngest son’s senior year. My sadness over all of it was serious, to the point where I felt like I had lost the best part of my life and could never get it back.
I remember walking in the store and noticing the items on display for parents to buy for their kids in the various stages of their lives and my heart hurt. I missed my sons as kids. I missed my role in their lives and mourned the changes in relationship that would inevitably come. Some of these feelings are normal, but what I was experiencing in this transition was a bit out of balance. My role in their lives would need to look different. I knew this. But I also recognized that I needed God to speak to me over the situation and correct my thinking. The common sense that I possessed wasn’t enough to get all the way down to my heart.
One day I heard God speak to my heart so directly and so clearly, and that specific part of my heart that had been out of balance was literally healed in an instant.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen to me very often, but I haven’t a doubt in my mind that God changed my beliefs over this situation to match His truth and that is what brought healing. I think in some (not all) circumstances the thing that facilitates healing is when God’s truth shines a light on the lies we have believed. I had believed I could no longer be me, that the identity I had lived in all these years was unusable and expired. Here is what He showed me: If I don’t rely on God to satisfy me, and I don’t first go to Him and seek His will and direction for my life (whatever stage I’m in) then the things that I’m longing for and believe will cast away the emptiness are only deceptions, counterfeit fulfillment. The things I think I need can distract me into contentment for a while, but my heart can only be satisfied by the Maker of my soul, the One who fills every longing in my heart. Each one of us is only truly longing for the LIVING WATER.
Though I have still had some deep moments of identity crisis, they have been nothing like before that day when God showed me the truth behind my emptiness. I keep reminding myself of His word to me. I am waiting on Him and hopefully beginning to develop some clarity on His plans for my future. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but I know one thing for sure: NOTHING will satisfy like my God. I am realizing I need this time of what seems like emptiness to desire Him in a way that I’ve always been too distracted to do before. My days are not being wasted, my heart is being changed.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3, 4
For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:9