Friday, August 9, 2013

The mom advice I want when my kids are older and leaving the nest

Hi Friends!

It's been awhile hasn't it?! I feel like I've been racing to cross things off my summer to do list so that I can finally settle down here and pour out all the stuff that has been going on in our life and with the kids. I truly miss it here, I have been very productive these last summer weeks. The point of being able to start a new school year with my kids is close, we are so ready!

I am very excited about so many things right now and yet, I want to take a minute and talk about something that is bothering me. It's been lingering and weighing heavy on my heart, so I'm just going to address it. {Prayerfully, with grace and honesty, and a humble heart.} I feel like the last person that needs to be sending this message, I wish some one else could say it, I really do.

A few weeks ago, I posted this to my Instagram...

Please know that I welcome advice, particularly from women who are ahead of me on this journey of motherhood. Women who have taken their children to places I want go with my own children. Women who accomplish so much for the kingdom of God by loving their families as themselves. Those who continue to set such a Godly example of embracing their call as mothers and have passionately, sacrificially given and given to serve Jesus, by serving their families.
I am blessed to know countless women like this, these ladies inspire me and encourage me and I look up to them greatly. Like a sponge I want to soak in what worked for them, their secrets, the mysteries that God has revealed to them through their years of teaching and training their children. Their influence is powerful and I welcome their input into my life. I am always motivated when I can sit with a mother of any age and listen to what God is teaching her and she is learning.
I would like to reply to this one piece of advice I am told repeatedly by numerous moms with older children.
"Just enjoy these days, you don't know this now but these are the best years!" 
"I wish I could go back to when my children were this little, life was so much simpler then. Trust me, it is so hard when they grow up." 
"Honey, you think it's hard now, you just wait! I thought it was hard then but those were the good years!" 
"Yeah, I know it's busy having them small and close together but there was so much joy when our kids were young, now it's still hard and they aren't as cute."
There are so many variables of the same message...enjoy it now, these years are as good as it gets and you have no idea, life just gets harder. Over and over and over, I go to the grocery, I go to church, I go to a fieldtrip, person after person tells me the same thing.

Can I just say that I don't know how to respond when a mother tells me these are my happiest years. Every time I walk away sad and discouraged. I know what I want to say but don't because I am not where they are and feel I have no room to speak. I appreciate the wisdom to enjoy my life now, this is very true advice. I do not doubt for a minute that what I am being told is truth. There is nothing like snuggling up a baby, laughing at a funny mispronunciations, watching first steps, hearing little ones playing together, seeing eyes light up when they see me walk into a room or tucking all my children in at the same time under the same roof at night.
These days are sacred, I believe that with all my heart. The work is endless and rest is scarce and it's complicated but I believe that beauty is found here, because I choose to watch for it. To say that it is good doesn't mean it isn't hard and to say that it's beautiful doesn't mean it's not messy, it's just about allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me to see it and relying on Him who's strength is endless to get me through another day. {Ephesians 1:18-19}
With everything in me I want to believe that each day holds something sweet because God is waiting for me to seek Him out. I want to know that despite my children growing up and me growing older, that when the floors are clean and the rooms are quiet God will still meet me there with something breathtakingly precious and ministering because He loves me and provides for my every need. I want to trust that He will provide healing for my empty nest, that He will carry me those years as He does these years of mega messes and sleepless nights. My needs with a house wrecked by little ones, rowdied by teenagers or quieted with years gone by, aren't they all the same to Him? These years change, these years change us, but He does not change. {Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6}

I realize, I have not walked where those before me are, I do not know the struggles of teenagers, children turning to drivers, high school curriculum, shipping kids off to college, planning weddings or balancing children at home and far away, I can only imagine. However, I would just like to say to myself in those years ahead, God is in those years too, I just have to look for Him. The strength for the struggles of a momma's heart, can't He handle it then just as He does now if we only let Him? {Matthew 11:28-29}

This is one giant note to self!


Mudpiesandtiaras said...

I agree! And we had a teen foster daughter at one point. And even though she was pregnant, we had many moments of fun and pure joy! Our kids will grow up and then we get to be grandparents! I say the good years never end!

Wanting What I Have said...

I hear the SAME THING!!! And when we announced we were expecting and adopting people would remind me that "they do grow up and aren't as cute!" And it breaks my heart. But-I have looooooved every stage so far and I would not want to trade where we are today with where we were then-not because it wasn't precious, but because it is AWESOME and AMAZING to see how God is shaping each of us and all of us. I don't know how those years will be either and we are getting a tiny taste of the hormone roller coaster, but again, I love them right where they are! His grace is sufficient and He doesn't change. Ever. Faithful today, tomorrow, and forever! To his be the glory!

PS I get that the heartbreak has much greater, longer lasting potential the older they get, as consequences and actions can be so much more serious...again, God is faithful.

BARBIE said...

Oh friend, as a mom who has already raised two, and has a 13 and 10 year old still at home, let me encourage your heart. Sure, as our little ones turn into young teens/adults, there are some challenging days. BUT, it is amazing to watch them grow up into the Lord and into His giftings and callings. It's hard to let go, but it's beautiful to watch them learn from their mistakes and set their foot once again on the path we lay out for them as parents. My children love JESUS and all serve Him wholeheartedly. And I worked full time while they were growing up. I say all this to say, do not give ear to the lies that once they hit the teen years, they become hard to deal with. While this may be true at times, hold fast to the promise of God that He will mold them and shape them according to His plan. We all have to walk out our free will. They will too. Keep those lines of communication open and let them know that no matter what, you love and are there for them, and that God will never forsake them. I could say so much more!