I love you. Oh how I love you. I’m supposed to be sleeping because I have to be up for work at 3:30am. I’m having a hard time settling down. Too much in my head - this week felt a little rough don’t you think?
First and foremost, I have to apologize for my behavior. I was a bear to live with. I have repented of my ways, and am making new commitments to not act like a crazy person.
I have a lot happening in my heart as I sent all three of you off into someone else’s care. Not one, not two, all three.
I keep trying to process it, but it’s slow going. I didn’t even post the standard first day picks (mom fail number 1).
7 hours. You will be away from us for 7 hours every day - 5 days a week - give or take a few days and hours.
At least that’s what I thought. Then they started early dismissal days for something horrible called heat advisories. And, then, we found out you have a holiday break one day each week for the first three weeks of school. Dear Jesus...
I thought about these first days of school. I talked about it, prayed about it. Made plans for it. It wasn’t like this in my head. I didn’t expect the unexpected.
And neither did you. You are grumpy and crazy too because you were excited and had expectations. Now the schedule is all wonky and the routine you desperately need has failed to occur.
Yet, alas, change is happening. And I think that is getting to me more than the delayed routine and extra hours of blissful togetherness. No more babies and no more toddlers.
You know me. Your momma’s got to process and feel it out. That’s the way I do.
I don’t want to let you go, but I do. It’s right and it’s good.
We (Mom and dad), both know, what’s right for you is public school. We know God is with you and this is part of God’s plan for your life. For now.
That plan will include so many amazing and so many hard things. They will be essential to your formation as a person and a child of God. For all of the ways I’m sad, I’m excited because this is part of your purpose - your unique purpose by God. Yes, even now as a young person.
Oh the memories you are making, and the friendships developing. You will experience great and wonderful things. You will hurt others, you will get hurt - pain will come. All of the joys and in all of the hard - we are with you. Even greater than that is that Jesus - Emmanuel - He is with you.
A season of life is over. There is a big ending in front of me as your mama. For 9.5 years, I struggled to find my way. I arranged and rearranged schedules and jobs. For almost a decade, I have worked to balance giving myself to you without sacrificing myself for you - at least nothing more than what God called me to sacrifice. And, so for 9.5 years, I fervently closed out all other voices but our faithful God. And I asked Him to show me and lead me in being your mama.
As loud as my own expectations or others were, I needed only God’s voice. You will learn this as you get older, there are a lot of voices that will tell you who to be, where to go, and what to do.
We have been teaching you since day one that only one voice matters. And, yet, I know I have messed up so many times and my imperfections have gotten the best of me. And in that imperfection I might have unintentionally drowned out His voice. Nonetheless, I will keep pointing you to Him all of the same.
That season of life - it was so hard. Do I have regrets? Did I do it right? Were my mistakes too many? It’s over, I can’t do it again. I just want to be a good mom.
I was told I should stay at home. I should stop working and stop serving in ministry.
I needed to homeschool. I needed to stop giving you candy or fast food. I shouldn’t discipline you, only give you choices. I should never yell, and should play with you every chance I get “because the days are long but the years are fast.”
I traveled too much, worked too much, was home too much, and definitely gave you way too much junk food. I certainly didn’t play with you all of the time. And yeah, I know, I made you start doing chores and making your own lunches at age 4 or 5. I even refuse to offer allowance!
We were probably too busy as well. I sometimes resented time at home (especially in our long winters) because I would get bored. So, I took you to the playground and target a lot to pass the time.
I even celebrated every time we had some time separate because it gave me time to remember myself as an individual and you time to make yourself an individual.
Yes, I worked and yes, I stayed home. I knew I was called to do both. It made things a lot more complex, I know. Sometimes I even worked even though we may have been okay financially.
Here’s the thing. It didn’t matter. I worked because there was a passion God placed in my heart and I knew I was supposed to put my hand to it. I did what God was leading me to do at that time for that season.
I had to ignore a lot of voices, more my own than any others. I had to battle some guilt and shame, and seek to know where it was coming from.
I had to learn who I was, and what I was called to do and be in every season. I had to learn that it wasn’t always straightforward and it NEVER stayed the same.
I don’t know that I always did it right. In fact, I could list many ways I messed up. I did yell way too much. And I probably could have played dress up, super heroes, or barbies more. But as I have explained I really really do not enjoy that and I’m not going to pretend I do to make you happy - just like I have taught you to never pretend to make someone else happy.
But regrets? I don’t think so. Mistakes and all-they are what make us who we are as long as we are willing to learn from them. And I do, I learn from them.
Guilt and shame? No, not any more. Jesus is the one who defines my coming and going. His voice is the only important voice and a while ago I began making intentional effort to keep this in mind. And I’m teaching you to do the same.
I loved and love you hard, with every breath. But you are not and never will be my entire world and I will teach you the same. Never make one person or thing your entire world. God alone is the only secure, sure thing. Center your world around Him and each step will be ordered.
I resisted every stereotype, expectation, and assumption. And I’m kind of proud of that. Not in a boastful way, because God (and you) know I am a hot mess. But a boast in the Lord kind of way, because I know from how far I have fallen. To look back and see a woman who shut out every voice except her Father’s and move forward in her calling as both a mom, wife, and Pastor - that took the power of Christ alone. God called me to do it and I did it.
It was messy and imperfect. And, yet it was ME. I stayed true to God, to me, and fervently gave you all that I was. All that I was is always supposed to be all that God will lead me to give. Sometimes that will seem like not enough and sometimes it will seem like too much (like, when you get older, you will want me to back off or disappear. At least that’s what I’m told, although I refuse to believe it.
I gave you all of me. My unconditional, imperfect love - my hot mess as mama and my gifting and calling - both in the home and outside of the home. All of it. It has been yours to be a part of - to see - to learn from. I didn’t hold anything back.
This is me. Your mama. A season is ending and a new one is ending. Together with Jesus, we will navigate these new waters.
And, that my babies, is what I hope I have shown you. How to give all of you-all that God has made you to be and all that God leads you to be. Don’t withhold anything. Follow Jesus wholeheartedly and learn to hear HIs voice alone. Let His voice drown out stereotype, expectation, or opinion - from self or others. Your dad and I will forever teach you to hear His voice and His heart alone for you - even over the sound of our own.
We are so very proud of you. In all of your uniqueness and imperfection you are beautiful and just so exceptionally you. So, go. This is God’s plan for you - for now. Fly, be brave and be you. And know that Jesus is with you and we are cheering you on every step of the way.