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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Life Changes, But I Cling to My Anchor

In three weeks, our household is going to change drastically.

Instead of maintaining four vehicles, we will dwindle to two, allowing me to pull into the garage without weaving through our private summer obstacle course called, “The driveway.”

Our grocery bill will plummet like the first drop of a roller coaster. The telephone will ring less. Toilet paper will no longer be on the endangered species list. Best of all, my little dog, a walking aggregation of nerves, will no longer be launched into outer space when our kids’ friends ring the doorbell. (Her rockets fire before “ding” becomes “dong.”)

The reason for these changes? Two of our three kids are leaving for college--my son, Jordan, for the first time.

Cue the violins, because no matter how much I’ll appreciate the pleasant changes, when I see their empty chairs at dinner and empty beds each night, I will struggle with just that—emptiness.

I know that life is transitional and that the ultimate goal of rearing kids is to guide them to complete independence. Still, I long for permanence I can count on no matter how many years pass, no matter how my circumstances, my job, my interests or my role as mom changes. I need an anchor.

Happily, just such a mainstay of peace has been mine over the years, even when my footing was unsure, or my heart raced with fear, or ached with sadness--as when we left our daughter at college that first time. My anchor has been the constant friendship of Jesus.

In all of my ups and downs, relationship struggles, personal failures and insecurities, I have not been alone. When my head hit my pillow at night, I knew I was under his watchful eye. When I awoke to face another problematic day (Is there any other kind?) I trusted that he knew the paths I would take and would even order my steps if I submitted to him. When I walked through fiery trials, he didn’t extinguish the flames, but he held my hand through them. As a result, the purifying heat helped refine me, but more importantly, helped me know him more intimately.

As I prepared for Jordan’s graduation a few weeks ago, I found a stick figure crayon drawing he made for us when he was six. On the page I had written, “Jordan wants us to keep this, even when he goes to college.” And now that time is here. I did indeed keep it, treasuring the thought that as much as kids want to grow up and away, they also need an enduring love they can depend on; they need an anchor.

My greatest hope is that as my children grow more independent of us, they will grow more dependent on the one who loves them unconditionally and unflinchingly, through all of their personal trials. Despite the best of intentions and efforts, no parent, spouse, or child of their own will ever be able to completely or perfectly fulfill their needs. Only the one who the writer of Hebrews acknowledges as “the same yesterday, today, and forever” is capable of such pure and abiding love.

As a result of his faithfulness, I am able to release my grip on my son and daughter, and the only clinging I’ll do will be to Jesus, my steadfast anchor and friend.



Please come visit my personal blog at 2nd Cup of Coffee.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Bless you dear one.

August 1, 2007 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Oh, Linda,

Excellent!!! Excellent!!! Very well written. . .

August 1, 2007 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Completely beautiful, Linda...I just replied over at your place. (((HUGS)))

August 1, 2007 at 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Linda,

Your wit and charm comes through with every post. This is especially delightful to read today. I think every parent of adult children feels exactly the same. I know I do.

Have a blessed and beautiful day.

August 1, 2007 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Linda,
This was wonderful and so beautiful.

Awesome and encouraging post!

August 1, 2007 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Barbara H. said...

I could very much identify with this, having two leave for college. Love the second to last paragraph.

August 1, 2007 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Susanne said...

He truly is the anchor of our lives through every stage. I have the same prayer, that my kids will know Him as their anchor even as they pull away from their parents and head off on their own. Lovely heartfelt post, Linda.

August 1, 2007 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

I went through this last year with my oldest daughter - and it was a very painful struggle, letting go. But I did it, and it's a marvel to watch her grow and mature in so many different ways. God bless you as you face those two empty chairs at the dinner table!

August 1, 2007 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Our first born is a senior in high school this year. We've visited colleges and universities. He has already been accepted to his "second choice" and has yet to apply to his first choice. I grapple with sadness, regret and happiness, excitement all in the same hour! He is, thank You, Jesus, a Godly young man and I can't wait to see what He has in store for him. Even as my husband and I give each other the "better enjoy this NOW" looks whenever we are all together.

Blessings...

August 1, 2007 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I'm crying a bucket of tears - because of you and for you! You remind me I only have 6 short years with my oldest before he leaves our home (if he goes to college and he'd BETTER)

It is a blessed woman who can turn her children loose and know she has given them everything they need to live an abundant life. What an encouraging example you are to us!

much love,

Lisa

August 1, 2007 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Suzio said...

They grow up too fast. I keep thinking I've got them for a long time, but not so, they do grow up and leave don't they! Love your article.

August 1, 2007 at 10:36 PM  

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