I remember when my first child was growing up, every little decision seemed so big. This new place I found myself — this place of motherhood — seemed so foreign. So scary. Three kids later the load of motherhood didn’t really get any easier.
Having a conversation with a dear mentor (whose children were grown) I was telling her I couldn’t wait until my children were older so things would be easier. It surely seemed the stress of motherhood would dissipate as my children reached young adulthood. After I rambled on for awhile, my friend reached over and grabbed my hand saying, “Oh Alene, it doesn’t get easier. If anything it gets harder. There are bigger things you will have to wrestle through and give to God.”
Bless her heart.
She didn’t understand me, I was sure. I was tired of worrying about the things you fret about when your children are hitting elementary, middle school and high school all at the same time. The decisions of schools, extracurricular activities, their health, grades, and their choices of friends seemed to keep me forever in prayer or worry mode — or maybe both.
While I worried about those moments, my momma heart cried at how fast time was flying. 1st grade became 9th grade before I knew it. I was an emotional wreck over decisions they had to wrestle through and learn on their own. Motherhood seemed an emotional roller coaster most days. Laughing. Crying. Fretting. Praying.
Being a mom was hard, so I just knew my friend had it all wrong.
The emotional ride of motherhood would get easier. It just had to.
Bless my heart.
Young adulthood came. My children graduated and with each emotional milestone this mom struggled. It seemed a whirlwind and my soul longed for the days when we had school breaks together or got to curl up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons.
By the end of the year God had planted on my heart that this season would be about family. Seriously I had no clue what that meant, but I knew I was craving time with my children. Shortly thereafter my youngest graduated college, our first grandchild was born to my son and his wife, my older daughter married, and then became pregnant. It’s been a whirlwind.
The closeness we have as a family is so special. It was surely a blessing that we all lived in the same town and could get together often. Life was crazy, but perfect.
Motherhood is full of hard stuff.
Being close is a blessing for sure — close in relationship, as well as distance.
But when that close in distance is ripped away, it’s hard. Hard.
Hard. Hard. Hard.
My friend was right. There are much bigger things you have to wrestle through and give to God. And my conversations with God are all about giving them up to Him. He knows what’s best. He is their provider. He is their protector. And to tell you the truth — it feels like that should be my job as the mom.
You would think after you are ripped apart as you send your child to kindergarten, or the sitter’s, or High School that you’d be ready for the next step. Sending your child off to another state or even another country.
But I’m confessing right here and now that this mom is not prepared and ready for that. My heart wants to scream in protest and my hands want to hold them. Tight. But doing that only holds them back.
So while I try to be strong on the outside, my insides want you to know that motherhood is hard. Hard even when your children are adults. Their grown bodies don’t fool me — they are still my babies.
So this week — yep, all within 5 days, I will put my oldest daughter on a plane to south Florida where she will join her husband to live. I release her with our granddaughter just months away from being born. I will put her on a plane knowing that I’ll miss parts of her pregnancy and holidays as we know them.
And then I will turn around with the soft tender heart of a mom trying to hold it all together and I will put my youngest daughter on a plane to Africa. Africa for 2 1/2 months. The other side of the world. Africa. Yea, that one!
Part of my mommy heart is shouting “this is crazy, don’t let her go, hide her passport,” but I know it’s of no use. Motherhood is hard and I’m trying to adjust. I’m trying my hardest to let go and let God as they say — but that seems so cliche’ at the moment. I’m sending up pleading prayers that God protect her and provide for her as if I don’t know that He is Jehovah-Jireh.
But today I let go. I gave her her passport in a fancy leather binding I had gotten for her. It was a beautiful moment, but for me it was a physical letting go. In my heart it really felt more like a tug-of-war, but I did eventually let go. The world is hers.
For all moms who are struggling through hard things.
Mom to mom, I know we can relate. Mom’s get this — this place of having to let go and trust. It’s not that we want to, but we have no choice! If we don’t let go, at some point we snap.
While you might not be sending your daughters to far away places, struggling might be coming in different ways:
You’re struggling . . . . . .
as you send your baby to their first day of school.
as you send one to high school, one to college, and one to the marriage alter.
with what sitter or day care to release your precious one to.
because your child went to be with Jesus a few years ago and the depression is numbing.
as your child battles the tensions of a handicap daily.
because you are a single mother and you wonder if you can meet their needs.
because there are so many unanswered questions around your adopted child.
Yes, we moms are struggling.
But thankfully we know we can leave our children in the care of the One we can always trust and count on — Jesus! Are you a struggling through hard places in motherhood? I’m here for you. But better yet — Jesus is here for you!