So, I had this plan. I would raise my three children and they would stay right around where I was and I would get to see them and their offspring (when it happened) often, regularly, and systematically. For instance, we would have Sunday dinner every week or I would babysit on Friday night for one family and Saturday night for another. In this plan, we might even go to the same church together and get to sing and worship together and I would get to look down the pew or row of chairs and see them all sitting there. I would have LifeSavers or gum or Tic Tacs, glittery crayons or surprises in my purse each week to keep my grandbabies entertained while the preacher was speaking. I would have one in my lap and one sitting next to me, giving their mamas a break. Why shouldn't this plan work? It did for my immediate family. I mean most of us, anyway.
I should have known better. Most of my plans didn't end up the way I had originally intended. And I'm so thankful for that. My life has turned out the way it was supposed to, infinitely better than the small plans I had. Not without a lot of pain and death to the dreams and expectations I always held in my heart or thought was important. I've had to learn the lesson of release. I guess this first happened when that first child got their driver's license. Then went to college. The second child got that freedom, the driver's license, then went to college. Number three followed suit, but having realized the void that took place when each child left, I tended to hold on tighter to that one. Maybe I squeezed a little too much. Poor thing. I picture a toddler holding on to a pet around the neck, fearful of letting go or the animal just might run off. All the while choking the squirming fuzzball to near death. That was me; holding on too tightly.
My children are growing, changing, becoming the adult people they are supposed to be. And, surprise, surprise, nowhere near where I am. That is due in part to the fact that I moved and in part to them being where God called them to be. God had a plan for me that included pulling me out of a rut of complacency, the expected, the "norm" for my life. He wanted me to go on a great adventure.
The comfort he gives through all the phases of life is remarkable. Reflecting on the advent of child rearing, the addition of more children, their growing up and becoming independent, it is a gentle process. He reminds me that He has my children in His hands, He loves them more than I ever could, and that He has wonderful plans for them. Funny enough, he has great plans for me too.
It has taken two years for me to be able to let go of some of my life expectations. It doesn't make it any easier to see new and old friends with their children near and seeing their grandchildren every day or weekend or even once a month. I still have a part of that dream living in me, that expectation. But more and more often, I am reminded that my life and the lives of my children aren't called to look like that and they are no less beautiful because their lives were ordained before the foundations of the world. In fact, what makes it all the more glorious is that I have nothing to do with it, no control over it. It really is ok. In fact it is perfect. I know that in my head, but my heart is taking a while to catch on and be totally on board with it. I have my moments. So the process continues.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. or just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ." II Cor. 1:3-5