The "It's a Girl" sign posted in your front yard is there to greet you as you and your 6-pound, pink blanket-cocooned bundle of joy arrive home two days after her birth. As you step out of the car and lift your new little daughter from her mandatory car seat, a myriad of emotions overwhelms you---happiness, excitement, nervousness, fear, panic even. It's your first baby, and you have absolutely no idea what to do. How could you? You never even babysat anyone under the age of five.
Somehow, though, you figure things out, and you fall into a routine. You say goodbye to the career you held for the past ten years, opting instead to stay home with your little girl. The days turn into weeks, then into months. You have another child---this time, a son. The months soon become years, and you are totally embracing your job. You love your children with everything in you, and you devote your whole life to raising them, even choosing to homeschool them. The years become decades, and even though you're often exhausted and in desperate need of some "me" time, you're loving every single minute of your life as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom; in fact, you don't want to ever do anything different with your time.
Ah, but then it happens...your beloved children grow up. They finish high school. They move into their twenties. They get jobs. They get married. And you find yourself out of a job.
That's the thing...the goal of motherhood is to work yourself out of a job. We want our children to become functioning, independent adults, don't we? We want them to leave our homes and to develop lives of their own, right? We want to see them fly. Yet, it's sad for us when they do, for it brings an end to a time we've loved so much. We moms are left floundering, not knowing what purposeful thing to do with the rest of our lives.
That's how it was for me anyway. Maybe some moms have excitedly embraced the empty nest season and its large chunk of independence, but not this gal. In fact, I dreaded it as one might dread a terminal illness. For years, I agonized over how rapidly that season was approaching, and I longed to do something---anything---to turn back time, or at least slow it down.
However, God's Word tells us that "to everything, there is a season" (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and that includes motherhood. Just as fall always gives way to winter---whether we want it to or not---there was absolutely no stopping this season of life from arriving on my doorstep. Like it or not, I simply had to transition to what I now was---a mid-life mom, with independent, twenty-something children.
And you know what, now that I've stopped fighting the inevitable, and instead have chosen to embrace it, I have found that this, too, is a beautiful season of life. I will always cherish the days of having little ones in my home and count them among the happiest days of my life, but I am fully convinced that God has beauty and joy for me in this season as well.
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