And I was too busy to prepare myself for the tidal wave of emotional pain that would wash over me. It was just a college campus tour or two. But, when I saw my sons walk onto campus, towards the next chapter in their lives, it was like two seeds being blown away from me, slipping through my hands.My sons, whom I cradled on my shoulder seconds after they were born, were now being pulled out by a bittersweet tide.
And, as a Christian woman, I thought I’d be stronger. That there’d be some supernatural supply of strength for those times in life when my absolute last breath is taken away. But, it never came. I put on a mask that showed my family how tough I would be. But, deep inside, I was scared. Not only about could my sons make it, but, could I. What is around the next corner when our loud and smelly house falls quiet and smells like vanilla?
What has come are the inadvertent, well intentioned quips about this is what we have prepared our sons for. God has a plan. God has gifted them. God will be with them. I honestly get that.
But, I honestly think that none of what these people are saying really makes it better.
Now is simply a time that the spiritual muscle I have is being torn so that we can become stronger.
God has given me 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
I used to think that since I was still afraid, that meant there was something wrong with me. However, as my faith grows, I have come to understand this verse is more about God’s love than my fear. He grows us in a way that we can love as He does. I can stand on wobbly legs as my sons grow up. I can go through this, handing over my fear to God, because He will take this part of my story and use it to make my own love more like His.
I don’t have to be fearless in order to be transformed by God.
God’s perfect love also helps keep my fear in proper perspective. It doesn’t allow my creative imagination to balloon my fear of the unknown into an out of control entity. What can stand against God’s perfect love? When I am found in God, when I am actively seeking to love as He does, my fear diminishes and is not able to consume my thoughts. I can anchor my deepest part of self into the steadfast, never changing love of God.
So, thank you Sunday School lady for quoting Jeremiah 29:11 when I shared with you about my sons and college and teared up a little. I get it in my mind that my sons have an amazing future full of hope God is moving them towards. They are venturing out towards the unknown with God Almighty in their hearts. I get that. However, right now, that doesn’t really make my present situation better. Sorry. In the midst of the spin cycle of emotions that is me, I am half kodiak bear, half Hallmark channel. There are times when my husband of 23 years just backs away slowly, making sure to maintain eye contact.
And, as I edge up closer to Easter, I’m reminded that God’s love is the only thing that will really make my sadness, or anything else in life, better.
I consecrate my heart, my family, to linking and joining our hearts, minds, body, spirit, strength to God’s perfect love. To not putting on a faky church lady mask and pretending everything’s just fine, when it isn’t. I’m scared. But, I have a God Who has not given up on me.
God, please be my family’s and anyone who reads this post’s strength in the battles we fight, and let us experience victory because we trusted in You and relied on Your perfect love to cast out fear in whatever form it came in. You are the only One Who truly makes it better.