When I look back at this year I am amazed at where I started out and where I am now. There was so much fear in me regarding not only my daughter, but all of my kids. God used the WR to expose just how little I trusted him and how much I was trusting in myself to guide them. Having one being so far away from me caused such great anxiety I had to stop and take stock of the recesses of my heart. What I found there, with significant help from all the WR parents in my group, was both fear and love in equal measure. I found the intensity of my fear was directly proportional to the depth of my love. In fact, to me they seemed inseparable. God used this year to show me that in fact they can be parted from one another.
However, he also showed me that my protective instincts are not bad or wrong, but created by him for the good of my children. That is why they are called instincts. My error was not in feeling fearful or anxious; it was in not giving those feelings completely to him. I found that I had only opened my hand part way. The lesson this year has been to open my hand completely…to trust, not only him, but also my daughter. To know he can do his work in her life without me and that she can take care of herself, no matter where she is in the world. And if he can do it with her…then he can do the same with my boys as well. This has left me realizing that taking care of myself is important for all of them, not just for me. It is not selfish of me to have time for myself, to seek God’s heart for this new phase of my life. My role as mom isn’t going away, but changing into something else. Waiting on his timing and direction is critical and worth prioritizing.
I have also seen that God isn’t finished with me. In so many ways this year has been a season of seeing things differently. Much of that has come from those I trust to speak into my life, other parents going through similar trials, reevaluating my roles, my skills, my talents, and allowing God to take things from me and reshape areas of my life. All in all it has been a very painful process, one that has been an internal struggle with my own issues…but there have been breakthrough moments as well. Like the day I followed my daughter through the streets of Thailand and was amazed at her confidence in foreign surroundings. Like seeing my sons move forward into their grown-up lives and having a peace come over me that they are going to be okay. Even though I cannot see the end result, my heart is different now. I feel like a grown up. I attribute that to God’s work in my life of course, but also to those of you who have walked this journey by my side. I feel I have found kindred spirits with you and I will miss our reporting in on our kids’ activities, and attempts to keep each other informed. As they re-enter I feel that I will also re-enter life after a season of being set aside, but in so doing I still love the connection we all have between us…like we have been through a battle together, and we are bonded in common experience. That is the surprise in all this. One year ago, I knew Hannah would come back with lifetime friends, but I never would have dreamed that I would as well. Thank you all for being there. Let’s keep in touch because I have this feeling that re-entry isn’t going to be a piece of cake for them or for us. I also have a feeling we are about to learn the meaning of feedback.:)