She knocked on my door to drop something off and we both stood there holding more than the burden of heavy packages.
We were mothers and we were hurting for our kids.
She’s a few years ahead of me and even though her nest is empty, we shared the worry lines of motherhood. Instead of babies that wouldn’t nap and worrying over classroom bullies and parties her kids weren’t invited to, it was college internships and first jobs, apartments and young adult loneliness.
“It doesn’t end, Kristen,”she whispered.
I’m learning this truth in the motherhood school of hard knocks.
Motherhood never stays the same–it stretches us, teaches new lessons and drives us to our knees.
It’s been probably the hardest year of parenting I’ve ever endured. Or maybe it’s just because I’m good at forgetting the hard phases that have passed. Or maybe I’m just dramatic. I do know I’ve sworn off writing parenting books because bleeding out what you write leaves you anemic.
I delete emails asking me to come speak and share my parenting wisdom. Writing a parenting book breaks the “expert” in you.
There are no wild rebellions or illegal substances or all the things parents dread knocking at our door. It’s just been a season of heartbreak. Moms break when kids break. And there are a lot of loose shards to step around. I have begged God for joy and peace and wisdom in my nest.
In the depths of despair, I have clung to Jesus for my kids. I have screamed into my pillow and cried in the bathtub at my loss of control. And on those hard days, at my weakest, I’ve heard two words over and over: hold on.
And that’s what I’ve done. Because when you hold onto your Creator with everything you’ve got, you also have to let go of everything else.
I let go of fear and expectations. I let go of regret and doubt.
I held onto Jesus.
And He held onto me.
Then the most miraculous holy thing happened–it wasn’t a slow, unnoticed answer that sometimes happens in parenting when we wake up one day and realize one hard phase has ended and we catch our breath before the next one begins.
No, it was a violent, swift I AM GOD answer to prayer and the rope I’ve been clinging to and dangling from in this challenging season has lowered and for the first time in a very long time, I can feel the ground under my feet.
And now that I’m standing upright, I can see this hard season from another perspective. I can see how far I’ve grown as a mother and mostly a daughter of the King and I can see how much closer my kids have moved to Jesus (which is the goal, right?)
I cherish my children’s private lives and the story they are living as much as you do yours, but know this–I am in awe of what God has done and is doing in the hearts and lives of my kids. I have wept tears of joy and gratitude because I can see His face again.
And I only have two words to the momma reading this with the baby who won’t be put down and the teen that won’t be held and the son who needs medication to sit and the daughter who cannot get out of bed because anxiety keeps her there–HOLD ON.
This parenting thing is hard, holy work. It tears us apart and puts us together again. And as much as we love our children and sacrifice for them and want them to be okay, there is a God who wants it more.
Let go of your kids and give them to Jesus.
It’s the only way to hold onto Him with both hands.
So, momma at the end of her rope, when you don’t know what else to do…hold on.