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Scrubbing cabinet doors in an old kitchen of an even older house

they had resided in for a mere few weeks,

having left family and friends to follow God’s leading

through a door opened for ministry…

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starting over (again) with little of interest to bring them there,

and only the barest of connections to welcome them there.

Starved for friendship,

loneliness engulfed her being beyond anything ever endured before…

tears streaming down her cheeks, into the bucket of soapy water,

onto her clothing, the sponge, the floor,

as realization dawned:

her son would be with them for only four more months.

Her firstborn—finishing high school, preparing for college…

to leave family and home, flying 2,000-plus miles across the continent,

beginning life anew as a young man pursuing goals, seeking adventure.

For days her spirit lagged… and for more days the tears would not stop…

only because she willed them not to,

refusing to rejoice in what wrenched her heart in two…

Until He reminded with the gentlest of whispers,

This is what the past eighteen years were all about, remember?

Letting him go to become a man, allowing Me to take over.

Sighing, knowing, conceding, the tears did eventually cease,

because she knew He spoke truth,

as it was He who planned it to be so—

even as sweetness and bitter pull this way and that,

on body, mind, soul, spirit,

and a heart fully human, fully Mom, filled to overflowing with immeasurable love.

And slowly she found she could live again with trust and hope

and the cherishing of precious family time,

grateful for gifts poured out daily from Above.

Four years later… then four more plus two years later,

her secondborn and lastborn now works to finish high school,

Graduation caps

preparing for college—to leave family and home,

driving only a few miles up the mountain to venture into a world

of life on her own as a young woman pursuing goals and dreams,

on a path of His design, newly revealed…

Cleaning out, sorting through, setting aside, tossing away, re-packing to save,

anxious to try her wings in just a few short months (four? five? six?),

she speaks of what it will be like with her bestie in the apartment—

their own little space.

This time, though, the mother’s heart does not slump in grief, or lonely despair,

having survived the awful to experience the delightful

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of babies all grown up…

rather, she ponders silently changes over eighteen years,

bringing her family once again to this point

of preparing to form the words, in saying, smiling, encouraging, believing,

Goodbye and go with God.

Knowing full well this is how it must be, for the time being

the mother’s cheeks remain dry.

It does not mean all is entirely cheerful inside

as seen in her eyes, corners slightly downturned…

only that she acknowledges, all will be well (as knees continue to bend in praying).

Even though the tugging of a heart forever connected by

conceiving and nurturing and birthing and loving,

will continually be jostled by life events—

spilling tears of joy, or weeping in anguish—

she forces herself not to dwell on the sadness of children so quickly grown,

of wings spread and ready to soar in a direction toward their future, away from home.

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Resisting the unavoidable melancholy brought by change,

her current emotionally-charged thoughts rest in choosing,

releasing what has been, to embrace what will come,

risking trust of immense proportions, chasing worried temptings away.

Although tears are sure to flow, soon and still and often,

the bitter will be edged in sweet,

as she reminds herself of one truth, one eternal constant:

Her children are unceasingly held, safe, secure, in the palm of His hand.

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