It was ten years, seven months, and twenty-five days ago that we stood outside the airport in Cancun, Mexico. Hugging goodbye, we were no longer a missionary family of two parents and two children. We had evolved, split off into four adults living in three different countries.
With our family reunion over, my husband and I reluctantly released our grip on the oldest . . . who was about to board a plane and return to the United States.
I’ve struggled with this transition to release my children, as any mother would. In my head, I know that my babies are not babies. I know that their choice on where to live and who to live with belongs to them . . . and not me. But it’s still hard to let go. It’s still hard to release them, even though I know God called my husband and me to Belize as missionaries . . . and not my children.
Yesterday, we tightly hugged one another after gathering for the oldest’s wedding. This morning, my husband and I drove to the airport to send our youngest back to Australia. I can’t help but wonder, How long, O Lord? How long will it be until the four of us are reunited?
I may be an empty nester, but I’m still a mama who gets emotional every time our family goes through transitions. It feels like just yesterday that our babies were babies — but the calendar year says otherwise. I have many questions, but I stuff them all into a box labeled, “How Long.” Instead of entertaining these questions, I help my husband navigate the drive back to our hotel. We still have a long journey home, and I have a surgical procedure awaiting me — a procedure that will leave me in need of care.
When my husband and I finally arrive at the hotel, he falls asleep . . . but I open up my “How Long” box, all stuffed with my questions. I try to sort through my questions and put them in order, but I’m quickly overwhelmed because I’m really just a mama who misses her kids.
This transition from parent to patient might be the most challenging one yet. It’s hard to process the fact that though I once gave care to my children, now I’m the one needing care. How do I process the grief of saying goodbye to my children, again and again? How do I prioritize my concerns about my children and grandchildren? Where does my health rank?
Then suddenly, in the middle of my overthinking, my heart shouted, “Silence!”
Immediately, after my heart’s command, my fitness watch buzzed me back to reality with a notification from my Bible app. I opened the notification to see Psalms 31:24 in the Passion Translation: “So cheer up! Take courage, all you who love him. Wait for him to break through for you, all who trust in him!”
I’m grateful for the reminder that my challenges are not challenges for the God of the universe. He knows what I’m going through, and He will address my thoughts, worries, and questions in His own time.
As a mother, a wife, and a woman, I know that God understands the weight of my struggle with each emotional transition. He never planned for me to carry it all on my own. I know this in my head, but my heart is “prone to wander,” as that old hymn says. . .
I pause and breathe through the physical pain in my shoulder — and then I passionately pray for whatever my husband and children might be going through.
I question, pray, and worry, day after month after year. The weeks march on while I stand still. The struggle for healing — emotionally and physically — is real, and I’m over it. I want the pain to end so I can move on. “Six months from now, this pain in my shoulder should be gone,” I announced to my husband. But to myself, I wonder, How long, O Lord, how long?
The cheering up may take a while, and that’s ok. I love Him, so I’ll take courage. And I trust Him, so I’ll wait for Him to break through for me. I’ve learned the hard way that transitions take longer than change. They’re a gradual transformation to work through.
So, I carefully wrap each of my questions in prayer and gently tuck them back in the box, side by side. I scratch out the old label, smile, and write a new one: “In His Time.”Leave a Comment