When our youngest was a tiny wisp, we moved across the country. While preparing for the move, I had an eight-year old, a six-year old, a 23-month old, and a newborn. I was hardly sleeping, attempting to finish our homeschooling studies, changing diapers, and packing. There were a few personal goals lingering within that simply were not happening. I mentioned this in passing to a friend.
She looked at me for a moment, then clasped both of my hands. Gently yet firmly.
Kristin, don’t you think those things can be shelved for a bit?
I looked at the kindness in her eyes, and suddenly I saw my situation for what it was. Had the roles been reversed, I would have recognized the necessity of letting go of certain things for a spell. Cutting myself slack has always been difficult. It is one of my life-long challenges: giving myself permission to be. I actually schedule time to relax, and it always must occur after earning it by working hard. It cuts to my core if anyone hints I am not working hard as a homeschooling mom and homemaker. It stings and settles and festers. These jobs have been my magnum opus.
But that friend touched something deep; it rocked me then and I remember it still after seventeen years have swept by.
The human heart can only hold so much.
Our third son has left for college, and my role as a mom has changed. I am more cheerleader than coach now.
One might think that saying goodbye to child number three would be easier, like slipping into a broken-in and comfortable old shoe. Not true. I have wept off and on for months, even as I am so happy for the new life he is beginning. It is just as it should be. Yet I still see his little two-year-old face, and the hours he spent playing in the sandbox with his tractors. What I wouldn’t give for a momentary return to those days.
But my heart can only hold so much. And to that end, I will be shelving some things. I know what those things are, and will hold myself accountable. I have conjured up the memory of my friend’s words from years ago, and will minister to myself during this fragile time. I am learning that the Lord holds my tears in his bottle; he knows how he has formed me, and how he is still forming me. He fashioned me with a sensitive spirit, and for that I must never apologize. He gave me a tender love for my family; and reminds me that he loves them even more than I do.
God is gentle; he is bearing my burdens. And when the winds of change blow hard, I rest in knowing that he holds and guards my heart.