The path is daunting. I’m in a turmoil of emotion as I craft this post. As usual, I’m attempting to juggle too many plates (again). Keeping everything up in the air is particularly challenging this time. Every plate is fraught with emotion and is life changing. I might just let the Savior toss them around.
I’m being forced into retirement. This final year of parenting and homeschooling has gone way too fast, though I’ve had the brakes on. I’ve paused numerous times to capture the memories, to just sit and bask in the moment.
My youngest child, the one born when the oldest of my six was sixteen, wraps up her homeschooling career and mine. Her commencement marks my retirement from twenty-eight years of homeschooling and over thirty-four years of parenting. Her university path planned and scholarships secured, she is poised on the cusp of her adult life. How did she grow up so fast?
I now move from teacher and parent to friend and guide. I am becoming a consultant, “the guide on the side,” rather than “the sage on the stage,” as my cousin Patti, the teacher of teachers, says. This summer the nest will be empty.
But first comes schoolwork to finish, our creative writing module to wrap up, choir concerts, violin performances, final transcript to prepare, big party to plan (cake, food, tent, balloons, photo display), older children to welcome home from the far corners, and messy house to ready.
Just as I’d hoped, as this stage of my life is coming to completion, the next stage is opening up. I’m revising my historical novel again—I can see the hope of publication there on the horizon, far in the distance. Each revision brings me closer to the goal. I’m also launching my business to sell the bible-study material I’ve been writing for my church for the past several years. Website, fonts, domain name, colors, tag line—all of these fill my mind along with my graduation to-do list.
All of these plates sail through the air, the next-phase plates interwoven with the completing-phase plates. Sometimes they crash into one another, and the entire lot of them fall to the ground. I pick them up and begin tossing again, asking the Savior for help. I can’t keep them all in the air without him.
All of this peppers my heart with joy and doubt, confidence and dismay, hope and despair, satisfaction and terror. It’s an emotional time. I have the brakes pressed to the floor; but I can’t stop time. This girl is all grown up, just like the rest. My task is done.
This is the minutia of my life. Who cares? Everyone is busy. Everyone has milestones. Everyone has dreams. Children grow up. The nest empties. Retirement happens. Time marches on.
Thank God for the Savior! He’s concerned with every fleeting emotion I’m experiencing, every worry, every blissful exaltation. He keeps my tears in his bottle, aware of each one, recording each one in his book (Psalm 56:8). His thoughts toward me outnumber the grains of sand on the earth (Psalm 139:17-18). He cares. I tell it all to him, regularly downloading my overwhelmed heart.
He’s always listening. He knows. He was crucified on an obscure hillock, everyone looking the other way, attempting to get the unpleasant task of his death over with so they could go home to celebrate the Passover that, ironically, had been set in place to provide an illustration of his coming. He knows what it is to fulfill a momentous, wearying task that goes unnoticed in the wider world. His eye was on the prize of obtaining us; he knew there was glory awaiting. Because of him, it’s there for me, too.
For me now, there’s no parade. No call from the President. No congressional medal. Just a quiet party with family and friends. A joyous marking of a lovely young woman’s moving on to the next part of her life. A wrapping up of the loving labor of raising my precocious and amazing children.
But some day, I’ll hear the Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21). It will be enough. I did all of this for him, and he saw it all, the times I fell flat and the times I did it well, the times I tried to go it alone and the times I relied on him. He redeems all the messes, and he loves me through it all. He himself is more than enough. He is the glory that awaits me. He carries me.
“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? This I know, God is for me. In God I trust.” (Psalm 56:8, 9b, 11a ESV).