I'm at a weird place in life.
I've been a stay at home mom for 5 years now. That is 5 years of giving of myself to my children and my family. It's been the best yet hardest 5 years of my life.
I began staying home just after Joshua died. Caleb was 4, Hannah was 2, and just 2 months after I started staying home, I became pregnant with Lukey. I won't lie and say that I have loved every minute of it. I haven't. It's been hard work. It's been years of sleep deprivation. It's been 5 years giving of myself sacrificially, putting my children's need and husband's needs before myself. But I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.
However, our family is at the cusp of change, and I can't help but think about what is in store for us.
Lukey just turned 4 last month. He has been my constant companion since he was born. He has been the only child of my 4 that I have had the privilege of being home with from birth until school. However, our time is coming to an end more quickly than I expected. Next year, he will be in preschool a couple days a week and then the following year, he will be in Kindergarten.
This freaks me out a little bit. It's a big change for me. I can't imagine having free time. I can't imagine not having to spend the time, as we get ready to leave the house, getting shoes and socks on a child, packing a snack, knowing where all the closest bathrooms are wherever we are going. I can't imagine not going on playdates and watching Power Rangers for hours upon hours. I can't imagine what my life will be like while all three of them are in school!
To be honest, as I've been processing the impending change that our family is facing in the next year, I am at a loss. I don't know what it means for me. Will I continue to stay home and care for the house and my family? Will I get a job? Will I finally be able to volunteer for Hospice like I've been hoping to do?
I won't lie and say that this transition doesn't scare me to death. I'm not sure what it will be like to not have a small child around constantly. Sending Lukey to school seems so scary to me. It seems final. No more babies. No more diapers. No more naps, snacks, preschool tv shows, or lugging a carseat around.
However, through all of it, I feel like God has been nudging me to start thinking about my identity. He has been slowly peeling away the layers of sin that has taken over my life and He's been asking me to hand them over and place them at His feet.
This includes my identity. I have, over the years of staying home and caring for small children, come to put my identity in my children. I place my success and failure in their successes and failures. My biggest struggle with anxiety has been in regards to their health- the thought of something happening to them literally knocks the wind out of me, rendering me useless.
A few months ago, Lukey fell off a set of bleachers and fractured his skull. We were admitted for a 24 hour stay in the hospital and were watching for signs of brain bleeds.
I. Was. Terrified.
I couldn't function. I couldn't stay in the hospital alone and make all the decisions I needed to make for him. I know a lot of that anxiety was based on the experience we had with Joshua, but I couldn't bear the thought of losing another child.
When we were released from the hospital, I was told that he COULD NOT hit his head again for another week or so. If he hit his head at all, we would have to take him back to the ER immediately. That week of following his every move left me panicking every time he moved too fast or came to close to a table top. I carried such a heavy burden of making sure he was safe. It was all I could focus on.
All the while, Jesus was calling me to trust Him. But sometimes trusting Him is scary. Sometimes trusting Him means pain and sorrow. After all, I trusted him with Joshua, and look what happened.
But He remained steadfast and true. He continued to patiently encourage me to let go of the burden I was carrying and to just simply trust that He was sovereign over Luke's life. He also revealed to me that maybe I was placing too much identity in my child and my ability to keep my child safe rather than in Jesus.
It wasn't until I reached a point of complete surrender with Luke's life that I was finally at peace. Now, don't get me wrong. That's not to say that I didn't still protect Luke's head with paranoia, but I was able to rest in Him while doing it.
As I look at the transition ahead of me, I hear Jesus telling me to surrender my identity at His feet. He has a plan for my life, and I need to trust that He will carry me through it. It feels very scary to not know the future, to not know what my life will look like or what I will do. I like to plan. I like to have a general idea of what I'm going to do. But I don't have any idea.
So, I just continue seeking Him in it, trusting that His plans for my life are for good and that He will bring glory to himself through my wandering. I continue seeking Him and trusting that he will be faithful and steadfast in his love for me. I continue to lay down my identity and ask him to make me more like himself, even if that means a bit of pain and suffering and brokenness. I will just continue trusting that he who begins a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.