I’ve held onto too much in my life, unable to let go.

I’ve never been so happy as when I learned to let go of my rights, shame, unforgiveness, and that obnoxious shirt that hasn’t been in style since 1987.

But letting go of my children? Bleh!

That one feels like it just might kill me. 

My baby, Carolyn, is headed to college. 

Two years ago, I felt this day coming. See my post: I Know, But . . . How Do I Survive My Children Leaving?

In this post I share how to avoid becoming like Norman Bate’s mother. I’m proud to report — and my children are relieved — that I’ve successfully not morphed into her!

But the empty nest is descending up on us faster than the humidity in South Carolina. 

Fortunately I’m not clinging to my children desperately like Norman Bates’ crazed mother, but my heart is still broken over missing them. 

How do we live joyfully despite a broken heart and the bleh’s of life?

Lauren Daigle hits the mark in her song “First.”

Before I cry over my children, I will rejoice over my God.

Before I dwell on my pain, I will dwell on His presence.

Before I do anything, I will seek God FIRST.

“But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.”

~ Matthew 6:33

I’m not saying we should treat God as if He were our genie in a bottle or manipulate Him into giving us what we want.

I gave you my heart, God, now give me three free houses all next to Larry’s and mine for our three children — and make Lexington, SC just like Hawaii.

Seeking God isn’t about getting what we want, except that it is.

When we seek God first — truly seek Him with our whole heart first and foremost — we actually do end up getting everything we desire because everything in our being actually desires Him.

I’m not saying that I don’t truly desire my kids — they’re keepers! 

I’m saying that even more than our kids, or anything we could ever desire, God is our highest desire.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
~ Psalm 73:25-26

Think about it. Even individuals who reach the pinnacle of success in their field only enjoy a measure of contentment for a period of time. They don’t stay content.

People who’ve lost hope and appear to desire nothing actually feel deep desire — a deep desire to stop feeling desire.

Desire never disappears until it reaches its truest and deepest longing — God.

I don’t want to stop desiring my children, but I do want that desire to stop hurting so much.

I want to be able to give them over to God and send them off into the world with a genuine heart full of joy, not a quivering upper lip.

When God is my first heartbeat, my first breath and my first thought — my all — then all that I’m experiencing — all my sorrows or sadness — are covered by Him and His radiant glory, and His joy is mine.

“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
~ Psalm 16:11, NASB

Living in the midst of our highest desire — God’s presence — will turn our tears into laughter. 

Some pain shouldn’t be erased. It’s good to miss our children, so long as we don’t turn into a crazed Mrs. Bates.

Some broken hearts can’t be completely mended on this side of heaven, but fullness of joy relieves a lot of pain. It has the power to wash away our bleh’s.

I’m thrilled for my children and their exciting futures, but as long as they’re far away, I’m still going to miss my babies.

So if you’re reading this, kids, call me!

Yep, Lauren Daigle’s song “First” is my go-to song this month as I pack up my baby and send her to college.

I will seek God first as our last child leaves. 

What about you?

What is tugging at your heart today?

Seek God first and let Him fill your heart with His glorious presence and fullness of joy.


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