I’ve held onto too much in my life, unable to let go, just surviving.
I’ve never been happier than 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.
I wrote the original post below in August 2015, when our baby was headed to college, before our oldest daughter moved to Hawaii, and before our son and his wife moved from North Carolina to Lexington, only a few miles away.
Almost two years later, I need the encouraging truth in this message just as much as ever. Do you?
Surviving the Dreaded Bleh’s of Life
Two years ago, I felt this day coming.
In that post I shared how to avoid becoming another Norman Bate’s mother. I’m proud to report — as are my children — that I’ve successfully not morphed into her!
But the empty nest is descending faster than South Carolina humidity.
I’m not clinging to my children like a crazed mother, but my heart breaks over missing them.
How do we do more than survive? How do we live with joy despite 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 so they’ll want to say here.
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 above all things.
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 do feel deep desire — a deep desire to stop feeling desire.
Desire is never satisfied 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 His glory and presence cover it all — including my sorrows. 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 — turns our tears into laughter.
Some pain, like the death of a loved one, 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 as I pack up my baby and send her into the world.
I will seek God first as our last child leaves.
What about you?
What is tugging at your heart today? What Bleh’s are you survivng?
Seek God first and let Him fill your heart with His glorious presence and fullness of joy.