August 22, 2007

Role Reversal

Ever since James told me he was moving out, I've had a lump in my throat. Finally, the other night I couldn't swallow it one more time and I erupted. James wasn't home for the initial crying jag and I was hoping it would be over before he did come home. I do not want to make him feel guilty for living his life!
However, he did come home before my red nose and swollen eyes could get back to normal and he asked me if I'd been crying. I nodded. "Because of me?"
Mike had gone to bed because he didn't feel well. Benjamin was up and overheard James and I talking. So, then both boys tried to reassure me that James' life is in God's hands and when he dies it will be because it was God's timing.
"Guys, I am not crying because I'm afraid of James dying."
I went on to tell them all my thoughts.
I'm wondering who is going to take care of James when he gets home from work and discovers he's too tired to cook and there's nothing in the house to make.
Who's going to give him 7-Up and applesauce when he has the flu and every time he moves he throws up?
Who's going to finish folding his laundry because he's been too busy and tired to do it himself?
When people start decorating for the holidays he's going to go home to a dark, empty apartment with no little brothers to pester him and no homemade cookies or Christmas music playing.
I was thinking about him being lonely and missing out on playing chess, and bantering with his brothers like he used to here at home.
I did admit I have some fears about his life, but that's not my primary concern.
"Boy mom, you're making me feel real good about moving." he grinned.
We went on to talk about my selfish thoughts. With my babies moving on I'm starting to feel like a cow whose milking days are about over. Time to put the old girl out to pasture, don'tcha think?
It's hard to know who or what I am if I'm not a mom. In my mind that's why God made me. It's my purpose and if my kids don't need me, my life is just about over.
That's when the conversation got interesting. I'll start with James.
He emphatically said that he needs me. That he'll always need me. That I'm his mom and he loves me. That he is not moving out to reject me. He and Benjamin both said that. They both also said that when kids move out it's like the family is branching out, not dying. They told me I should look at it like our family is a spider plant, and now the shoots are starting to "shoot out".
I know all that but it still hurts. The pin hole thing, you know?
Then Benjamin started talking. He said that he's just been realizing in the last 3 weeks that our purpose is not functional. God made us to glorify Him and enjoy Him. The 3 of us sat and discussed that for awhile. We've all 3 viewed "glorifying God" as either becoming more like God, or living our lives so others see Him and want Him in their lives, or serving others to show God we love Him and want to glorify Him. But Benj. said that lately he's been realizing that if he were in solitary confinement with no bible, he could still fulfill his purpose in life. He could sit in that little cell and glorify God. My relationship with Him should be like that. Just me and God, face to face. Me adoring Him and loving Him and praising Him. That that is why God made each of us. To glorify Him and enjoy Him. No strings attached.
After we chewed on that for a time I asked them if they thought that meant I'd made our little family an idol in my life. Silence. Then they both said they thought if I'd done that there would be anger involved in James' leaving. I'm not angry, just sad.
Those 2 thoughts are huge, and I think they're going to be life changing if I can ever "get it".
Do I have idols in my life? If I base my importance on how I perform as a wife and mother and homeschool teacher and call that glorifying the Lord, that means I've put ME on the pedestal, or the boys, or Mike. My motive isn't honestly to glorify Him at all. Does that make sense?
So, how do I Stop and glorify the Lord? Do I enjoy Him?
Some of this seems like just basic stuff, but I'm thinking that to "glorify and enjoy the Lord" has many levels to it. I want to see the deeper and deeper parts of what those two words mean. How totally selfish of me to think that what I "do" glorifies the Lord. If I wanted to be glorified, I'd want someone to just look me deep in the eyes and say, "I love you. You are the best and most important person in my life. I want to be with you every minute....." I'd much rather have that than someone running around cleaning the house for me, or cooking dinner for me, or working on lesson plans for school. I'd want their undivided attention.
Anyway-I see a lot of thinking, praying, and bible study in my future.
For the last week I've been wishing at least one of my parents were around to help me through this time. Well, it wasn't an older, wiser person who comforted and advised me at all. It was my kids.


  1. Pick up Benjamin's copy of The Call and start reading it one chapter at a time. It might help a bit.

  2. Judy, you're in a strange place. Some of your kids are moving out, but you still have two at home, one who will be there for YEARS yet. You're not ready for the pasture yet! But it does sound like some thoughtful things happening in your life!


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