“…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13
“I only count the hours that shine.” Motto on a sundial
Remember the Sunshine
At the time of this writing, we have just packed up and bid “farewell” to our youngest, as he left for his senior year of college. Goodbyes are always so bittersweet.
On one hand, I am so happy for Jack as he gets to go back to school year filled with new adventures: a wonderful ministry opportunity as a discipleship group leader, new job in the college social media department, and of course, life on his own with roommates, late-night chats and doughnut runs, pretty girls everywhere, and lots and lots of fun.
On the other hand, I will miss Jack’s presence on our home dearly. There are not enough words to describe the joy he brings to our home. I have many delightful memories of this beautiful summer filled with dinnertime conversations spent lingering around the table, talking with Jack about the Lord, his friends, and dreams of the future. A homemade “slip and slide party” with his fun group of friends, movie nights spent on the couch together, Sunday morning church with our whole family and delicious lunch and fun talks afterward, and lots of laughter with his friends at our house all summer long.
As I ponder this past summer and the prospect of an empty nest, I am reminded of this wonderful quote:
“Make the least of all that goes and the most of all that comes.” Ruth Bell Graham
That about sums it up, this is a pathway to a life of joy. We need to learn to let go of the past and embrace the new, all the while remembering the sweet and wonderful times the Lord gave to us. Living a joy-filled life means that we trust the Lord and live our lives with our hands open, even at the end of our favorite seasons, and welcome the newness of the next phase of our lives.
I love how King Solomon puts it in Ecclesiastes 7:10:
“Don’t long for ‘the good old days.’ This is not wise.”
We have to learn to lean into Jesus, one day at a time and trust that He has great things in store for us. He is always up to something new. When we are sad and sulky, and longingly looking back to the ways things used to be, it can be difficult to see His goodness in our lives and what He is wanting to do.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19.
Letting go is painful, but God is faithful. He has great things in store for you.
Maybe you’re like me and have said “Goodbye” to a child who is off to college, or perhaps getting married and beginning their own life. Or maybe you recently put your kindergartener on the bus; or you just watched as your 16-year-old drove away from home, beginning his first solo adventure behind the wheel, and you feel sad; or you might just simply be longing for the good-old-days when your children were younger, and you’re having trouble moving on.
Remember, God is always calling us to grow, change and move forward. His heart for us is to live in a continual state of keeping our hands open, giving every ounce of control of our lives to our Heavenly Father, our Good Shepherd who leads us beside green pastures and restores our soul. And remember, He says He will do “..immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). Ask God to do more than you could ever even ask for. Pray and pour out your heart to Him when you are sad, but also ask for His blessings and new, exciting opportunities and fun to look forward to.
He knows what’s best for us and He says to forget the things behind and keep your eyes on the prize, even if your youngest has just left for college.
Questions to Ponder
Are you struggling with letting go in any area of your life? Tell Jesus all about it. He cares about every single aspect; what affects you, affects Him. What makes you sad, breaks His heart too. Jesus is not an impersonal and far away God, His Holy Spirit lives inside of you and is closer than your very breath. Write down what is hurting you and then get up, and go about your day. Resist the urge to become depressed. Learn to lean into God and His life-changing Word. Find encouraging verses and write them on your bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker and record them on your phone. Keep the Word of God in front of you at all times.
Get busy! What can you do to serve others? If you are an “older woman” like me, who can you help? Focusing on others is the way to go. I would be completely lost without the precious gift of the Help Club for Moms and all of my younger women who are now my best friends.
Make it your aim to make a difference in the life of a younger woman or an elderly friend. Whatever you do, just take the focus off yourself. Choose to serve and love.