Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Next

Tomorrow is the day I have in some ways been dreading for 15 years, ever since my first baby was in my arms and I knew this day was coming. Tomorrow I will send my last baby to kindergarten. I have no preschoolers left. And you know what? I am okay. I'm almost happy about it. And I think I know why.

You see, last year I started transitioning my thoughts to what's next. I decided that the reason I was afraid of sending the baby to school was because I wondered if I would be starting the slow descent into obsolescence. A mother's job is to work herself out of a job, so I guess you'd say it's a planned obsolescence, but that doesn't make it feel any better. Deep down I think we all want to be needed, to matter to someone else. Mothering babies and preschoolers gives you that in spades. They need us for everything at first, then a little less, but for several years we hang the moon to them, and that's a pretty great feeling.

But God doesn't want us to stay there (lest our egos get the best of us), and so He makes motherhood a long series of changes and adjustments and letting go. They start to sleep in their own room, and then they start to go on sleepovers and fix their own lunches, and then one day they leave--eventually for good. And stay-at-home moms like me wonder what's next.

So last year my constant prayer was that God would give me a vision. I realized that God will always give us something useful to do if we just ask Him, so I started badgering Him to show me what that is. "What do you want me to do that matters? Fill my time with what you want, but please help me to see that there will be something so I can gracefully pry my hands off this mothering littles job I've been doing (and love so much)."

And God answered that prayer. So tomorrow as I send my baby to school perhaps there will be tears (not from her), but mostly there will be relief. Because I have work to do, work I love and that fits my skill set. So much work that I'm pretty sure I can't get it all done without some supernatural help. And those kid-free hours are going to come in handy for getting it done.

So if you're wondering what's next, if you find yourself at a transition point in life that's feeling overwhelming, I challenge you to ask God for a vision of what's next. Tell Him you're ready to do something important, and He'll give it to you.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord
They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 
In those days when you pray, I will listen."
--Jeremiah 29:11-12