Teri and did something the other day we've never done before: we moved our daughter Sharayah and her new husband, Bence, up to Lynchburg, Virginia. After 10 hours of driving, we decided to immediately start unloading their U-Haul Truck in the cool of the early morning hour of 1:00am, toting an assortment of furniture, going up the stairs countless times, discovering muscles we had forgotten were even there, spent the night exhausted in their new apartment, woke up, did some more moving, and then left! We collapsed for three days down the road in Charlotte, North Carolina, making low moaning noises, and soaking in a hotel swimming pool.
Granted, three years ago we moved her to Liberty University about this time, and it was extremely emotional - facing the fact that our youngest child was now growing up and entering college, and that our little girl would be 8 hours away in a different state, and at a very large school. What we may not have fully grasped at that time, is that we too were being asked to "grow up".
Then (August, 2010), seemed to us the beginning process of "Letting Go". And now (August, 2013), another step in that journey - that our lives as parents will no longer be defined by old paradigms, but rather by new ones. And isn't this the way it is supposed to be? ... a man should leave his mother, and woman leave her home …
Many people struggle with this season of life - it even has a diagnosis: The Empty Nest Syndrome. And fair enough, you invest 18+ years in your children through blood, sweat, and tears, and then you have to stand back, let them cross the road on their own, and cheer them on.
This road, from nurturer, to teacher, to coach, to mentor, to cheerleader (and then consultant, when they have kids and realize they don't have all the answers anymore!), is all part of a progression God has set in motion when He invented family - guaranteed - your role will change. And this goes back to the age-old truth - that our lives should be so much more defined by who we are, and not by what we do. Otherwise, we get lost in the backdraft.
It was a deeper blessing to Teri and I, that this time, we felt much more at peace leaving Sharayah in Lynchburg, knowing that she is there with a loving, capable husband who is going to look after her, along with the familiarity of having been there already. And while there will still be challenges of a different kind, we know that ultimately The Lord will be taking good care of them as they put their trust in Him. And we are also that much more aware that we too are growing up, into a fuller stature in Christ...