People at church on Sunday asked about Mason starting school, and how things were going. I had replied that he was beginning on Monday, like it was days or weeks away. No big deal. We’re good. It’s not tomorrow or anything. Um, hello. Somehow I didn’t realize that Monday was the very next day, until I was on my way home from church. Immediately, my stomach got all knotted up and I felt unprepared and nervous for what the first day of school might hold.
Life with Mason began with a lot of unknowns. We had more questions than answers and more feelings of inadequacy than confidence. Over the years we’ve learned how to be his parents and how to help him through the areas where he struggles more than other children. But, it’s never easy.
And sending him off to school, while I know it’s the best thing for him right now, is not easy.
Two weeks ago we finalized the process for him to receive Special Ed services in our city, but we were waiting for a school placement. We signed papers giving permission for him to ride a bus to and from school each day, just in case. As much as he loves buses, I was hesitant to put him on one without me. We expressed our desire to have him in the girls’ school, but there was no guarantee. So we waited, praying that God would grant us trust in the midst of fear and unknowns.
A few days later, I received a call that we had two options for his placement. One was a specialized preschool on the other side of town. The other was an elementary school with an inclusion class that had one spot. It was the girls’ school. The school that basically sits in our backyard. The one that I allow my children to walk to without me because it’s so close that I can see them walking almost the entire way.
I hung up the phone and started crying. What a gift. “Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine,” these words from Ephesians kept going through my mind.
I had asked and imagined, but I don’t think I really believed God would do it. I was walking in fear, my lack of faith exposed in the face of my self-sufficiency. God blew me away with His kindness.
We walked Mason to school yesterday morning, his backpack loaded with extra pull ups, a change of clothes, and a towel for nap time. He didn’t want me to hold his hand or help carrying his lunch box. When I walked him to the cafeteria to join his class, he took a seat with his new friends, looked at me and while blowing kisses at me said, “Bye, Mama, Bye.”
He is thrilled. And I couldn’t be more excited for him. But I also had to hold back tears because releasing him was hard.
Change is never easy. Unwanted changes are painful, but even when we know the change is good or necessary, or when it’s something we’ve chosen and planned for, there’s still a struggle to embrace newness.
In her book, Girl Meets Change, Kristen Strong says this:
“Sometimes God allows change in our lives so we can have his presence like never before. So perhaps the first step in making room for unwanted change is acknowledging that it’s in our life because he wants to be in our life more.”
Yes! This is true for unwanted changes, as she states, but I think the principle applies to every kind of change.
God has things in store for us. Good things. And we live in the abundance of His provisions each day.
But the greatest thing? It’s Himself. His presence, love, peace, joy, and the satisfaction of knowing that we can rest secure in His everlasting arms.
When I lean into Jesus in the midst of change, I can embrace the changes with fresh eyes of faith and joy because I’m embracing the presence of Jesus in my life. The never-changing characteristics of God bring me great confidence as I move forward in His strength.
Yesterday felt weird. I haven’t had just two kids at home since 2012. My house was a bit more quiet, there were less toys laying around, and I didn’t have to settle any arguments or wipe tears from injuries inflicted by Mason and Jennavieve. I walked around yesterday in awe of God, grateful for the ways that He has guided us to this place and the gifts that He’s granting to me in the midst of a challenging change.
“Just maybe by offering up your gratitude in all things, you are also showing how you trust God to use all things too…Gratitude again brings the sun and fresh air to the windowless times in our soul and reminds us of what we have. The focus on what is missing blurs, and the focus on what is present sharpens.
These words, again from Kristen, help me to remember that when the changes of life are difficult, the weight of uncertainty heavy, I need to shift gears in my heart and mind and simply give thanks. Through gratitude I can see the gifts of God even when life is difficult. I can see how He wants to use these changes to increase my faith and give me a deeper confidence in Him. When my focus turns away from the challenge and toward Him, everything changes.
There are sweet things about this season. I was so fixated on the hardness of letting Mason go that I was oblivious to the good things that would come. Praise God that He never gives up on us. He gives all things and uses all things for His glory and for our good.