Parenting is grueling (did I really just say that out loud?).
Heaven knows it isn’t for the faint of heart or for anyone seeking self-glory. Far too many days come down to sheer survival, and many a night finds you falling into bed physically exhausted and emotionally spent.
As a parent, you spend years plowing the soil and planting seeds that you pray will bear good fruit in your children’s lives. But even with the best parenting —Mommy Bloggers and Pinterest Moms notwithstanding — the outcome is not guaranteed, and the results often take years to materialize. The entire endeavor is an act of faith.
Praise the Lord, along the way there are those indescribably joyous moments; the first time you hear “I love you mommy”, the bear hug that absolutely melts your heart, and the hand-made gift that outshines even the most extravagant Fifth Avenue gem. Those fleeting moments are the blessings that bolster your heart and resolve on the parenting journey.
And occasionally, from out of the blue, an unexpected reward appears: a thank you, an accolade, a heart-felt reflection from one of your children that utterly blows your mind.
Such was the case with this text I received from my middle daughter yesterday as she was waiting to board a plane after a year-long furlough, to return to the mission field:
“If you’re lucky, it may happen to you once or twice in your lifetime —crossing paths with someone who fundamentally alters your course; someone who gives you a taste of the everlasting. As your path collides with theirs, something miraculous is born. You are never the same. Neither is the world. Somehow your intersection in temporal orbit results in something divine. These are the heaven-sent.
But I, I am the lucky one. This miracle has happened, and continues to happen to me over and over again… through you, my mom and dad. You create for me a sense of home as I sojourn through this life. You continue to remind me of His plan, His will and His way, and enable me to run toward that Holy throne without looking back.
You look at me with eyes that will me on, offer tears that water the lonely soil of my heart, and speak loving whispers that renew hope within me.
It’s hard to say goodbye— every single time. It hurts to know I’m ticking off yet another in a limited number of hugs. It’s so hard to step over that threshold and let the distance grow between us once again. My comfort is in knowing that it is only for a time. Someday soon we will be together forever.
I love you guys. I miss you already. I don’t know if I remember how to live without you.
Thank you for the last year. I’ll never forget it. Thank you for helping me to heal. Thank you for helping me to grow. Thank you for showering me with love. Thank you for enabling me to serve. Thank you for everything. I couldn’t do this without you. I am truly and eternally in your debt.”
— This mom is speechless.