i don’t think i have anything else to say. the school years seemed to go by in less time than it took me to put all of those photos together. which was just this morning. in the time between millie and maxx leaving for school (6:45) and the time i need to wake rosalea up for school (8:00).
i guess i have one more word to describe how seeing all of those photos smushed together makes me feel... grateful. to have been there for each first day. to have had food on the table for them. new(ish) clothes for them to wear. full lunchboxes. and a snack and listening ear when they arrived home. grateful. very very grateful.
and jo jo (who is pictured in 2003 & 2004 when she lived with us as a college student) sent me a link to jen wilkin’s blog yesterday (jen teaches women’s classes at the village church. matt chandler’s church. she is GREAT! i listen to podcasts by her all of the time but didn’t know that she blogged)...
here are some of jen's thoughts as her children go to school for their first day... read the entire post because it is AMAZING and i can't wait until she and i are real bff's...
As the years unfold we begin to understand that we have been introduced to the great truth of pain in childbearing, a pain we naively believed would be confined to Labor and Delivery, but that visits us at every transition we nurture our children toward: The measured inhale, the steady exhale, the mighty push. And separation. Preschool. Kindergarten. Middle school. High school. College. Career. Marriage. With a familiar aching euphoria, we push them out – from safety and provision to separation and uncertainty. It feels like they would be safer just staying with us, as if safety were the greatest gift we could give them.
And somehow, this painful separation process is for our sanctification as mothers. For years I was not sure what the Bible meant when it said that women would be saved through childbearing, but it grows clearer to me now. I once thought it referred only to giving birth, but its meaning encompasses the span of motherhood. Children are born in an instant, but they are borne across a lifetime. Childbearing saves me because it faithfully (albeit painfully) reminds me over and again that I am weak. It reminds me that I am not self-sufficient, that I do not have what it takes to preserve and protect my children, but that my Heavenly Father does. It saves me from the belief that I am God....
...There is no betrayal of a child’s trust in sending him out into uncertainty: there is only opportunity to further teach him the one worthy Object of his trust - and to learn the lesson again for myself. To paraphrase a favorite author, I cannot raise my children to be safe, but I can raise them to be strong.
So on days of transition like today, I will steady myself to take those precious photos and send those precious children out. Inhale. Exhale. Push. And it will hurt the way great loss holding hands with great gain tends to do. I may cry for a little while after they go, but I will also give thanks for God’s faithfulness – faithfulness in turning the pain of childbearing from a curse to a means of grace. Only He can do that. He can be trusted, and He alone.
- jen wilkin, the truth about pain in childbearing