My boy and I, we switch passenger seats in cars at Trader Joes, a detour on our way to Savannah, Georgia. We’re moving our daughter into her dorm room, stopping for her favorite snacks.
I grab my pile of books and stack them beside my feet but I never crack one of those spines open. Instead, I am a scribe ready for mental dictation, translating God’s providence through the minutes my daughter drives into adulthood.
The back seat stacks with the contents from a small chest in her bedroom; years of wishes granted by relatives, friends and the result of hard work in summertime – linens, monogrammed towels and coffee cups. Even what is secondhand holds special memories. Plastic bins that once held crayons and markers for afternoon spurts of creativity when she was seven are now filled with dishes for late night study breaks.
She fidgets with dials searching on the radio for songs that make her fingers dance on the steering wheel. We talk of artists, their lives and the way lyrics speak to us; laugh about the absurdity when they don’t.
Time blurs past my window making home a distant memory as we push pavement south.
Like waves in the ocean, I will never again capture these moments in our relationship. But I’ll have ripples of remembrance. Of the eyelash curtain brushing her cheek while she napped peacefully on the couch and the way she crumples fists in frustration watching her brother dunk the last Oreo in a glass of milk.
Mother’s retrace the lines that lead us back to clarity.
That God trusts us to care for His children for such a time as this.
Surrender is the way of showing we’re trustworthy for what He has next.
After eating our last supper of salmon salad on white and savoring homemade gingersnaps, we pull into the parking lot, through throngs of parents with students who are pushing lime green buckets overflowing with rugs, flat screens and lamps.
When we open our doors, climb out and stretch, it’s as if someone turned up the heat in a room of stagnant water, sucking all my energy with it. Moments later, as we unpack and move into an empty room void of color, sweat drips down my back and H saturates two shirts like he’s just been swimming laps.
And all I can do is mop and dust and clean toilets to make the room smell of welcome.
We wait for her roommate but she never shows up. So we delay decorating walls, laying out rugs and the purchase of a shower curtain. And book another night in the hotel room; make a meal of free drinks and snacks.
And this is a metaphor for our family over the last six months. Expectancy about the future fuels the journey but details change the emotional climate, delay gratification and threaten to suck joy right out of us.
“What he asks of us, in the way of surrender, and obedience, and desire, and trust, is all comprised in this one word: waiting on Him, waiting for his salvation,” writes Andrew Murrary.
And wait we must because what other choice have we?
The next day, we leave our first born standing in the parking lot of a new city without knowing anyone; watch her become a distant silhouette among strangers in the rear view mirror, her new home half empty. And I leave my books in her car parked in Savannah. Instead of reading, I take mental dictation about the way God is parenting us.
In the same way we want to rescue our daughter, He knows that isn’t what is best for us. He allows uncomfortable detours in order to remember we are dependent. And the next time we face unexpected situations, trust becomes intuitive knowing Peace will direct us.
The ability to surrender and trust God deeply is more valuable than instant gratification.
Parting is such sweet sorrow isn’t just an oxymoron for lovers but for mothers letting go of their children.
Are you in a season of waiting for breakthrough? What are you trusting God for? Let’s encourage one another in the comments.
Linking with Laura and Kelli, Jennifer and Holley.