This is my first morning, you guys. My first morning waking up as an empty nester. After a 60-hour road trip from Montana to Texas and back, our son is settled at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Our daughter and son-in-law are settled at Montana State University. Our house is strangely quiet and free of size 11 tennis shoes consuming every square inch of my kitchen floor.
Tackling the kitchen first, I started putting away all the traveling paraphernalia the car had vomited from the night before. That’s when I saw the Band-Aid on the floor –the one that had been wrapped around my son’s toe because he took a layer of skin off climbing a tree before he left for college.
Only a mom who misses her boy this much could get choked up over a nasty Band-Aid on the floor.
My first instinct was to despair. With both kids gone, was my life over? It felt like it for a second.
Except I remembered that the kids aren’t my life. They are precious, for sure. Being a part of all their activity has filled my days, and their personalities have been a joy. But they are not my life.
“I am...the life,” Jesus says. (John 14:6 NIV)
As I threw away that disgusting Band-Aid, I talked to Jesus. Over the last 40 years, I have made Jesus the focus of my days. Kids were gone, yes, but he was still there.
“What meaningful activity would you like me to do today, Lord?” I prayed.
There was a big move-in day at my school, because they constructed a new wing over the summer. Jesus encouraged me to put my hair in a ponytail and go help out, even though I felt tired and had a kajillion chores to do after being gone for two weeks.
If I had centered the value of my life around my kids, then my entire life would be over today. I would be devastated and alone. The hours would stretch out empty in front of me, with nothing meaningful in them. I would have no one to talk to and no one to serve.
But there is Jesus, and he is close.
Jesus is someone to share life with. Someone who won’t grow up and leave. Someone who loves me and has work for me to do.
So here’s what I say to you moms, no matter what age your kids are:
Never ever let your kids be the center of your life. They are a beautiful part of your days for a season, but you run the risk of disappointment, at the very least, and devastation, at the very worst, if you put them dead center in the middle.
Only Jesus is worthy of filling the core of a mom’s soul, and he will never disappoint.
You’ll find, as a benefit, that making Jesus your life then fills you with joy and meaning that overflows to your family. You will be a content and satisfied momma, and all of your interactions at home will be impacted by the richness of your focus.
Why don’t you grab a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time examining your soul. Is Jesus your very life, or have you misplaced your kids in that position?