Thursday, June 12, 2008

This May Be Harder Than I Thought

I've mentioned quite a few times about the changing dynamics of my family with children growing up. I've always known that I can't hold them too tightly and that God may have plans for them that take them away. I thought I was ready for that. But I've been crying all morning just anticipating a probable change this fall.
Priscilla had everything all in line to go to a college that is only about an hour and twenty minutes away. It hasn't been easy finding a local Christian college with an art major. She wanted to be able to live at home and attend classes somewhere where she would be encouraged in a Christian worldview with her art. Even though she would have to live on campus with the college she chose, she and I both took comfort in the thought of weekends at home and the mid-week possibility of going down there for a lunch date. I have been thinking that it is a smaller step that I could probably handle, not real easily, but handle nonetheless.
When the girls were preparing to go on an out-of-town trip for a week and a half recently to the Worldview Academy Leadership Camp, I was reading Annalise her bedtime reading because Priscilla, who frequently reads to her, was busy packing. She looked at me with sad eyes and asked me how long the girls were going to be gone. I told her we were going to have to get used to it because next year she would not be living here. Then Annalise began to cry and so did I. We just held each other and cried.
Now at this late time, when I thought all of the plans were set, Pris is considering a college in Missouri where she would not have to live on campus, but could live with some dear friends of ours. If she goes there she will be attending the same school as her best friend, in fact, living with her and her family, who have been like a second family to Priscilla. She feels that it is difficult to find good friends like them and being able to rely on them for encouragement and stability on a daily basis would be very helpful.
She has met one of the art professors who works at the college in Missouri because he is the father of some kids she knows, and she has been very impressed with his work. Not just the technique of his work, but the messages they contain. Priscilla is not so sure the college she had planned to attend with give her the inspiration and direction she desires.
So, she is applying for this college in Missouri, eleven hours away, to see what might be available. And we will see what happens over the next few weeks. All of us want God's will for her above all, but that doesn't mean it won't be agonizingly hard to see her go.
We went through a difficult time with Priscilla when she was seventeen, a time she relates as a part of her testimony now, even on her college essays about her personal testimony. It was a time that brought suffering for both her, her father and I, and even others, but through it she began to know God for herself. It was also a time when our love for each other was tested. When it looked like all was lost, LOVE stood strong. The storms came, the floods raged, but the Rock that the house was built on was not washed away. I guess since we came so close to loosing our relationship with her, it seems all the sweeter now. It's something I have praised God for so many times. So, you see, not having her near will be difficult indeed.
The scary thing is that it's just the beginning. Our children all arrived one right after the other, and it's likely they will be gone one right after another. I didn't raise them to sit at home and be my pets. It's exciting to see the people they are becoming and the things they are choosing to do (and not do). Nothing is sweeter than to see each of them enter into their own relationship with the Lord. I'm very proud of them. I look forward to the future, and dread it at the same time. I know it's a time in my life to receive the bittersweet changes. And even though I know many tears will be added to my bottle, I know just where to find the strength to face it.


the {{screaming *penguin}} said...

i vote for missouri lol!

Donna-Jean said...

Wow. A very moving post. I felt the mother-heart tugs just reading it. And your story of your daughter's testimony - I can relate, and it is a beautiful thing to see how God turns things for His glory.

I often think of heaven - when this huge, loving family will be together forever, with no more goodbyes, no more separations.

Thanks for writing this.