First of all, we did get Ashley and Matt all moved and tucked into their new apartment in Indiana. We got in Friday evening, finished unpacking Saturday afternoon, and went out to The Irish Lion for dinner because we really didn’t have anymore work to do. Hence the reason my husband is actually sitting down.
Their apartment is on the third floor, which made it a pain to carry all their belongings, but is great because they have cathedral ceilings and tall closets that allowed Ashley to stack boxes to the nth degree. Her stacking skills left me feeling inadequate. But I can rejoice with her. They also have great windows, which is quite a change from their previous apartment
in the cellar. Light streams in from ALMOST every direction.
When not working her regular job, Ashley had been busting her bunnies restoring furniture for the move. She had accumulated quite a bit of stuff, and most of it was free. But as Ash discovered, free usually isn’t free. Resurrecting that stacking bookcase almost did her in. Sanding all the paint down and getting that white cabinet ready caused hair loss. Fixing the seatless chairs that used to sit on the porch of Matt’s bachelor pad may have left her in a puddle of tears. But it was worth it!
The best thing about Ashley growing up, getting married to Matt, and moving to Indiana has been seeing the fruit of our prayers for her. We prayed for a godly man for her. She married Matt, who is way above average. We prayed God would guide Matt where he should go to graduate school. He received a great offer from the University of Indiana. We prayed for a community of believers for them in Bloomington. Guess who was waiting in the parking lot when we drove up with the u-haul? A PCA church plant pastor’s family and the Reformed University Fellowship pastor’s family. They have connections to friends in Lincoln, and came to help. I saw God taking care of this new part of Ash and Matt’s life before I even shut off the car.
So the obvious question is this, apparently: How am I doing with all this moving business?
I am doing well. As I have repeated many times, I think the hardest part of Ashley growing up was when she moved out. I had to face the inevitable fact that the little girldom we had had for so long was over. Would the next stage be as good? Would Ash still NEED me? When all the kids are gone where the heck would I get my significance?
Well, actually, my significance should have never come from my kids, but when you are needed by them ALL THE TIME, it is easy to think being a mommy is the most important thing. And it is incredibly important, but my only significance comes from the value Christ gave me when he died for my sins. When I attempt to get my significance any other way, I will be deceived, and I will eventually be disappointed when circumstances change.
Matt’s sweet new office space.
As parents we strive to help our kids be independent, and develop their own relationship with the Lord. If we continue to try to exert control over their lives after they are adults, we will be unhappy, they will be unhappy, and we will be working against all the things we have been preparing and praying for them. We need to let go. God is the only one who has control over their hearts at any point, anyway. We need to be faithful in our stewardship of them. And when we grow older, we need to figure out how to love them well from afar. I am still figuring that out. I think Ashley and I’s lives will still be interwoven as they always have been. Maybe just a looser weave.
I think Ashley has a bigger transition than I do. She isn’t working or in school. That in itself is a huge change. I still have all my friends, family and activities here. In fact, I have realized that I always thought I would have more time for things as the kids grew older. But if any free time emerges, it is quickly taken up by “something”, whether that be something the Lord is leading me to do, or not. I am already praying God would lead me in his will in the future, and “stuff” wouldn’t just fill my time. I want to be purposeful and seek his will more than ever when days are not automatically dictated by my children’s activities. This gives me prayerful hope for the future, instead of dreading the empty nest.
And Ashley and Matt? They have the Lord. They have each other. They are already a part of a church plant in Bloomington. They will be just fine. I probably only need to visit every few weeks.