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Yesterday as we were driving the back roads to church, we passed the neighborhood where we used to live. As in, the 'hood we just moved from about 3 months ago.
I wasn't prepared for the punch in the stomach feeling that hit me. My insides felt queasy and I could feel a lump the size of a Fall pumpkin forming in my throat.
My daughter was the first to say it. "I miss this place, Momma. Why did we move?"
It took me a few seconds to answer her. Here's the thing I have learned with my daughter: I have to hold it together. Because, if I don't, we both fall apart like two dollar clocks and it's all over.
Sometimes, as a Momma, you have to be a big girl. A really big girl. I have had to put on some really BIG, big girl panties being a Momma. HUMONGOUS.
It takes a lot of acting to be a Mother. You have to act like everything is "okay" much of the time to keep the whole blessed mess of emotions from surfacing like a tsunami. Y'all know what I mean.
Academy Award winners have nothing on Momma's. Where is our Oscar?
I wasn't prepared to feel that feeling. The feeling that hits you out of the blue when your day is going just fine, the sun is shining, and you are wearing your non-waterproof mascara 'cause there is NOTHING on Earth planned to make you cry today!
Well, breathing deep, collecting my thoughts, and silently asking Jesus to take the wheel in this conversation, I responded to my daughter.
"Change is good, darling. Even when it's hard."
There. I said it. Even though in the moment I didn't believe one iota of it.
My mind flooded with memories of pushing my children on their bikes up the hills of that neighborhood. Sitting on the entrance sign talking about everything from baby dolls to boys with my baby girl every time we would take a walk together.
Running sprints with my son as he was training for cross country. Conversation filled-to-the-rim walks with my husband as we tried to have 5 minutes of time together while our kids played in the yard. Riding on the four wheeler with my love, wind at my back, arms around his waist, head on his shoulder--- Not a care in the free world for those few minutes on warm Summer nights.
Burying all three of our beloved pets in the back yard of that house. Jumping on the trampoline with my children until my legs would practically buckle under me. Side walk chalk writing all the live long day on lazy Summer days with my children.
I have to stop there. The tears are stinging my face. [where are my stinkin' big girl panties?!]
Change is hard.
Even though I know God's plan was for us to move, it did not make it easy.
I remember telling my friend Kelli that selling our house was like going into labor. I knew that it was going to be painful. However, I knew that at the end of the pain, God would bring something really good out of it. Just like childbirth.
As I drove past our old neighborhood, I was struck by something. Everything looked exactly the same. The same cars in the driveway. The same bends in the road.
It's funny because for some reason I was expecting it to look different. But, it wasn't. It was unchanged.
Immediately, I heard this scripture in my heart, "I, the Lord, do not change." Malachi 3:6
No matter how many changes we go through in life, He never changes.
This gave me comfort today. In a world where it seems just as we get used to things being one way, the whole stinkin' thing turns upside down. Splat. And it changes again.
He never changes.
As I thought about the nostalgia of driving past our old neighborhood, I could not help but to think of Jesus.
The night before He was to be crucified, He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Bible says He was "sorrowful and troubled." [Matthew 26:37]
I also wonder if Jesus was nostalgic.
Was He thinking of all of the good times He had with His friends? The many miracles? The feast with His friends? Feeding the 5,000? Walking on water? Healing the lepers? Giving sight to the blind?
Did He think of His childhood? Did He think of his mother, Mary, and his father, Joseph? Did He reminisce about the time his parents could not find him when He was in the temple?
I bet He thought of all of those things.
Yet, the words that came out of His mouth were, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done" Matthew 22:42
Jesus knew that there was no going back.
He knew that in order for God's plan to be fulfilled, He had to go through the pain.
He knew that the memories would be nothing compared to the sweetness of God's plan being fulfilled.
Jesus trusted His Father.
Even when He knew it would be painful.
I know, I just KNOW, that Heaven will be the same way. We will not change anymore. Nothing will change. We will worship the Lord, and NOTHING will change.
My spirit craves this. Our spirits crave this.
[And just for the record, I am asking the Lord to make me young in Heaven. Young and wrinkle-free]
[and I am standing on this scripture right here thank you very much: "you have not because you ask not" James 4:2]
As much as I want to stop the hands of time, and even turn back time, I know that with each ticking of the clock it brings us closer to Him. Closer to the day when there will be no pain. No sorrow. No tears.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." Revelation 21:4
Until then, I will keep a big huge stock of big girl panties in my drawers, and continue daydreaming about my wrinkle-free skin.