I heard a voice in our home recently that I didn’t recognize.  Then I realized that it was our 14 year old. His voice just changed from a little boy’s to a man’s and I have to say that it stung a little…even more than when it happened to his 4 older brothers.

He’s the last of our 8 kids and though we are not finished raising him and his 16 year old sister, the finish line is in sight.

My husband and I went away for the weekend recently (one of the benefits of this season of life) because we needed to reconnect.  More than that, we needed to re evaluate, get a better grip on this season of life and, more than anything, catch a vision for the future.

We’ve spent the last 6 years adjusting to each older daughter getting married and starting their families, our son going to college, a couple of sons leaving, coming home and leaving again. We’ve been navigating the post high school years with our boys and on top of all of that, we moved across the country 18 months ago to start a new business in a new community.

We feel like our heads have been spinning for quite awhile now, so we took some time to be alone and to listen to an audio conference that helped us ask the right questions because you can’t get the right answers if you don’t ask the right questions.

While we were talking, my husband succinctly described our season of life as: “Phase Two of Growing Our Family” because our family IS still growing.  We have two potential daughter in laws and our 5th and 6h grand babies on the way…and only our two daughters are married/having kids, so far! This is only the beginning.

More importantly we are now investing in the lives of mostly adult children. This influence impacts their friends, co-workers, spouses (or potential spouses) and children.  Because we have valued relationship all along the way, our kids want to talk to us, want us to pray with and for them, and want to know our thoughts. This can take time, but it’s something we are so grateful we get to do. It requires a new set of skills that we are still honing in on. Sometimes it takes self discipline to keep our mouths closed, but our hearts open. Sometimes it means trusting that God is sovereign over their lives and that HE WILL lead  and protect them.  It often means letting go while still caring…and praying.

Being the parents of adult children is more of a dance than I ever imagined. 

At first it felt awkward. I felt uncoordinated and clumsy.  Slowly I am finding my footing and hopefully becoming a little more graceful, but it seems to mostly only come by laying my life down in ways that can be quite painful. Not because my kids are demanding so much from me, but because I’m still much more selfish than I could ever have imagined.

Circumstances and people can NOT bring out in us what is not already there.

This was one of the main points in the conference we were listening to. OUCH. Double Ouch. The truth hurts, but it’s also very freeing.

Another point this conference made was that we are all interpreters.  That means that we are ALWAYS interpreting our lives and circumstances. We are either interpreting in light of the truth or we are not. The same set of circumstances can happen to two different people and they can react two very different ways. That’s because it’s not so important WHAT happens to us as how we interpret it.

So as we roll into “Phase Two”, how are we interpreting this change of season? Are we coming to better understanding of what it means to find our identity in Him? Do we trust in His sovereignty and that He is GOOD?  Do we believe that there is hope for the future and that hope rests in HIM and the fact that He is truly enough?

It’s an ongoing process for sure, but I’ve witnessed more Christian parents fail at this than succeed. None of us will do this perfectly, but that is not the point.  The point is are we allowing God to use these challenges in our lives to transform us? Are we continuing to humble ourselves and let Him grow us or are we digging our heels in and resisting whatever God is calling us to?

The enemy is insidious and unrelenting.  He digs in when we are at our weakest point. He shows no mercy.  BUT our God is SO much bigger and more powerful. He is the great redeemer. He never allows anything to touch us that doesn’t pass through His loving hands first.

May the challenges we face in whatever season we are in cause us to RUN to Him, to pour our hearts out to Him in all honesty and to stand firm on who He tells us He is because He IS enough.