By Lisa Cherry
When I walked through my house tonight to turn out the lights, I surveyed what could have been a disaster scene following a tornado. Articles of clothing were flung in odd piles leading up to the doorway. Wrappers and labels from toiletry items were scattered down the hall. A granola bar box—empty—had been tossed in a corner. Two dilapidated suitcases lay abandoned by the basement stairwell. The “tornado” of last minute preparations was over. Six of my family members had just left on a mission trip and each artifact they had left bore testimony to my beloved international travelers.
"I have done it!" I thought. "I have successfully launched my missionaries to the fruitful fields of Haiti and Dominican Republic. Gallons of hand sanitizer and jumbo packs of Imodium later, the packing is finished. We’ve made the launch!"
I chuckle to myself when I anticipate the glamor of my role during this week of the mission trip. While my missionaries are soaring over beautiful blue exotic waters and testing the border regulations, I will be resorting the laundry room, mopping the floor of slippery spills of shampoo, and answering the incessant questions of the too-young-to make-the-mission-team crowd. "When can we do something fun, Mommy? Since they are all gone let’s just go to the park, Mommy…"
With years of practice behind me, I know this routine well: Minding the home front…picking up the pieces…filling in the gaps...holding down the fort...being the mom.
But this year a tear comes to my eye. Why, it won't be long before all of them will be old enough to go, and I will have no reason to stay! All those longings to go and do and experience and see will be mine, too. But gone, also, will be the season of serving my King by serving in my home. The noses won't need to be wiped and the park swings will be still. And once again I am reminded: Never despise the season you are in. You will never pass this way again. Parenting toddlers so quickly gives way to parenting teens. And, yes, the joy continues, but different. Adventurous, daring, and sweet.
God, grant me the grace to see You in every moment, always expectant of Your joy and mindful of Your presence. Help me to savor my seasons and grow in Your kindness. And when it's my turn to hit the launch pad, let me look back with full contentment and peace, knowing that I have faithfully served You as I have served family. Amen.