We never thought we’d be empty nesters when our youngest son was just sixteen. He’d always been independent and mature, but sixteen?
Born and raised in Florida, he’d been surrounded by a tight network of friends that he’d known his whole life. He’d have been content to stay there until he graduated from the University of Florida, where all his friends planned to attend.
Hubby and I had other plans. Longing to escape the extreme humidity and high temps, we prayed for jobs in cooler climates. God told us no…for twenty years.
I guess our son never expected God would finally say yes. But He did.
Uprooting our son mid-year in tenth grade wasn’t ideal, and the NC county we were moving to didn’t offer the International Baccalaureate program. He would have lost credits by transferring, so we arranged for him to stay and finish the school year with relatives.
He spent the following summer in North Carolina with us, but he was miserable. So he moved back to Florida. Without telling us. This mother’s heart shattered into a million pieces. But that wasn’t the worst of it. We learned that we could drag him back, but nothing could prevent him from leaving again.
“You’re a terrible mother.” The enemy’s lies slithered in. Just like Eve, I pointed the finger of blame at my husband, but he spent long hours working. I blamed God. Why wait until our son was so ensconced in high school, when friendships were so important to him, to move us? I stopped writing, eating, sleeping.
God heard my cry and answered with a sweet husband who recognized we needed help and a Christian counselor who asked some tough questions. Why not let him stay? Give up our son? How could I possibly do that? What would it do to your relationship if you forced him to come back? I couldn’t fathom the answer to that one. After a few sessions and much prayer, God’s gentle whispers finally seeped into my broken spirit.
If it weren’t for my husband and this Christian counselor, who asked the tough questions and helped us see that our relationship was worth the distance and the cost, our family might have disintegrated.
Hubby and I adjusted to the empty bedroom, the vacant chair at dinner, and the steady stream of cash to Florida. We counted the days until the occasional long weekend visits and holiday breaks. For his senior year, we rented an apartment, and I split my time between both places.
It was all worth it. Especially that moment when he walked across the stage of the Kenan Stadium at the University of North Carolina to accept his diploma. Yes, you read that right. He graduated from the University of North Carolina! God definitely has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?
What about you? What tough questions have you faced during a particularly difficult time?
Contributed by Dora Hiers
Blogs: http://dorahiers.blogspot.com/ and http://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com/