The season is changing, as summer heat fades and the days shorten. Autumn is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, pumpkins, Fall leaves, chili, sweaters and boots. This year Fall is bringing even more change to our lives, and it’s a good thing for me to acknowledge that it brings some challenges.
A few weeks ago, our youngest son left for college. For the first time in 32 years, we have no boys at home. And we miss him.
We’re moving to a new city next week. For a pastor’s family, a move is more than changing locations, it’s a completely new life. We’ve lived here for twelve years, and that’s a lot of life lived. Our two youngest girls were born here, and our two teen girls don’t remember living anywhere else. We moved here with seven children, had two more, and now only four are left at home. There’s a mix of excitement and sadness as we say goodbye and pack up our household. And declutter stuff I didn’t know we had.
I’ve been caught off guard by the emotions of going through things. Actually, books have been the hardest so far. Somehow the homeschool materials and children’s books carry emotions with them, and acknowledging the passing of seasons has me feeling sentimental. Today I’ll finish going through picture books and I’ve put it off because I know it will give me a lump in my throat. Of course we’ll keep many of them for the visits of grandchildren, but even throwing away the ripped and stained ones will remind me that those toddlers have grown up and married and built lives of their own.
We raise our children to become adults, but sometimes we wish it hadn’t gone so fast.
Fortunately several of our grown children are coming home this weekend, to get first dibs on books and furniture we’re giving away. I’ll make chicken dumplings to celebrate the birthday of a certain fifth-grade teacher, and we’ll laugh and enjoy being together. Our daughter is bringing her baby to show people at church and say goodbye. Tonight our teen girls are having a big game night with their friends. They’ll enjoy pizza and snacks amongst the boxes, and reminisce about choir and drama productions. So passes the last weekend here in Stillwater.
I’ve changed—a lot—in the past twelve years. Our wonderful church here gave me the space and grace to grow and heal. I lost 100 pounds, became a T-Tapp trainer and started a blog, and ended up with a Plexus business that has been an amazing experience. I’ve been mother of the bride twice and mother of the groom three times, and “Minky” to six grandchildren since we’ve lived here. Lots of memories in this house.
Good days are ahead. It’s fun to make plans for decorating the new parsonage, because making it homey is important to me. Our family is centered at home, and I always want it to be a pleasant refuge. One day last week the girls and I went to the empty new (to us) house and walked around and just sat in a room. It felt peaceful, and it felt like home. Moving in is more fun than moving out, so we’re looking forward to getting settled and getting acquainted with a new congregation. We don’t lose the old friends, we make new ones to add to our connections with people.
Big changes are coming with the change of seasons this year, but it’s all good. I can choose to get stressed out, or I can remember the words “Peace, be still.” I tend to naturally gravitate toward the fear and anxiety side, but staying aware of my physical reactions pulls me back to trusting and releasing. It’s my choice where I focus, and I can either stress about the details or pray about them.
Thanks for listening as I process the changes!