When Kaia left for college two months ago, we knew we were in for a huge adjustment. Even though it’s the second time for us to experience a child leaving home, we’re feeling this loss differently than when our oldest left. Two months later, the gaping hole she left behind finally feels a little smaller. Just a little.
Loss continues to show up in my life in different ways: my mother-in-law’s death in May, Kaia’s leaving for college in August, ending Daily Devo in September. Ida’s death brought back all of the memories of my mom’s death seventeen years ago, and my friend Joy’s death last summer. Kaia’s departure simultaneously marked the end of her childhood. I’m mourning this very deeply. Daily Devo was a part of my life every day for the last three years. Not having it to work on made me unexpectedly sad.
We’re also experiencing loss on a societal level. I feel a loss of trust, a loss of mutual respect, and a loss of basic decency. Fear permeates our busy days and our sleepless nights. I’m having conversations in my family I couldn’t have imagined I would need to have. Preparing my daughters to live as young adults in this country is the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s all so exhausting.
When I run out of words, I pray – often aloud – and words find me again. When talking to my girls about cold, harsh realities, we pray together. Talking to God and listening to God as a family following the Way of Love helped me create even more time for personal prayer. Recently, during a time of prayer and meditation, I realized: I don’t mind my kids watching me struggle with depression. I do mind them watching me struggle with fear.
God tells us over 300 times in scripture not to be afraid. Courage lives in all of us and waits for us to realize it’s there. God said to do it, so I grabbed hold of a massive dose of courage and claim it like it’s always been mine. My conversations with God continue to bless me with increased awareness of my power as God’s child following Jesus led by the Spirit.
Courage is contagious. Showing the little I’ve found helps the girls see themselves as courageous people. We had the courage to drive to NYC to see our favorite band in concert a few weeks ago. I have the courage to get outside most days and engage in God’s creation. Each courageous act makes way for the next one. Fear can’t survive when you invite courage in. God doesn’t want us to live in fear.
Our children will use us as their mirrors whether we want them to or not. I need the reflection to be someone they want to see and be. With God’s help, I’m creating an image that even I can begin to be happy viewing.
I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 CEB
How is God revealing your courageous side to you? How can you show your courage to your family?