Preparing for an empty nest

Kristin 96On Independence day 17 years ago, we were blessed with our fourth baby, our third daughter.  I had a relatively uneventful pregnancy, labor and delivery, and this sweet baby girl was added to a very excited and anxious sibling group waiting at home.  Her brother, who had desperately prayed for a brother, found the silver lining and said “well, at least I don’t have to share my room”.

When it was time to take her home from the hospital, she was as orange as a pumpkin, and her bilirubin count was enough of a concern for her doctor and nurses, that they talked of keeping her admitted after letting me go home.  A compromise was reached that allowed us to take her home, with a bili light, provided we promised to keep her under the light at all times until her numbers satisfied the doctor.

This being my fourth baby, I expected my recovery to be like the other three times I had given birth.  Uneventful, and easy.  NOT.  I had terrible post-partum depression.  I would wake out of a deep sleep, panicked, with heart pounding fear that something was wrong with my baby.  I would shake her gently just to make sure she was breathing and alive, then I would cry, and pray, and beg the Lord to protect her and save her; that she would grow to be a witness of His power in her life.

I’ve said before, that there is a special dynamic with the youngest child that I did not experience with the others; a special, heart-wrenching, frustrating, worrisome angst that grips and squeezes, and threatens to suffocate even the best prepared, level-headed, practical Momma (that I thought I was).  She had a way of pushing my buttons, testing my limits, and trying my patience that the other three, (though not perfect by any stretch of the imagination), never dreamed of.

How many times her antics, independent spirit and headstrong will drove me to my knees crying out in prayer for mercy!  With one breath, I thanked God for her spunk, and her laughter, while in the next, I prayed in tears that her will would be as strong in standing for Him as it was standing up for what she wanted.  She was the most compassionate of the four kids.  This is the child who would not let us step on or kill spiders, she gave them names, made them pets (shivers), and protected them fiercely.  I prayed that she would develop a compassion for souls, and that God would pour out his love for people through her.

She didn’t want to learn anything the easy way.  She wanted to experience it for herself.  Her creativity and charisma endeared her to others, and she made friends easily.  That God would protect her from harmful influences and that she would seek to follow Him and do His will became my heart’s cry for her through the tumultuous Jr. High and High School years.  And when she found herself in the middle of experience, we cried together, as I watched God love her through it all.

IMG_20130621_153331This beautiful child is mine.  She’s been to hell and back again, and God continues to show Himself faithful.  He has grown her in ways I never would have imagined for her, and is in the process of making a beautiful vessel for His purpose.  How much He teaches me about myself, and how much more I have learned about the nature of God in this wonderful opportunity of Parent and Prayer Warrior that He has given to me.

The house is quiet now.  This youngest daughter of mine against all odds with hard work and perseverance has graduated from high school ahead of her class and is moved out of our home to room with her oldest sister ten hours’ drive away from us.  It’s a strange season we find ourselves in, but we know and continue to remind ourselves that God is faithful.  He is good.  He is here.  He is in control.