Like everyone else, my life has been a series of seasons. I’m not talking about spring, summer, winter, and fall, either. I’m talking about childhood, young adult, single, married, and then divorced. Even those are pretty vague descriptions of the seasons I’ve lived through, but a more accurate list would be pretty lengthy, and I don’t want to bore you to death.
I was asked this morning in a group of women of all different ages and stages of life, how I would answer Jesus if He asked me what I wanted. I laughed. In the past several seasons of my life, I would definitely have answered that question differently than I might right now – in this season, that is. Ask me again in six months because the truth is, it might change again. And that’s okay.
I’m sitting here tonight on the couch, curled up with my favorite blanket. My phone went on silent at 9 p.m., so I’m promised peace and quiet until tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. I live alone in what used to be an over 55 community, so I’m the youngest around! My point is, it’s quiet here.
But my home was not always quiet! My sons were two years apart, and they played baseball for at least a couple of years, and each of them played football throughout middle and high school. We were always coming and going. Life was crazy. The front door was always open, and since we had a swimming pool, most of the neighborhood kids loved hanging at our place. We had a terrific neighborhood where all the kids were the same age and went to school together, all of the parents were great friends, and we always knew where everyone was, and frequently, they were in my house.
Did I EVER think that one day they’d both leave within the same week for good, never to return home? Nope.
I know how silly that sounds. I do. I mean, don’t we know our kids are someday going to grow up and become adults and move out? I suppose. But no one prepared me for that. I was way too busy trying to make ends meet (single Mama for 20 years here, 365 days a year, 7 days a week – none of this every other weekend stuff). Not that I would have been okay with that – I definitely would not have been okay with sharing. But my point is, I was just plain tuckered out on most days. And friends, that was a long season. A wonderful season! And I wouldn’t change any of it – but I worked 7 days a week for almost two decades and I was, as I said, pooped. the. heck. out.
So pooped out, in fact, that one day I decided to change my name.
Ever have those days when you hear your name allllllll day? “Mom!” “Mom?” “Mommmmm!!” “Mama!!”
It was one of THOSE days. I was on the phone trying to straighten out a bill (or something like that), and in the middle of my conversation with the person on the other end, Ian kept calling me. “Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mummaaaaa!” When I got off the phone I sighed and said out loud in my frustration, “That’s it. I’m changing my name to Penelope.” Well, I didn’t think he actually heard me!
A few hours later, I finally got a moment of silence to myself. On the toilet. Mom life – I know. You know. You’ve been there, too.
All of a sudden, I heard the tiniest little knock on the door, as if someone was afraid to make a noise. And then I heard something that has kept my mother, sister, and I laughing for the two decades following.
“Um, excuse me. Penelope? It’s me, Ian.”
Okay, I nearly fell off the toilet laughing.
Listen. First of all, Mama’s, your kiddos? They are gonna grow up. They’re gonna leave you, and if you’re lucky enough you’ll get one who stays nearby and gives you the most amazing grandkids ever, and you’ll have one who moves to a really neat place to visit (I scored Denver, ya’ll!). But I promise, they’ll leave you.
Secondly, enjoy every nano-second of every season of life God gifts you with. They all end, and you’re gonna miss most seasons. The hard ones that are not so enjoyable? Make sure you make them count. There’s something to be learned in every single one of them, even the ones that hurt like the dickens.
I wonder what a dickens is.
Anyways, I’m pretty sure I would have asked God for more hours in a day back then, because my needs were pretty big when I was single momming it. But nowadays? Now I’m just asking for wisdom on how to age gracefully and enjoy the seasons that may not have necessarily turned out like I’d always anticipated. They’re good, don’t get me wrong. Just different. And maybe I’d ask for some wisdom to know how to prepare for those seasons that are coming, the ones that are just plain un-anticipatable.
I’m not sure I could nail down for sure which season I enjoy in Michigan the most because there’s not one I like more than the others. (I do, however, wish winters were just a wee bit shorter). I cherish those days when my sons said my name repeatedly, and often wish I’d hear it said more often. But oh, how I love this current more quiet season of life, even not knowing what season is coming next.
Guess what, I just peeked at my phone that’s on silence, and sure enough I missed a call from Ian in Denver. Perhaps I’ll call him back and when he answers, say, “Hi, it’s just me – Penelope,” and we’ll enjoy a laugh together across the miles.
Those certainly were the days.
Enjoy every season, Mama’s! God will use every single one of them to stretch you, and shape you, challenge you, grow you, and even discipline you so that you look more and more like Jesus. And cherish every time your littles call your name because I promise, you’re going to miss that some day.
This is Penelope signing out now! G’night ya’ll.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”