I used to be a stay-at-home mom. Now that our youngest child is off to college, I’m not sure what to call myself. So much of my identity was wrapped up in homework help, activity shuttling, and keeping kids fed. I knew that season would end, but this transition somehow still caught me by surprise.
And it’s not only that I don’t know what to call myself now that my kids are no longer home. I’m also unsure of what to do with myself. Is it time to start a new career? Time to go back to school? Or is this time I’m taking to figure things out a gift from an all-seeing Father who knew this season was coming? Since that’s likely the case, what makes me wrestle with that instead of resting in it? How do I release what was and receive what’s next?
It’s frustrating to have all these questions and few answers. Thankfully, my frustrations and questions during seasons of struggle never take the Lord by surprise. Actually, I’m beginning to see how He uses them to strengthen our connection. The more I question, the more I draw near, and as I draw near, He responds in kind.
I was recently drawing near with my questions when I felt led to explore this in scripture. More than verses to encourage me, I was hunting for examples of how the Lord’s people had walked this out well. I found Elijah pouring out his emotions between the triumph of Mt. Carmel and the whisper of the cave (1 Kings 19). I read of Paul’s encounter with Jesus as he left his life as Saul behind (Acts 22). I spent time in the Gospels, observing the disciples between the crucifixion and Pentecost. The line running through each of these very different stories was clear—the Lord was with them and gave them specific directions for their next steps.
This encouraged me. In my weariness, I can express my real and raw emotions like Elijah, and the Lord can still give guidance. Like Paul, I can remind the Lord of what I’ve done in the previous season, and He can still give me an assignment for the next. And like the disciples who were described as bewildered, confused, and afraid, I can rely on the Lord to be patient enough to keep showing up and leading me on despite my fears.
Resisting the urge to turn this into some sort of formula, I began processing it all in prayer.
Real emotions? That was easy.
Talking to the Lord about my yesterdays? Very easy.
Relying on his patience in my weakness? Also, easy.
Continuing to wrestle in the unknown? Easier than all of the above.
I found myself wondering if there was more I needed to understand. I had that proverbial light-bulb moment as I walked a little longer with the post-resurrection disciples. Jesus’ last words to them in Luke 24:49 were, “…stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (NLT). It was as if the words “stay here until the Holy Spirit comes” jumped off the page. Could I stay here—in the in-between—and wait for the Holy Spirit to come with power? It was the question that seemed to address all of the questions that had brought me to this place.
So, I’m here, and I’m staying here until the Holy Spirit comes. I don’t expect his appearance to be anything quite as spectacular as when the disciples first encountered Him, but I do expect Him to come with power and guidance to help me move into the next season. I’m here, fully accepting that nothing I’m about to do will take anything away from the season that has passed and that everything I experienced in that season has prepared me for what is to come. I’m here, waiting for the Lord to show me my new there, knowing He’s already waiting for me wherever that is.