Please welcome my beautiful friend, and guest Blog Sparrow, Patricia Hunter.
There’s a time when you think that nothing will end.
~ Ann Voskamp
A few years ago, my son Casey told me that he was planning to write a book one day entitled, “The Things My Mother Never Told Me.” He was teasing me, of course, but isn’t that one of every mother’s fears – that when we release our children out into the world that we’ve failed to adequately prepare them to be whole, healthy, and successful adults?
Over the last twenty-four years, whether any of us were ready or not, our parenting years came to an end, and the proverbial apron strings that had tethered our children to us were intentionally released as each of them neared and reached adulthood. One by one, the boys left home for college, careers, marriage and the creation of families of their own. When our daughter graduates from college this spring, she, too, will move out and into the world beyond our rural five acres on Pollywog Creek.
With bittersweet joy, I’ve opened my hands to release the children God entrusted us to love and nurture and “train up in the way they should go.” And I’ve realized that this releasing – this letting go of children – has been only the beginning of what is an endless season of embracing and then letting-go of people, relationships, opportunities and possessions.
And still He seeks the fellowship of His people and will send them both joy and sorrow to detach their hands from the things of this world and to attach those hands to Himself. ~ J.I. Packer
An older woman told me years ago that if we live long enough, our time on earth could be divided into thirds. The first third of life, she said, is for getting an education so that we would be prepared for jobs and careers that would give us the resources to acquire things. The second third of life, she told me, is for stepping into our work and careers and acquiring the things our work provided for – everything from relationships and families to houses and vacations. It was her observation then that the last third of life – the one she was presently living in – was one of letting go or getting rid of what (and who) we’d previously acquired.
Her assessment was at best an interesting and simplified view of life, but I have to admit that at sixty-four, how I’m living today resembles that last third, and it is both liberating and daunting at the same time. What I’m letting go of is freeing me of time and energy to do other things, but much of it is also tied to my feelings of self-worth. To let go of anything, I have to believe that it’s not what I have or do – as a mother, writer, photographer, ministry leader or anything else – that gives my life value and meaning, but who and what I am in Christ.
Two weeks ago, I resigned from my position as a ghost and feature writer for two magazines I’ve been contributing to regularly for the last 4 years. The project managers and editors I’ve been privileged to work with over these four years have been nothing less than delightful, but the increasing challenges of chronic illness and the work of growing older made me realize that if I’m going to focus on the people and projects that are most important to me and to accomplish what I feel God has called me to, then I need to re-prioritize how I use my time, energy, and other resources. It’s a process of letting go of things – even good things – that are time-wasting detours and road blocks to what I believe are most important.
Thank you, LORD, that you loved me first and that my life in every season is hidden in you. In you I have all I need. Thank you that your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Thank you for the wisdom and guidance you give that enables me to accomplish any of your plans and purposes for my days. Please give me the strength and the courage and the grace to let go of whatever keeps me from focusing those plans and purposes that I might cling to you alone.
Patricia Hunter is a freelance writer and “wannabe psalmist with a camera.” A contributing writer and ghostwriter for several subscription magazines, she recently collaborated with Robbi Cary to produce the award winning book, No Matter What, It’s a God Day When – Finding Blessings in Difficult Days – offering stunning photographs of God’s creation alongside a heartwarming message of truth. Patricia and her husband Louis have been married for 38 years and have 4 grown children and 8 grandchildren. You can follow Patricia at her blog Pollywog Creek, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.