a turn at the wheel


April of 2009

I could blame it on the quality of the light or the setting sun,

But it was more probably that I’d just asked my oldest if she’d like to take a turn at the wheel—

And that made me look at my own hands on it

and notice how worn and age-spotted they’d become.

Strange that I mind my own aging far less than I mind theirs.

The little ones are not so little anymore. The youngest is in double digits—something that bothers me more than I let on,

The middle ones are doing nearly-teenager kinds of things with their friends,

And the oldest, though she remained in the passenger seat, could have sat where I was.

I don’t know which of these caused my heart to gain weight and sink low.

When they were small, banshee loud and wild,

I thought moments like this would never, never come.

“They’re going to live with us forever, you know.”

My husband often said that, generally after a minor catastrophe or an interminable putting-to-bed,

And we would both laugh.

But now…

Stop, I think, stop.

For it is not the “not keeping up with them” that I fear

As much as it is the being left behind, losing my belonging with them.

Silly, I tell myself. You’ll simply belong in a different way.

And yet the exhausting “being needed” of their younger years

Is giving way to an independence on their part that makes me anticipate loneliness.

Strange that the fulfillment of what I have worked so hard for

Should cause my heart such pain.

“You’re going to leave soon,” I say into the quiet car,

and my oldest, somehow reading my mind, responds,

“Not for two more years, Mom.

That’s still a long way off.”

But she doesn’t realize.

Two years is a blink.

I’ll turn around and find her gone,

With the twins graduating high school,

And the youngest out gallivanting with friends.

I shiver,

She sees and turns up the heat,

And I want to cry.

I’m grateful for Immutability

Immutability: a big word meaning changeless, not capable of or susceptible to change

I’ve been very grateful for that attribute of God lately. As if it’s not enough that I live in a culture in which change is constant (in fact, change is one of its few constants), in a home with so many personalities (six kids, three of them teenage girls), and in a schedule that is both crazy and fluctuating…

I also am crazy and fluctuating.

I can be happy and joyous one hour and overwhelmed by all the pain and injustice in the world the next. One moment I can be confident in the sovereignty of God; in the next I am doubting and fearful. I remember at times that my security and identity rest in God, but I forget that truth daily (okay, more like every hour–or more) and find myself swinging between insecurity and pride as I compare myself with others.

With all that, God’s immutability is a wonder, a blessing, a miracle.

So when I reached the end of Hebrews today and read these words, I found in them a treasure. I hope they are the same for you.

Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).*

And because that is true–that Jesus Christ is never swayed because HE IS the great I AM (never the “I was” or the “I will be,” always the “I AM”)–then the benediction that follows can also be constantly true.

20 Now may the God of peace [Who is the Author and the Giver of peace], Who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood [that sealed, ratified] the everlasting agreement (covenant, testament),

21 Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).**


*This link is to the entire chapter of Hebrews 13 in the Amplified version.

**This link is to Hebrews 13:20-21 in a parallel view of the AMP and the New Living Translation.