By Tonya Cherry
Last year was my twins, Hannah and Jesse’s, senior year of high school. All year long, I told people that, come the beginning of September after the twins had been gone for a week or two, I was going to either need to be hospitalized or have TicTacs made of Valium. I knew that it was going to be an incredibly hard transition for me and I was sure a complete mommy meltdown caused by a broken heart was coming my way. Although I tried to be funny, I was honestly thinking a leave of absence was going to be necessary. I had repeatedly told myself that I could not lose my mind because I needed to support the kids as they transitioned. I asked God to please let me be alright so they would not be burdened with my sorrow when they were trying to adjust to college.
Well, the year flew by and September came. Other than a couple dramatic days including a meltdown in the Food Lion and a desperate request for prayer to my Facebook friends, which resulted in my neighbor showing up at my door for a prayer walk; I was coping better than expected. The twins had been very homesick all semester so both kids had come home quite often and they would text me long updates about college daily. I wrote them every day and the weeks passed. It really had not been as hard as I had anticipated.
After coming home for a long Christmas break, the kids left to go back for second semester. Although the goodbye was hard, I reminded myself that I was not new at this and I could handle the separation. As the weeks of their second semester passed, the kids became pretty busy. They weren’t able to come home as much because they had made friends and had school events. We had prayed for them to get involved and feel like they belonged and now they were. They still texted each day but the conversations were brief. By the end of January, I found myself coming home from work each day and putting on my Messiah sweatpants and Liberty sweatshirt and longing to hear from them. Each day I wondered how they were and prayed that they would feel God’s presence.
Meanwhile, I began having trouble sleeping and I noticed that I was gaining weight. I found myself crying a great deal and my patience seemed to be wearing thin. I would just sit in my room each evening and if felt like my life revolved around waiting. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was so sad and so irritable. I went around feeling like I was walking around in lead boots. The kids had been in college for six months so I should be adjusted, right?
Well, one night while I was on the phone with Hannah, I just blurted out, “Hannah ! What is wrong with me? I am a mess!” Then with great wisdom, she explained that what I had thought would happen to me in September, was happening to me now. Last semester they had needed me so much. They had come home to visit me all the time. They had shared stories with me every day. Now they didn’t. They were doing better and I was falling apart. “Mom,” Hannah said, “This is your September.”
She was right. I had mis-timed my heartache. As I listened to her words, I realized that I had also misjudged my God.
God knew that as much as I had joked about losing my mind when the kids left, there was truth in it. I have never dealt well with loss and so my fears had been very real, but God knew that about me. He knew that them leaving me and them not relying on me any longer, could not both happen at once, so He saved the hard part until I was better able to handle it.
The Bible tells us that our God knows everything about us and His timing is always wise. Our gracious Father, He knows how much we can bear. Looking back, there truly was potential for me to completely shut down that first month when I needed to be strong for Hannah and Jesse, but now I am ready to be happy for them and trust they will be alright. My loving creator knew that so He let my September wait. I agree with Hannah. Although it is now February, this is my September and now, this is not more than I can carry.
Acts I:7 It is not for you to know the times or the dates the Father has set by His own authority.