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Sunday, June 3, 2012


It's Sunday afternoon and I'm sitting here in a completely empty house.
Void of commotion. Void of chaos. Void of people.
It's just me here ....even Nick is gone which is unusual.  One of the blessings of the ministry that we have been called to affords us to be together 24/7.. and we both love it.

But today..this afternoon... it's just me.

It's so ironic, because I remember the days when I longed for solitude.  When I would do anything for a little "me" time.

When the girls were little, I just wanted to use the bathroom by myself.  I longed for those days of uninterrupted time to take a bath without an audience or to be able to make a phone call without hearing the word "Mommmma" a thousand times.

Then it shifted to the teenage years and the girls not needing me physically as much but there was still constant commotion in the house.   Friends over, in and out.. one daughter would get home and another would be pulling out. Our house was grand central station...the hub where all the action took place... and I loved every second of the chaos. was good chaos.

Then the first graduated and then eventually married.
Then the second graduated and will be married in three weeks.
Then the third graduated and is starting college in the fall.

Sigh.  Hence the quiet house today.  Now is not the normal.  The quiet.
It seems these last few months leading up to the wedding...our house has kicked it up a notch in the action department.  The girls are home more than's as if they are hanging on to the last little piece of our "normal" as we all know it and they are soaking up every opportunity for us all to be together.  Just being a family doing normal family stuff.  Soon it will become family "get togethers" and family suppers  and family holiday gatherings.  But the everyday, get up in your pjs with bed head, fighting over who gets the last raspberry yogurt, borrowing each other's clothes from their closets, chilling on the couch doing nothing kinda everyday happenings are about to change.   The girls have been hanging out together and with me and their daddy every free moment and I have totally loved it.  I thrive the best in this climate..

Which is why today has left me a little unsettled.  Instead of enjoying a much needed afternoon of rest and solitude...I'm sitting here thinking... "Wow. This is what my new normal is gonna be like."  It makes me a little sad.

 Me and the girls when they were little at our annual beach vacation. 

This pic was taken just a few months before Elizabeth got married.  I remember when I took this picture, that it hit me as they walked down the little path as sisters...our family as we knew it was about to change.

This January, I shared what my "word" for this year was gonna be..."Embrace".
I knew what the year was gonna bring...lots of change. And my prayer was that I wouldn't just endure the change and just get by and survive.  But I wanted to embrace the soak up everything the Lord wanted to teach me in the midst of it.  Embrace it so that I can share what I gained  to help others who would face similar situations.    I love the definition of embrace....

          to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
      to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly.

That is so my heart.  That is what I'm fighting for each day.  When my thoughts begin to wander to all the things that are about to change, I have to consciously make myself focus on what I'm about to gain when I choose to embrace instead of what I'm about to loose in the midst of the change.

"..casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." 
2 Corinthians 10:5

You see, not only is my middle daughter getting married in three weeks...
And not only did my baby just graduate and "Holden's Academy" closed it's doors to its last student...
But to turn the heat up on the emotions that are brewing in my heart, my oldest daughter and son-in-law and my three grand children will be moving next week....11 hours away.  

It's a lot to take in for a mommas heart even if you spread it out in a years time.
But when all this takes place within weeks of each other... can be overwhelming if I let it.

So.. I'm choosing to embrace.  I'm choosing to focus on what I'm gaining..
  • A daughter whose husband is the spiritual leader and strives to live daily in the center of God's will...even if that means moving hundreds of miles away to follow in obedience the call the Lord has on their lives.
  • I'll have a new place to travel to.  I love road trips.
  • I'll have awesome FaceTime dates with my grand kids and I'm thankful God has provided the tools I need to do it.
  • I'm about to gain another incredible son when Lydia gets married.
  • I'm about to have the possibility of MORE grand kids and watch them experience cousins!
  • I'll finally get my craft room I've been dreaming about.
  • I'll get to experience the empty nest with the best looking Paw Paw ev-ah and can I just say....THAT is something I'm looking forward to. 
Even so, this isn't an easy thing for me.. to choose to embrace instead of merely enduring. It's not natural for me in the flesh.  This is a supernatural thing the Lord is doing in my heart through His grace.  I am amazed daily just how sufficient His grace is.

Now, don't get me wrong... I've had a few moments when the emotions erupted. I'm not a crier. And I hate to cry in public.  Hate it.  On one particular day for no good reason, the tears were at the surface all. day. long.  They finally just oozed out over lunch with Nick at Chili's. Nothing was said that triggered it... It was just one of those days and I just couldn't hold them in and they just came out right over my salad.  This is not a bad thing.... I just wished it had happened in my car. Or at home.  Oh well.  At least they came.  They were needed.

So I say all this not to get sympathy. This is part of life...this season I'm in.  Millions of moms have lived through it before me and millions of moms will live through it after me.
I just ask that if you think about me in the days ahead... during the move, the wedding.....when me and my girls are all trying to get used to our new "normals"... would you pray for us? 
Pray for us to have contented hearts. 
Pray for us to look to the Lord and keep our eyes on Him and the prize that is before us.  
Pray we will embrace it all.  
Every last thing He has for us in the midst of the change.

I may have to give up our "normal" but  what I have gained in the process is worth it all...
The change is bringing growth in more ways than one.
I definitely have a lot to embrace now!!

Stephanie :)

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  1. praying with you, stephanie sweetie. love you!
    isaiah 26:3

  2. man oh man, this post got to me!! i feel the tears welling up now as i type. i am in the season now where there's constant chaos, constant shouts of "mommy!!" and fighting to get the last raspberry yogurt. and i confess, more often than not, i think to myself, "I can't wait till things settle down and these kiddos are not so young." But now, after reading this post, God has spoken to my heart to really make an effort to appreciate things just as they are. To EMBRACE the season I'm in, crazy as it may be, and find Him in the chaos.
    thank you so much, stephanie, for once again being used by the Lord to encourage and challenge me in my faith!
    hugs, lora

  3. This was a great post...I have huge issues with Kindergarten...I can't imagine when they are grow and gone.

    I don't like a quite house :)

    praying for you friend!

  4. matter how good they are...can be difficult! You've taken on a great attitude towards them. I'll be thinking about you. As a daughter who has married and moved 12 hours away from home, I know the little things are sometimes the things it's the hardest to "not miss" the mornings in PJs and the times just sitting around home chit-chatting. My parents and I have embraced (to use your special word for the year) technology, too! People like to pull out the negatives about it and social media, but when you can't see family face-to-face, it's a WONDERFUL thing. We just have to work towards facetime and skype now. hehe! God bless~

  5. Wow, those days seem so far for me now, but I know these days will fly by. The last eleven years sure have! It is obvious that you have a good relationship with your girls. I pray I can see the same in my family ten years from now!

  6. oh, my dear friend!
    i will be praying for you, and i KNOW that God will sustain and fill you with His love and joy and contentment during this transition!
    you are such a true beauty, and i am thankful for you.
    thank you, too, for encouraging me in this season of my life.
    the one where the girls are constantly doing projects and always 10 steps ahead of me...the one where i long for alone time{sometimes}.
    i might just have to steal your word, 'embrace'. ;)
    blessings to you sweetie.

  7. Let me just say, I am a crier, and you had me crying. I know on my end of things, getting married, leaving home, and moving away was definitely an emotional time for me and although it has all been so sweet and what the Lord has wanted, it's still been a little sad at times. With that said, I can NOT imagine what the momma's go through during this transition. I am stopping right this second to lift you up. I know from seeing my mom this past year that it is not an easy time but how awesome that you are fighting for your joy and fighting to embrace this time! You are awesome!

  8. I am a crier and it was all I could do to hold it in while reading this beautiful post. I have three girls too and this will be my life in the blink of an eye. I am so grateful to have read your encouraging words and how you are choosing to embrace your new season of life! Thank you :)

  9. This post is such a wonderful encouragement. Even to me who only has on little one, who isn't even 8 months yet. But I have found myself, many times, over the last 8 months wishing for the next thing. Wishing for Evelyn to just grow up a little more, because then it will be "easier". Now that I'm sitting here, just a mere week from her being 8 months old, I'm starting to see all of the things I didn't embrace and now I miss those things. I'm wishing I had taken the time to enjoy those little things, even if they annoyed me.

    I've been trying to make an effort in the last week or so to really just enjoy Evelyn and my life as it is right now. Not what it will be in the next month or so, but right at this very moment. It's not easy, but it's nice to hear that other mommas go through this too. Even if it is at different seasons.

    I'll be praying for you and your family! And what a beautiful family it is!

  10. Aw, Stephanie, I will definitely be thinking of you & praying for you. We're just starting into that journey, since our oldest just finished homeschool this year and will be starting college this fall. It's a weird place seeing them growing up and it will be a while before we've got the empty nest thing going on at our house. But I will definitely be praying for you!

  11. Stephanie, Your post has the tears flowing. I am now on the other side... with all my children grown and married, and me being the one who moved hundreds of miles away. I, like you, longed for have five minutes of peace and escape the noise and chaos, even if only for a few minutes. But when my nest was empty, all I could do was cry and long for the chaos again. On the other side, I needed to escape the solitude. The silence was deafening... completely overwhelming. But I survived it... and though my life is completely different now, the season I am currently in is filled with new adventures. I look forward to every single moment with my children and grandchildren, and I have learned how to make every little bitty teeny tiny moment count... to squeeze every drop of joy that I can from the happy moments that fill my life now. Some days I just have to let the tears flow, because I miss it all so much... but then I look around at all the goodness in my life and I am so grateful. I am grateful that I was chosen to be the mother of my amazing children, and the Mimi to some pretty incredible grandbabies. I am blessed so much more than I could ever deserve. So... bring on the new seasons, with all their new adventures... I am ready to embrace all that they hold.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I will definitely be praying for all of you... :)

  12. Stephanie I will be praying for you. I want you to know your post today encouraged me - I needed to hear those words from God that He gave you and to be reminded of His promises! I needed to hear your resolve to embrace change. That gives me courage to do the same -Thank you!!! You are a blessing to me!!!

  13. I will pray peace over your beautiful heart whenever I think of you, including now! In just the short time I've been reading your blog you have been SUCH an inspiration. I know I'll be in your shoes someday, and I know it'll be really really hard. Reading all you have to say, especially about your daughter moving 11 hours away, made me think of my mom. I left my parents in NY and moved to CA, and it was definitely rough for them, especially since I'm their youngest. . . but they supported me and still support me from afar...and there's not a day that goes by that I don't pick up the phone and call home. I talk to my mom every day, sometimes multiple times daily... and our bond has grown stronger! It's awesome! I pray that the distance will only cause the bond between you, your daughter, your grandkids and your son-in-law, to grow stronger. I love your posts!

  14. Just found your blog through the Misc. Mon link up! You have a new follower! I am sold on your word for the year! I too see the reason why you chose it! I look forward to reading your blog! It seems so calming and reflective! Thanks for sharing!


  15. You certainly are having your share of changes all at one time, it would overwhelm anyone. I so admire you for taking an attitude of "embracing" all these changes and your determination to focus on the good that will come from this new phase of life. I will most certainly pray for your beautiful family and that you all will continue to see the beauty in the changes ahead.

    Much love and hugs Honey!

  16. first of all you and your daughters are beautiful! it is crazy how different seasons of our lives are. right now my husband and I desperately want a baby, but in this waiting stage I'm trying to savor the time we have alone because I know that will change forever once we do have kids. I love the word embrace and taking in exactly where God has us. How comforting that he knows everything we need. thanks for sharing this - it is encouraging to me!

  17. i'm so so glad you wrote this out stephanie, that helps a lot ! i can't relate to having more than one child, but I am in a similar boat right now with my daughter starting to leave the nest a bit...that separation has already started and she is still living here for another year! it's been a very rough year for me where that is concerned, and i need more people i can talk to about it. and that's a whole other story...i just wanted to say that embracing this is such a healthy way to look at it. there are gains and their are losses in life, and it all comes and goes in WAVES, and life is ever changing as you well know...and letting go is THEE hardest thing for us fallen humans to do! I think that is why Jesus made it so perfectly clear for us to LAY OUR BURDENS down, and to TAKE HIS YOKE UPON HIM etc...because we cling so tightly to EVERYthing in this world, even our kids. What a time you are going through, fun exciting, yet sadness and pain...but all new and all for good.
    take heart good friend and thanks for sharing your heart with us!!!! Oh and I was just on a hermitage a few weeks ago, and i am learning the importance of solitude, but you are right, it is hard to transition into will be more natural with time!

  18. Don't know how I missed this (well, I do...VBS week), but I just want to say I'm feeling you here. We moved our middle son out of the house for the summer. Yet a second granddaughter is due in a few weeks and the other granddaughter will be two around the same time. My parents will celebrate 50 years of marriage and I'm closer to that age than I'd like to admit. I love your heart. I always said the Lord gave us Ethan at 13 and 10 years younger than our other two so we wouldn't have an empty nest so soon. I still believe that. There is a season for everything. I love that you're embracing the season right where you are. Love.

  19. I love this post. I have a five-year-old and I can already see that time passes way too quickly.
    I'm visiting from My blog is at if you feel like visiting. I haven't updated in several days though. Time, there's just never enough.

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