Sometimes you wake up, and you know that big thing is happening today. You'll take that first-day-of-school picture and walk your little blonde-headed girl, in her brand new Mary Janes, to kindergarten.
Or you'll open the door of your classroom and meet your new students for the first time, and will they eat you for lunch, the way that lady told you they would a few decades ago?
Or you'll pull away from your house, knowing the next time you walk into the kitchen it will only be necessary to buy one gallon of milk instead of three.
I stretched and yawned under my grandma's quilt yesterday morning, knowing that would be the day I would take on the title "empty nester," and it felt like the first day I begrudgingly drove a mini-van full of soccer kids. It had to happen.
Change comes, even though you push as hard as you can on the brakes.
So I laid under the quilt, with the sound of the box fan in the window and a humid warmth in the air. I thought about that boy leaving for college, and thankfulness welled up where I thought tears would be.
Thankful that I got to carry a child in my womb and then in my arms.
Thankful that my boy was healthy, except for those eyes that crossed when he was two and required glasses.
Thankful that he was fun, even if he did tie me into his room with a jump rope that one day when he was four years old.
Thankful that he called Jesus, Lord, when he was little and that I catch him singing praise songs at the top of his voice when he thinks I'm not listening.
Thankful that he still lets me kiss his cheek.
When the pain of change comes like the mini-van you never wanted to own, the best soothing balm is gratitude—to look purposefully at all the good God has piled up in our lives in the past, and won't He keep being good to us?
Christy Fitzwater is an author and pastor's wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the author of Blameless: Living A Life Free from Guilt And Shame and My Father's Hands: 52 Reasons to Trust God with Your Heart. Find her devotional writing at christyfitzwater.com.
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