High's & Low's of Change

TRUDY SCHAFFNER


Sometime last year I realized my life was about to change.  This change wasn’t one I was orchestrating, managing or really playing more than a supportive role in.  I was the mother of a senior in high school and my oldest daughter was about to leave for college.  I realized things were getting serious when I watched my eighteen year old daughter look people straight in the eye and say, “ I am moving to Chicago in the fall and I am attending North Park University.” Wait…what?  Why is she saying it like that?  That was not what I was saying, I would say, “she has chosen North Park University, or she will be attending NPU, or she has decided to go to college in Chicago.”  But how could she be moving? For eighteen years plus I had been her home.  She had grown under my rib cage listening to the sound of my heart beat for nine months, I had been the only source of her nutrition for many months after that.  I had been her first friend, her most trusted confidant, she had been my dance partner, my partner in crime the amazing in my grace.  How could she be moving when I was so clearly, staying put. 

That’s how transitions are, sometimes we do the moving, physically and metaphorically and sometimes we are planted firmly and our whole world upheaves. 

Then just when I had begun to adjust to our lives with one less child in the home we said goodbye to our foster placement.  This young man had been living with us for 16 months but we had been standing in the gap for him as loving parents long before that. But on January 5th we packed him up and sent him to live with his birth father.  In those sixteen months that we shared with him we had become so accustomed to his personality, jokes and million questions that his absence left a void in our household.  We were reminiscing on the day he left and realized he was the sixth person to whom we were not related to share our home with us.  But we had been filling the void of parent in his life for so long that losing him was another loss to my mom heart.  Transition and loss make us feel so much.  I can’t think of many changes in my life that I haven’t felt in my body.  Knots in my stomach, tears in my eyes, sweat on my palms, shaking knees…that’s change sometimes.  Long hugs, over packing food for the dorm so they have something to eat, whispered advice, road trips snacks for the long ride to Texas that’s how change feels too. 

Through these changes I have asked myself what is the lesson to be learned?  I realized over the years there is usually something to be gained in life’s transitions.  What was I learning by watching my kids grow up and take on the world?  What was being sifted away and what was I supposed to hold on to.  So, in the stillness of a home that so recently held double the amount of teenagers it does now I realized the God was telling me that my identity is found in him.  That my identity of being a lover and follower of Jesus is what makes me able to love and experience loss and open my heart and home up to love again.  And most importantly that my identity is in whose I am, not whose mother I am. 


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Trudy is follower of Jesus, a wife to Chris and mother to Charley Grace, Claire and Chloe.  She works in foster care and believes all children deserve a safe home.  She is a one on the enneagram,  so is most often right.  She is a justice seeker and believes her purpose in this world is to get up every day and beat back the darkness.  When she is not working you can find her watching her children play sports, coaching cheerleading, choreographing musicals or drinking coffee at 30/30.  

Christina Hite