2016 had a lot of moments where I felt like this flamingo….like my color had lots its vibrancy and I just needed to stick my head in my feathers and pretend life wasn’t as hard as it actually was.

Having my second born graduate high school, my 16 year old start driving and working, and my youngest become a teenager felt like walls were closing in on me.  No more taco nights, canned biscuits, and my less-than-famous crock pot specialties. Curfews, girlfriends, and the lack of control were a huge shock to this momma. And at times I did not do well with it. I probably could have qualified for some Ricky Lake episodes if there were cameras up in here. I don’t let go easily and change scares me. There were times I wept over the Buzz Lightyear costume and Cooper’s Mr. Truffles stuffed Easter egg because I just wanted one more day to snuggle and answer all those questions that seemed so exhausting when we were in that stage.

As soon as all that started to happen, opportunities to serve in other capacities began to appear before me. It was a great distraction to help other people when my children were becoming so independent. I welcomed the escape from the loneliness of living with children who didn’t need me very often.

In the process of reaching out and loving women, I began to see there was a  distinction between being a “friend” and being a “resource.” I started to find myself being a resource to almost everyone I was with and had very little time to be a friend.  While it was happening, I felt part of me dying….my soul desperately missed connection but it had been so long that I wondered if I had come into a new normal.

The time with “my people” (friends) all but vanished and I found myself very alone. I was still surrounded by people but I had missed the time where I had mutual interactions- give and take friendships that feed my soul.  A few weeks ago it really hit me that I had found myself giving and giving and I was becoming depleted. As soon as I recognized it, it was time for change. I walked away from a lot of the ways I was volunteering. God arrested my heart and the word I kept hearing was “discipleship.” Helping women one on one walk in faith and having those people who pour into my life too. That is what I feel like this new season holds. Being intentional. Present. And steadfast.

After one night of me crying myself to sleep, Kenny must have talked to the kids and the next day my 16 year old came in and said, “I know we don’t act like it, Mom, but we need you around here.”  My spirit was revived to hear these words.

Today I got an annual pass to Busch Gardens to have an activity I can do with my 13 year old. I hate theme parks and especially ones where the safari costs extra?!?!? But nonetheless, it gives me a way to be with my youngest who still thinks I am pretty fun.  As we sat eating a snack, I asked him what kind of girl he thought he would marry. He thought on it….hesitated and said, “Not to be weird or anything but I would like to marry someone who is kinda like you.” My heart soared. Maybe I got some things right as a mom.

I know there are so many ways I don’t get things right. I know I miss God. I just want to be able to see it, be humble and willing to change ME.  Dying to my own pride and need to be needed is a battle. My heart yearns for connection but sometimes it is my last priority. Not this year. I miss my people. But I am back.