“Mom,” Jake beseeched, “let’s not talk about Micah leaving for Australia anymore.”
Jake and Caleb had just seen me choke up as I attempted to articulate my feelings about Micah’s upcoming departure to Australia.
“Mom, I think you need a hug,” Caleb offered. Then, my towering, third born son reached down to embrace his blubbery mom. “We’ll take care of you.”
“Thanks,” I gushed.
John, Jake, Caleb and I had just finished viewing the second message of Pastor Andy Stanley’s series entitled “Breathing Room.” At the end of the message, Andy Stanley exhorted us to consider where we need to add something or someone, subtract something or someone, or do something less or something more this week to increase the breathing room or margin in our lives. As the message concluded, John asked his younger two sons to consider what kinds of words and behaviors they would add in their interactions with Micah in the next five months. Because in just a little over five months, Micah will be heading down under to Australia for his discipleship experience with Pais Australia. And though we might like our family experience and family dynamic to remain the same, it’s about to be transformed. We are all about to become something entirely new with Micah’s launching.
You see, for Jake and Caleb, they are in-the-now people. They may think a few months ahead for a particular event or outing, but to grasp the reality that their elder brother is heading off to Australia for a year and then off to college the year after that? No, this inevitability is not in their autism-influenced thinking.
So, John asked his two younger sons to dive into this truth….and of course, that meant me, too.
The point of Andy Stanley’s message was that we need to recognize that our days are numbered by our God. Thus, we need to prioritize accordingly and get the most out of the moments we have with one another.
He wrote this exhortation:
Teach us to number our days aright
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
New International Version, Psalm 90:12
I admit that this wasn’t the easiest topic for Jake and Caleb – or for me.
We aren’t the first family to launch our first-born son into the world. Families have been doing this for ages and ages and ages. However, that doesn’t make this time any less significant for us. Because, the truth of the matter is that it is Micah’s time to break ground in his new life.
And this is why John brought the issue up with Caleb and Jake. We aren’t going to see this moment in time again. We won’t get a family do-over. How we interact with Micah in these next five months matters.
We know that Caleb and Jake love their older brother. However, John and I believe that the next five months will be a significant opportunity to show their love and their respect to Micah more and more.
This truth is also emphasized in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church. Paul recognized that these believers loved each other. However, he exhorted them to dig down even deeper in their love and care for one another. He wrote:
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write you, for your yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you brothers and sisters to do this more and more.
New International Version, 1 Thessalonians 4: 9-10
The Greek transliterated word for urge is parakaleo. Parakaleo means to call to one’s side, to summon, to beseech and to encourage. For the Thessalonians, they were experiencing severe persecution because of their newfound faith. The Thessalonians needed each other for support, for strength, and for perseverance to keep going forward. They felt each other’s love. Yet, to overcome this challenging stage of life, they needed to know that their brothers and sisters in Christ were by their side, hand-in-hand, and shoulder-to-shoulder come what may.
And Micah needs the same kind of support from his brothers and parents as he goes forward to Australia. He needs to know that we’re by his side, encouraging him onward, and loving him more and more in the process. Micah needs to know we have confidence in him and that we’re his biggest cheerleaders. It’s not going to be easy to launch Micah, of course. I cried today just thinking about Micah boarding his Australia bound airplane in a short time.
My heart hurt, my voice cracked, and my eyes welled with tears.
Jake didn’t want to talk about it.
Caleb asked if I needed a hug, but in truth, he needed one just as much.
We need to be real and authentic with our feelings about this significant time in our lives.
John is guiding and urging us all to plumb the subject. He’s asking us to love Micah more and more. And in so doing, we’ll make some meaningful and special family memories before Micah’s departure.
Soooooo, watch this space.
This is what our family will be doing as we love our kids more and more before Micah launches forth in the next five months and before our lives are affected by his significant absence – and that will be a whole other story!
In the meantime, like I shared, we’ll love our kids more and more.
And we’ll talk about this important subject and we will give plenty of hugs.
Friends, many of you have launched your kids, what types of things did you do before your kids set out into the world on their own? I’d love to know!