It’s been four days, one hour and twenty-two minutes since we hugged Micah good-bye at the Oliver Tambo International Airport outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.
But, hey? Who’s counting?
Well, just his mother. 😊
I patted myself on the back as I settled into bed for the night. I realized I had made it through the entire day without choking up, tearing up, or blubbering up with emotion with thoughts of Micah Man and how much I missed him. Micah has embarked on a grand adventure with Pais Australia for the year and his Dad and I couldn’t be more delighted. However, the depth of pain I feel in Micah’s absence is an altogether new experience for me.
The Lord said childbirth would be painful. In Genesis, “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children….”
New International Version, Genesis 3:16
Well, I just gotta say that for me, this particular birth of launching Micah into adulthood has been far more grievous. I miss my daily interactions with my son.
I miss our morning banter.
I miss his morning sports update and analysis talks with his dad – whether it’s rugby, cricket, football, basketball, baseball, NASCAR, or even soccer.
I miss his Marvel Cinematic Universe reviews, raves, rants, and insights.
I miss his appetite. Our family’s food consumption has taken a major dive in just four days, one hour, twenty-two minutes and counting.
I miss him telling me how he is feeling about this, that, or the other thing. Micah and I talked a lot together. He was my conversation buddy during the day-time hours.
I miss singing “I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my Micah Man you’ll be” and then “When I am afraid, I will trust in God, when I am afraid, I will trust in God, when I am afraid, I will trust in God, and now it’s time to go to sleep” over Micah and then praying for him at bedtime. Yep – John and I did this every day of his life up until his departure to Australia – 18 1/2 years of singing and praying, praying and singing.
Uh oh….. now come the tears….
Yes, I miss this kid that I birthed into adult life.
I can do this. Mothers have been releasing their adult children into the world for generations and generations and generations.
I can, too.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines birth “as the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent.” I resonate with this definition. Even though Micah is 18 ½ years old and is well, well, well past his infancy, Micah has emerged from my body and my influence as a bright, spanking, brand-new individual as he makes his own memories, experiences his own joys and sorrows, endures his own frustrations, and basks in the beauty and wonder of a new land and a new people after just four days, one hour, twenty-two minutes and counting. So, for me, this is the childbirth experience that has stretched my heart, my body, and my spirit to a level I may have known existed before – but realize that I am only now understanding, empathizing and living into this heart-sore experience myself.
But, I can do this.
Why do I know that?
Because as I seek my God and pray for His peace, His guidance, and His assurance for this new season in my life, His peace, His guidance, His assurance, and His gentle, affirming love come to me.
Just look what His word offered me today:
I thank my God every time I remember you…. being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
New International Version, Philippians 1:3, 6
Stated another way:
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God…. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
The Message Philippians 1: 3, 6
I take these words in two ways. First, of course, I am thinking of and expressing my gratitude for my first-born son, Micah. I am beyond confident that the Lord is at work in his life. Micah’s new experiences in Australia with his Lord will both expand and deepen his faith and mature and grow his identity in Christ. I have absolutely no doubt about this. However, the second way I embrace these exhortative words from Philippians is that the Lord is also at work in me. My life has not ended with Micah’s departure. No. A resounding NO! As I shared, my heart is being stretched to a new level and in so doing, my love and compassion for others is expanding as well. I am being birthed into a new season of life with my Savior and as a result I will be growing and maturing in new ways too.
This is no easy birth, though.
A huge section of my heart was pulled out of my chest as it flew with Micah to Australia. However, this gaping hole is being tenderly and affectionately filled with my Savior’s love – four days, one hour and twenty-two minutes and counting.
And I am so grateful.
Yes, I’m grateful.
I thank my God every time I remember you, Micah, I am breaking out into loud exclamations of joy over you…. being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you, my son, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Go, get, and receive all that God has for you, Micah Man. We’re only four days, one hour and twenty-two minutes into this new abundant, amazing, and abiding life in Christ! And there’s even more joy and growth ahead of us….
I’m counting on it!