June 7, 2008

It is Well with My Soul

Today Heaven graduated. As most of you know we have home schooled for the last seven years. We had a small ceremony at our church for her. It has been an overly emotional time for me. With the fast that I was on, the pruning taking place, crucifying the flesh, and the purging from deep within I've been left raw on the surface. The thoughts of my baby girl growing up, heading to South Africa for a whole month and then moving states away for college in the fall have been quite overwhelming for me.

I know I'm not the first mother to experience this but it is MY first time to experience this and I have to say that I do NOT think that it will be any easier when the time comes for Sky and Meadow to step out into the life the Lord has planned for them. With all of the emotion that comes, the fear, the pride, the sadness, the joy, the desire to hang on but with the knowing that I must let go. The change. Dealing with all of these emotions while continuing to live and carry out the everyday things has been hard. Its a strange place to feel like you are being spiritually taught while the flesh is being worn down.

There has been a raging battle within me. The quiet stern voice inside of me comforting me and urging me to hold my head up and carry on. The pain inside of me wanting to scream and wishing I could stop time. Knowing what I need to do, what I must do and fighting the urge to just throw a big huge foot stomping, door punching, full throttle screaming temper tantrum!

This morning before the ceremony was hectic and stressful. I handled things well, the hinderances, the hold ups, the running late even though I had carefully planned things out. BUT when I arrived at the church and I seen the parking lot so empty my heart sank. The thoughts began. The faces that were missing began to flash before my eyes. The family, the friends that were close as family and then those acquaintances. The photographer didn't show either. I felt so wounded and unimportant. I felt so forgotten and so unloved. What was it honestly that was so important that kept them from coming? The pain overwhelmed me for an instant. My husband knowing and telling me that it was ok, that those that God had called to be there were there and to be thankful and move on, after all we had so much that had gone right why should I focus on what had gone wrong? My comment to him was, "Oh yes that's right I have to settle for what life has given me, I'm tired of that! I wanted things to be my way!" Inside of myself my spirit quickened. I knew immediately I was beginning to lose the battle. I was giving in to my flesh. "God help me," I silently prayed. I pushed on and finished setting things up. I greeted those who came and I was very thankful for them. I went up and took my seat next to my husband.

The ceremony began with praises to the Lord. The first song that started was Nothing without You by Bebo Norman. We didn't plan this song God planned it. As the lyrics began it felt like they were pouring out my soul as though they were my words being cried out personally to my God. He began to speak to me...."You have nothing....without ME." The revelation began to hit me not that I didn't already know this but I began to FEEL this. Nothing without God. Who was more important to me? Those missing faces or my God? As the song played I asked Him why it had to hurt so bad, all of it, the abandoned friends and losing my daughter...because that is what it feels like, like I'm losing her. Things are changing and when this change takes place things will never be the same again in my life and it feels like no one cares!!!

He spoke plainly and yet gently as He said.

"My child this is love. Love is a lot of things but love always involves hurt. I loved you My creation and man sinned, it hurt. I sent My Son and My Son loved you and because of that love He hurt. Can you think of a love that you have ever felt that didn't hurt?"

Then visions began to go through my mind. I seen Tony and I and our relationship over the years and I saw pain. I saw how the hurts grew us deeper together and bonded us. I seen myself giving birth to my children. How I loved them so before they were ever born and the pain I experienced bringing them into this world. I seen us parenting these children and the pain and hurts that had happened over the years some so natural and some not so natural but it was LOVE that held true and yet at the same time it was because of the love that we had for one another that it hurt so badly. I seen my little girl graduating and felt the pain of a left behind mommy and imagined her marrying and really starting her own life. I seen faces of those that I love that have passed away. Faces of those I had argued with, friends I had lost, broken relationships, hurt feelings and the root of all of these pains was love.

So the question seems to be is it worth it to love? You bet it is! Love hurts but it also binds us together. Love brings forth forgiveness. Love suffers long. Love never fails. Although there is pain in love, love is not pain. Love is so much more. Love is enduring and mending. Love is forgiving and kind. Love shelters and sacrifices. Love is strong. Love is the reason for it all.

God's love will take care of my Heaven as she steps out into the world. As she leaves the nest. God's love will fill my emptiness, my torn and broken heart, and He will fill it with new love. New things that I can't see that are coming. God's love is enough to enable me to move on.

After praise and worship Pastor Debra stood to speak. The words that she spoke amazed and impressed me. I was so honored that she spent the time that she did to say such wise things to my daughter. She reminded me of many things I'd momentarily forgotten through my emotions and stress. I couldn't see through the tears and I fought to keep sobs from retching out loud from my body. And then Pastor Coleman stood to speak and the love that poured out of Him for us is just unspeakable. There was a moment I didn't think that I would be able to bear another word. (I mean this in a great way!)

My dear friend Ginny that I met through homeschool group spoke next about dreams and thinking bigger. She read this scripture:

Isaiah 54:2 Make your tent bigger; stretch it out and make it wider. Do not hold back. Make the ropes longer and its stakes stronger, 3 because you will spread out to the right and to the left. Your children will take over other nations, and they will again live in cities that once were destroyed. 4 "Don't be afraid, because you will not be ashamed. Don't be embarrassed, because you will not be disgraced."

She shared how Heaven had been strong in the Lord, focused on Him and had stood steadfast. She had witnessed for Him and not been ashamed and the Lord was telling her to dream bigger. She couldn't dream for herself as big as the dreams the Lord had waiting for her!

Joy began to take over at this point. FINALLY! :)

I knew the Lord was speaking because just Wednesday night at Bible Study we were reminded to pray for nations! That our thoughts were not high enough where God is concerned. He is powerful and we need to be Kingdom minded and strive to tap into Him.

And then my husband spoke. The emotions overwhelmed me again as we reminisced over the years of Heaven growing and changing. The years that she spent with us home instead of in public school and the difference the time made. He called me forth to hand her her diploma. I so badly wanted to share what the Lord has said to me and the visions that I had had just moments before but I couldn't. I choked out a few words.....love and pain.....bittersweet. I congratulated her for she had so earned her diploma. And then Heaven spoke.

She gets her speaking skills from her earthly father and her Heavenly one! She thanked us for the decisions we had made and talked about how home schooling had shaped and formed her during some of the most sensitive years of her life. She was missing one of her best friends today also and she shared her pain but she pushed it aside and kept moving. (She done a much better job than her mother!) I'm a proud mother and thank my dear Father in Heaven, my Lord Jesus Christ, the precious Holy Spirit whom I often leave out without meaning to for gifting me with Heaven and for guiding and protecting her through the years. I am so grateful for the call on her life. I know she will continue to stand and serve.

It is Well with My Soul.....All is Well with My Soul.....My baby is growing up!

Nothing Without You by Bebo Norman
Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

Take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing without You

Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
But I love You

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And all the strength I can find

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
I have nothing

Take my time here on earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing, I am nothing, I am nothing without You


annie said...

That was very touching Jenileigh. I know you are so proud of Heaven's accomplishments and goals. I pray blessings on her future. Congratulations!

Jen @ One Moms World said...

Big Big Big (((HUGS))) Jenileigh!! I can't even imagine all the emotions you went through today, but just know what was most important is what you have done for your daughter through all these years. What a wonderful experience you have given her and started her foundation of life. There is nothing that can compare of what you have done.

Tell her big CONGRATS and to never forget where "home" is hehe. Can't wait to see pictures :)

Susanne said...

What a touching and honest post. How lovely that your church does a special service for your homeschool graduate. That is very meaningful and a great memory for your girl.

I so know what you are going through with emotions of letting a child go on as they grow up and move away as you do me. It's like a rollercoaster of feelings. And throw everything else you mentioned in there and I feel like it's all I can do to just hang on. We do seem to be in about the same place in life right now. But the Lord is good. And never leaves us or forsakes us and will walk us through this time.

Sounds like your girl is going to have an exciting summer. May the Lord lead and guide her while she is in Africa. And congratulations to her on her graduation!

Susan said...


What a deeply touching post. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Letting go of our children would have to be the most difficult thing as a parent.

There are so many stages of it, and different circumstances that bring us to that place.

Thank GOD for His grace. He will give you what you need as you need it. Never before that!

Your daughter sounds like on amazing young lady. I'm so excited for her, and for your family.

The ceremony sounded so beautiful. Maybe God wanted it small, intimate and POWERFUL like it was! He was there, and you all felt His presence, now it doesn't get better then that...


Penless Thoughts said...

Jenileigh YOU are tuly authentic and vulnerable. This was beautiful!!! May I link to you when I do my follow-up on these two words?

Bobbi said...

It's hard, but it's so worth seeing what GOD is doing in their lives and seeing that all of our work as a mom and a teacher and a friend is paying off...dd graduated last year.

A beautiful post!
Blessings and Hugs,

Anonymous said...

congrat's to Heaven! :)

Tiffany Stuart said...

This is such a beautiful post. So honest and raw. I love seeing how you were transformed by the love of the Lord. I love the insight you have about love hurting. God has spoken that to me many times.

What a wonderful family you have. And your husband and daughter's sweet words must have been powerful. A picture of love and strength.

Thanks for sharing. Thanks for letting go. And thanks for your courage to say "it is well with my soul."

God bless you and yours as you continue your journey of faith.

Hugs from Colorado,

Penless Thoughts said...

I did my follow-up post and linked to you Jenileigh.

Penless Thoughts said...

Jenileigh, I just got home and saw your comment. Please leave me an e-mail address so I can send you some information on the prayer blog Hearts In "1" Accord by clicking on the link at the top of my side bar. Thanks.

Rebecca said...

Congratulations to your sweet Heaven, and I love the lyrics to the song you posted! What a wonderful, emotional day!!


Beth K. Vogt said...

What a beautifully written blog--and thank you for sharing your mother's heart with us. Congratulations on your accomplishments, as well as your daughters!
Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Irritable Mother said...

Jenileigh's Journey. This sure was a great one!
God has taken you on an incredible journey - even over the course of one graduation ceremony. He has cared for you perfectly. He has spoken to your heart, shown His love and faithfulness to you, and displayed His power. Surely, He will do the same for Heaven as He carries her through life and brings to completion the good work He has begun in her while she was home with you.
I am blessed by your words today - by the sharing of your heart. And I pray God will continue to hold you up and reveal His goodness to you.

Barbara said...

Beautiful. I just came over from Susan's and it was worth the visit.

Penless Thoughts said...

Jenileigh I sent the e-mails to the first address. Did you get them. Please let me know.

Andrea said...

What a great mom you are! I'm sure Heaven will do great when she steps out into the world...but I know that doesn't make it any easier! Tell her congratulations on graduating though! :) Thank you for such a honest and heartfelt post too!

lori said...

I just wrote this LONG comment...and poof...it disappeared....so I try again...
As a homeschool mom myself...I was sitting here in tears...that was beautiful!!
What you have given her is a gift that you can not wrap...it is one she will take with her down this new road of life...

Be assured mom that from the words on this post..you have a "little girl" who is ready to begin that new journey...knowing that home is where they ALWAYS leave the light on for you...

Thank you for this...it was wonderful and inspiring to me...as one who is beginning the high school journey, despite the odds...

Blessings to you and prayers for your 'baby!'

hugs to you!!

Penless Thoughts said...

Did you get the prayer schedule? Haven't heard back from you.

Amy B said...

Awe Jenileigh... I can't imagine how you must feel. So much pride and happiness yet a touch of sadness. It is obvious that you have done an amazing job with Heaven and this is such a pivotal time in her life. I'll be praying for all of you. Thanks for being so transparent.

Julie said...

Hey, I have my first home school graduate too this year... Congratulations to you and yours.

Also I clicked on your profile and saw you live in the Blue Ridge Mountains... I do too... only on the Georgia side. I don't know if they are the same range of mountains but ours are beautiful....

I love living here.


Momma Roar said...

Oh Jenileigh - this was so beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes. (I am finally getting caught up on some blog posts from when I was on vacation.)

This was such a wonderful post, and you are so authentic and vulnerable, as Susan said.

We are at the start of our homeschool journey. You've encouraged me in this.