In the course of packing up my house to move I ran across a little bit of artwork I had saved from my children’s school years. (OK, so it wasn’t a little bit. It was more in the range of the hundreds of boxes of evidence amassed in the JFK conspiracy hearings.) Moving was as good a time as any to go through all that I had saved and make the tough choices of what to keep, and what to let go. My husband was working at his new job in the new city, so momma here was all alone and had a lot to get done in a short amount of time!
I saved all this artwork for a reason, right? Every piece of their handwriting, every picture drawn, every scrap from preschool through high school. I found it in tubs of all sizes and even some shipping tubes (I think I read back around 2005 that shipping tubes were the best way to save it all but now I hate it’s all rolled up and won’t lay flat). Anyway, just when I thought I had gone through it all, I’d look in a closet that I swore was all cleaned out and there would be another tub full to the brim with the smell of Crayola and paper, laughing at me in my defeat to conquer the artwork.
I knew I couldn’t keep it all. But where does a momma draw the line?
I looked at every single piece of it. Read every word, attempted to decipher every picture. Struggled with what was worthy of being packed up and shipped to the new house to be stored for my children to go through one day and what could go to the recycle bin. Enter mom guilt, as each piece that was discarded felt like I was throwing away a little piece of their childhood.
I had to have a plan – a definitive method for dealing with the mounting piles of artwork and memories.
So I finally decided to keep anything that they wrote/drew it for a special occasion (Mother’s Day, a birthday, etc.), if it had their little handprints on it, or it had a picture of their sweet faces on it.
Whew! Well that was easy – NOT. Each piece of artwork held a memory. A memory from a time that had come and gone without realizing its significance. Memories came flooding back as I worked my way through the tubs and tubes. Memories of learning to write the alphabet or draw stick figure families, of handmade birthday cards and “You’re the Best Mom” Mother’s Day drawings.
The process of reliving their childhood through their artwork was painful, as I ached to receive a piece of their heart through their drawings one more time. I cried many times, begging God to take me back in time and let me raise them all over again. I desperately wanted my babies back.
But since Michael J. Fox and the DeLorean didn’t every show up, I had to work through it and forge ahead and attempt to pack up the memories as we headed to our new adventure.
How did I do it?
I finally quit begging God to take me back in time and started praying He would be with me throughout the process of moving. I kept telling Him I trusted Him and that He knew what was best for us. I thanked Him for the years He gave us in that home and for all the memories I would carry with me to the new chapter of our family story.
I love the promise found in Deuteronomy 31:8 ~ “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
God goes before us wherever he calls us. We can take great comfort in that promise, knowing he is always with us and will never leave us. We are to be strong and courageous as we trust in the days he has planned for us, even if some of those days are extremely hard to work through. Take comfort in that promise today, tomorrow, and in all your days to come.