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IMG_3709aIMG_2292I was working the concession stand the other day for my youngest daughter’s volleyball game (Broken Arrow freshman team), when I glanced out toward the gym and saw a little girl around the age of two playing on the bars by the gym seats. From the back the little girl totally reminded me of my oldest daughter, Braelyn, (who will be 19 this Wed.). In an instance, Braelyn’s life flashed before me! I stood motionless staring at this precious little girl who was oblivious to anyone around her -she was captivated by playing on the simple bars meant to help persons stepping down to a seat.

The background music at the time was an oldie by Miley Cyrus – one that when Braelyn was in middle school used to dance to – “Everyone Makes Mistakes”. I felt like I could go up to this little girl’s mom and tell her, “Everything will turn out better than you can imagine”. Even though this mom hasn’t even had the memorable privilege of putting her daughter in kindergarten yet, and even though the dreaded teenage years seem so far removed from the both of them, I felt like telling her that loving her little girl will be one of the most rewarding acts you could ever do in life.

See…Braelyn went to college less than a month ago. She is having the time of her life at her Dad’s and my alma mater – Oklahoma Baptist University. Before she left I had a lot of family and friends ask me if I was going to be alright with her going away. My answer was always, “Well of course!” This is exactly what we reared her to do – go away to a four-year college to continue her education and enjoy some freedom away from mom and dad. I was nothing less than ecstatic for her!! Moving day was a breeze…that is until her two sisters began to tear up.

Now…I am going through a grief I did not expect. Having three daughters in four years has been all-consuming! I felt as if I hadn’t come up for air since the day my first was born. I never imagined myself with an empty nest; it didn’t seem even remotely possible. I don’t want to come home to an empty house in four years which is when my youngest will be entering her freshman year in college.

Not sure I can actually pinpoint my grief completely. It may be a sense of gratitude of being all of my daughters mom and having had the blessing and oh so enormous responsibility of bringing them up in this oh so crazy place called Earth in the 21st century! I may not have gone to every game they played, ordered every school picture, volunteered at their school regularly, read to them as often as they would have liked, or given them all name brand clothing, BUT I do believe they know that I love them and that the One who created their beautiful bodies and knows them more than me loves them with an infinite love.

To all the moms who are just beginning the adventure of being a parent – I know the days are long, the messes are plenty, the money is short, and your energy is small. But know that your reward is great! Each small endeavor you invest into your child’s future really is no little thing! Enjoy as many moments in the mundane dailyness of life as you seek God in all things. He keeps you together!

Jennifer Johnson

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"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." -Revelations 1:5b-6

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