Do you see this picture above? I chose it, because it's an accurate reflection of my eyesight view at this time in my life. Imagine you and I in a car together, and I'm in the driver seat and you're in the passenger seat. This road ahead is what we see together out of the windshield in the car, so we both see the same thing. Do you see this as an open road opportunity, because I sure do?
If I can indulge you for a minute about how my mind is visually expressive when it comes to the above picture, I see an almost empty, limitless road in which I don't have to compete with tons of other drivers---less resistance and competition. I see there is nothing holding me back from moving forward, and the decision to move forward lies in my hand. By being inside the car, God has provided me with His protection from outside elements. In addition to being inside of the car with all of the things to make the car operate surrounding me, God has already provided me with all the equipment I need inside of me to move forward. I see the ground on each side of the road as it seems to extend for miles, and it looks a little rocky, worn, uneven and it reminds me of the mounds of battles I have had to face as a single parent over the course of years. As I gaze ahead, I see snow which reminds me of the seasons in my single parenting life. Seasons where I felt extremely alone, and it was cold living like we experience during winter. There were times where I felt I was planting seeds every single day of my life and giving more out of me than I felt I was making a difference which reminds me of spring. The warmth of a beautiful summer day reminds me of the times where I experienced a harvest and growth, and I felt hopeful as God would remind me that I'm doing a great job as a single parent so keep moving forward. Then the fall season arrives, and I could see the shedding of the leaves from trees that have weathered many storms and yet they begin to prepare for their new leaves at the appropriate time next year. I know this may sound strange as I am writing this at the height of spring in May, but I am in that fall season---I'm happy, I see its relevance, my old leaves have shedded, and I embrace this season as an open road opportunity.
My soon-to-be college bound daughter often says to me, "Mom, I know you're gonna miss me when I leave." Now you know I have to do my politically correct parent thing and put on my automatic facial response that says, "Yes, sweetheart, I'm gonna miss you." BUT then there's a small internal response that she can't see that says, "Whoa, are you kidding me girlfriend!" Which response I would like for her to remember---the politically correct one of course, because we are always putting our children first. You and I have been trained to put our children first, and through the many seasons of single parenting, the shedding of what we have always done is a necessary process so that a new season and the new leaves can emerge.
I hear this quite often which is you never stop parenting, and I AGREE with that wholeheartedly. I also believe that my daughter will always need me, and your children will always need you, BUT our roles change and they will need us in different ways. When you finally click with this at the appropriate time in your children's lives as they become young adults, I believe it's God's way of allowing you to see that traffic light turn green and He says to you, "Hello, it's time for me to reveal your next journey." Somehow, even though you can't explain it, you begin to create and redesign new space so that you can embark on this next journey which is where I am at this very moment. Sitting in this car looking out the windshield and seeing what I see as reflected in the picture above knowing that I see images and scenery that remind me of what I have been through, but somehow that limitless open road has also captured my attention.
Maybe you're saying, "Tracy, I hear ya, but that's just a natural order of things." You know what I agree with you. In the normal order of things we have children, we raise them, they leave, and life moves on. Where I disagree is in the spiritual order of things in which we allow God to be the guide. He's the one who prompts us to go, to stay, to move, to wait, to plant, to harvest, to protect, to release, etc. Whichever order you choose to embark on, only YOU can decide to live your life in just an ordinary, nothing-special kind of existence OR in an extraordinary, rest-of-my-purposeful-life kind of existence. Since you're in the passenger seat in the car with me, something tells me you're going to decide on that extraordinary purposeful life, because you know I'm moving forward and so are you.
I know that my time is here to do even more for God and to serve Him on an even greater level. Maybe it's because my daughter will soon be leaving or maybe not? What I do know is that I know that I know that I know, God has revealed it to me and absolutely no one can tell me otherwise. I know that something even more amazing is on the immediate horizon for me--I just know it. This may sound so cute and maybe you're thinking that you are happy for me, but as you look at your own life you maybe thinking that you feel overwhelmed right now. I understand this, and I have certainly experienced this also, and like some of you, I have not been exempt from storms and hardships. Remember those seasons I talked about earlier, well I have just ended a long piercing cold winter season where I have been stabbed in the back, endured some serious unfair situations, watched people try to copy the gifts and talents God gave me because they thought they were anointed to do it better, experienced people trying to tarnish my good name, and witnessed people turn their backs on me when I reached out to them when my mother passed away last year that I thought I could count on---I thought they cared about me. So, trust me I have a baseline to compare this knowing that I feel right now. God is the same god that strengthened me when I wanted to let these people know I knew what they were doing, but I chose to remain quiet and to use my tongue to uplift and not tear down. Did it hurt, of course it did. Was this an uncomfortable winter season, of course it was. However, the Bible requires us to pray for those who do evil towards us (Matthew 5:44). God is not finished with me, God is not finished with you, and He is in the car with us. He's revealing His plan for me, and He's revealing His plan for you.
What shall we do with all this open road opportunity? Put some action behind it. Be intentional about pressing the gas pedal in the car as a symbol that we agree with God's plan. Although I might be in the driver's seat and you're in the passenger seat, we must allow God full control of the steering wheel. God is fully aware of where we are in life, and He doesn't want us to be so caught up in celebrating the close of one season that this celebration goes on longer than He intended. Since God doesn't waste anything, He will allow all that you have been through during this single parent season to work for your good---even your future good. You have had plenty of opportunity to quit and to give up, but you didn't. You know you are not the same person you used to be before you became a parent and even more so a single parent, so stop trying to resurrect that person, but instead embrace the limitless road ahead. It's okay to take a glance sometimes at the rocky, worn, uneven images and scenery on the ground as the car passes by, but don't set up camp. The snow ahead maybe a sign of potential upcoming road danger, but you know beyond a doubt that if God brought you through all the rest of the storms and hardships, He will certainly navigate you through this. You are here to do more. As you transition from the different seasons in your single parent life, remember change is the only constant in life. Learn to welcome change and transitions, because YOUR time is now, YOUR time is here, so MAXIMIZE your moment!!!!