Why ‘Frozen’ made me cry…

It was the second night of MomLife Bootcamp, a wonderful weekend of encouragement for moms put on by FamilyLife Ministries. Four hundred or so energy-sapped but excited women converged at the beautiful Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, Texas. After corporate prayer and worship, meaningful fellowship, rest and recreation in the outdoors, and plenty of sound Biblical teaching, the dance party ensued. With rock concert lighting and speakers pumping the big hits, we were skillfully (and hilariously!) dancing through the decades, pausing only for chocolate fondue. We had watched a special screening of the new movie ‘Mom’s Night Out’ the previous evening, and this was our night to put it to practice. All in good fun, of course.

The camp workers, mostly college age kids full of life and zeal, came dressed in zany costumes ready to lead the antics and show us all a good time. Nearing eleven o’clock or so, many of the moms had slowly trickled back to their cabins leaving only a few of us lingering around the perimeter of the room. It was then that these twenty something year-old girls started shouting, “Frozen! Frozen!” The designated DJ, a college dude running his laptop through a small sound system in a nearby closet, reluctantly obliged. At the top of their lungs, they sang and dramatically enacted every single word of “Let It Go.” I watched and smiled at their unbridled joy and sheer commitment to youthful fun and fancy.

Then the unexpected happened. As they continued in song, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. Just earlier that week I had watched ‘Frozen’ in my living room in Tennessee with my newly engaged daughter and her dear friend who is also soon to be married. In that moment, it was as if time stood still and all the memories of countless movies nights, Disney princess pajamas, sing-alongs, dress up days, and bedtime prayers, came flooding in. Suddenly, I was aware that a very long and delightful chapter of my life was coming to an end. That my beautiful little girl, the youngest of two, will be the last to leave the nest. And, this, just around the corner. 

I cried, sort of laughing-crying all mixed together, because of how these emotions were prompted by such a silly, seemingly unrelated moment. A moment, now forever “frozen” in time. These dear young people had put me in touch with a strange kind of loss, the kind we moms experience when we’re called upon to launch our kids into adulthood. Someone once said on the subject of parenting that “we’re not raising children, we’re raising adults.” And, eventually, there comes a time when we will have to let it go. Let them go. I believe God in His kindness was allowing me to begin to process all of that.

As I left with some of the ladies that night, I verbalized my laugh-cry and they met me with nothing but understanding and encouragement. Still, it left me wondering how much of my identity has been wrapped up in my role as Cameron and Sarah’s Mom? Am I prepared for life without someone sleeping in the bedroom down the hall? Will I embrace the silence when Disney movies are no longer playing in my living room? Or will I relish it? All ponder-worthy questions.

The next day, after the close of the conference, the women in leadership led me into a back office to pray over me, for the ministry, for my adult kids and their marriages, and for this next chapter in my life. I felt so loved and cared for. And before the books from the resource center were all packed up, I managed to snag a copy of a title that had caught my eye earlier that weekend…Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the EMPTY NEST – Discovering New Purpose, Passion & Your Next Great Adventure (Barbara Rainey & Susan Yates, FamilyLife Publishing). I’m on page 96 about the Challenge of Relinquishing Control. There’s another segment called Plan A Wedding With Care. I guess I better read that one, too.

I find it interesting to note that the theme verse for MomLife Bootcamp was Ecclisiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Our main session topics included ‘The Girl I Was’,'The Mom I Am’, and ‘The Woman God Created Me To Be’. Lord, give me grace to finish this season well and ready me for the season ahead. I want to be your woman, whatever that looks like. And FYI, Lord, I’m in no particular hurry for grandchildren, but I certainly won’t refuse them when they come! After all, it’s the circle of life. Oh, wait, that’s another Disney movie…

As always, thanks for letting me share.

Your friend,
Cheri

PS Not sure if the hashtagging thing works on here, but here goes my feeble attempt…

#frozen #disney #disneyprincess #lionking #momlifebootcamp #emptynest #barbararainey #susanyates

 

 

 

Crushed? One woman’s story & poem…

Recently, I received a handwritten letter and poem from a dear woman named Jerry. She references my current radio single and a program she heard on Moody radio. I was blessed by her letter and asked if I could share it with you. And permission was granted…

Cheri,

I heard just the end of your interview on Midday Connection and heard your song “When You Were Jesus to Me.” It reminded me very much of a time in my life, also after a divorce, when I was so crushed by circumstances beyond my control.

I wrote the enclosed poem years ago, the symbolism I was seeing was like a group of children standing in a circle holding each other’s hand preventing each other from falling all the way down. Sometimes I was pulled up, sometimes I helped someone else. The community of believers is what you described as we each become “Jesus” to one another. His hands and feet.

I loved the CD and your music…thank you for being transparent.

Jerry B. from Charleston, TN

Copied on pink paper, here’s her original poem dated back in 1982…

Friendship

Hold the hand
Soothe the hurt
Circle warm where tears will dry
Cradle gently rocking

Child of God
Lost in the night
Fear alone is mocking

Hand in hand
Circle ever growing
Chain entwined, anchored strong
Cradle gently rocking

Lean and rest
Or hold and comfort
The circle warms, the tears dry
Where the cradle is gently rocking

Thanks for sharing, Jerry. Beautiful imagery. To quote song lyrics by Twila Paris…how beautiful is the body of Christ.

Circle round,
Cheri

P.S. In a follow-up email she shared…“my ex and his wife attend the same church that my husband and I do. I have laughed many times about how 30+ years ago I prayed that my now ex would go to church with our daughter and myself. God does have a sense of humor.” Indeed. Indeed He does.