Letting Go…

Today I wanted to discuss a very important aspect of parenting: the letting go of our children.  We prepare for this throughout their lives; there’s the first time we leave them in the church nursery, the first day of school and even those play dates at trusted friends’ houses.  It’s difficult to let go of our little ones, even if we’re only taking baby steps.  We know they are safe and well protected in our care.  But the world can be a big, scary place.  How do we prepare them to enter into it?

Letting go; we see this very normal progression in most of God’s creation.  One of the examples that comes to mind is the majestic eagle.  When it’s time for the baby eagles to learn to fly, then the mother or the father eagle will actually stir up the nest and shove those babies right out.  If the nest is right on a cliff, there may be thousands of feet below them! The parents will fly down and spread their wings so that if the baby is not flying very well, they can bear him up on their wings and then when he is ready, they let him go again. This happens again and again until that baby bird is soaring on his own.

This week is my 13-year-old’s first time away from home. He’s with his school on a retreat /camping trip up in the mountains of Tennessee. My son has done the Boys Scout camping trips, but my husband was always there with the group.  So this is his first time he’s away from home, on his own (ok–with several school counselors present of course–but still).  As he stood with the group of seventh and eighth graders before boarding those buses, he was trying his best to give me the signal that he was and would be “ok”.  He was ready to fly–or at least give it a try.  I’m sure he was a little nervous.  He’s the new kid and he’s in a new place, but this is his time to soar.

I know the Lord does not give me the spirit of fear or anxiety, but those emotions are at the forefront of my mind today.  As his teenage years have officially started, I know that the decision to continue following the Lord’s plan for his life will become my son’s choice.  Have my husband and I prepared him well enough to make good decisions? I believe we have.  But the enemy desires to steal our joy and our peace every chance he gets! God’s Word is our constant reminder: Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

When we are faced with the letting go of our kids, in whatever small ways life presents us these challenges, it’s good to remember that God has given us these children to “bring up in His ways”, and then also remember instead of worrying NOW it the time to pray for that hedge of protection around them. I love that we parents can be honest with God, and that He will meet us where we are.  Prayer is such a wonderful way to relinquish our fear, become obedient to the Lord, and then receive His peace and hope! Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid I will put my trust in you.”

We can’t avoid the inevitable.  The day is coming when our little ones will be old enough to leave the safety of our nest full time.  It will be their time to not only fly, but to hopefully soar… and it will be up to them to make important choices which we have spent a good part of their lives teaching them about.  Keeping our children grounded in God’s Word, and applying that knowledge in our daily lives will make all the difference in their future!  I can humbly tell you that the peace I have found in turning to God’s Word during my moments of fear and anxiety this week have gotten me through a very difficult personal time.  Letting go is hard. I’m glad that I’m only still in the beginning stages of learning this lesson. And yes… I’m already looking forward to seeing my son’s sweet face on Friday!

I’d love to hear your personal stories of letting go.  Whether you’re still in the process of learning how, like me…or if you’ve experienced it to a larger degree.  Share your knowledge, struggles and successes with us!

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2 comments
Carol
Carol

I just helped my 21 year old move into her first apartment today. Feelings of excitement for her mixed with fear and lonliness. I must now believe that I have raised her in the way she should go and that she will make wise Godly decisions. When I arrived home from the move I was reminded that my other daughter would also be away from home tonight. I am not really liking them both being gone, but also feel that I must have done something right for my girls to be comfortable enough to go out and explore what God has for them. I will continue to pray for their protection their entire lives, but I do feel the need to "beef up" my prayers for them in that area. I know fear is not from God so I will just have to lean on Him for comfort and joy.

Amber
Amber

We did just the same as you this summer - sent our oldest off to sleep away camp. A non-Christian camp. With strangers that we had never met. In a place that we had never been. With a lake and horses and where we weren't in control of the food or the activities. And we didn't get to know how the week went until it was over. My oldest is 9, and his brother, aged 7, also went to the same camp. We prepared them by telling them that they would have each other all week long! The 9 year old didn't want to go, even with that. Our hearts fell when we arrived on Sunday afternoon and we found out that not only were they in different teepees, but that they were at complete opposite ends of the camp, with a lake in between them, and that they would not be spending any time together. Walking away from my nine year old, with him fighting tears but trying to be strong was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I wanted to tell him to just climb back into the van, and away we would go. As we drove away, my husband and I talked about how we wouldn't want to stay there either, even now, as adults. But it was a special camp full of love and acceptance and we trusted that all would be well. And we prayed A LOT. Even my MIL woke up in a panic that night with our son on her heart and spent time talking to God, lifting up her oldest grandchild to Him. You know what? He was fine. He was better than fine. I asked him how long it took after I left for him to start having fun, and he told me that it was about THREE SECONDS. Isn't that amazing? And my seven-year-old...it turned out that one of my friends' sons was in his teepee. I was so glad because that little boy was upset about going to camp and my son has a special gift for making friends and putting others at ease. I don't think that it was a coincidence that they were roommates! It is things like this that make it progressively easier to let go of my kids. My husband and I believe in giving them space and responsibility and in pushing them out on that limb a little, and God is ALWAYS here, with all parties involved, reassuring us and walking us through. Even when our eyes can't be on our children, His eyes are, and when we've let them go from our hands, God still holds them in his.