Your baby steps foot on the school bus for the first time, turning to wave goodbye as you shed a tear.
Your child is entering Middle School and the sweet bear hugs seem to be lessening.
Your teenager gets their license and your heart skips a beat as they drive away.
Your senior is graduating high school and their chosen college seems like a distant place outside of your parenting comfort zone.
Your heart swells with pride as you say goodbye to your son who is leaving to fight for our country, all the while wondering where the little boy you once held in your arms has gone.
A tear escapes as you place your daughter’s hand into the one who has promised to love her for all of her days.
The first moment your child is placed in your arms you know that you have signed on for the greatest opportunity you will ever have:
“Being a parent.”
Scripture says that “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127:3) Dictionary.com defines heritage as “something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth.” Reward is defined as “something given or received.”
Parenting is a gift.
Notice I didn’t say “the child is a gift.” While it is true that the presence of our children is a gift in our lives, we cannot hold on to them forever.
There comes a time when we must let go.
My son is graduating from college this week. Five years ago I began a journey learning to let go. My Father has been gently teaching me how to let go of the baby my son once was with one resonating theme: I am raising an adult, one who must make his own way.
Why is letting go so hard?
Personally, I truly enjoy the presence of my boys. The mommy-son dates and late night talks. Big bear hugs and hand-made mother’s day cards. Kissing boo-boos and the sound of “mom I’m home!” Just like Mary, I ponder all of these things in my heart. But this is the thing, just because my boy has become a man doesn’t mean that the love stops. So what is it? Am I afraid of letting go?
What am I afraid of? Separation? Challenges? Failure?
Do you too have trouble letting go?
I would like to encourage all of us with these 3 tips to letting go:
Allow God to build character in your child. Teach them dependence and trust in the One who knew them in their mother’s womb. The One who knows the count of every hair on their head.
The Psalmist shares with us that “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
The same Creator who placed the sun and the stars in the sky can be trusted with the child He placed in your arms.
When the challenges hit, step back and encourage your child to courageously step out and meet the challenge in faith. Albert Einstein shares an encouraging quote true for all of us: “You never really fail until you stop trying.”
Challenges are a certainty, but we have a loving Father on our side who will guide and direct us in our uncertainty reminding us that “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) and “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
When you step back and allow your child to meet their challenges, you are helping them to build their faith muscle as they learn to trade their weakness for His strength.
Pray for them daily. God entrusted you with their care, knowing that you can be their greatest prayer warrior!
Our promise through prayer is this: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”(1 John 5:14-15)
This may be a season of great change for you, I encourage you to embrace it! Enjoy it! And allow the Lord to bless you as you learn to let your child grow to be the man / woman they are designed to be.
Father thank You for the beautiful honor in being a parent! Thank You for the gift of allowing us to see a Father’s Love through the eyes of our children. Lord, I lift each of our children up in prayer to you, that you will guide and direct them. And I pray peace over all parents who are struggling with letting go. Allow us to watch our children soar with the knowledge that you hold them in your perfect hand.
Your Honored Daughter
Check out Confessions of a Helicopter Mom for more tips on finding peace in parenting as we teach our children to soar on their own journey to adulthood.