I remember when it came time to stop nursing my firstborn. It was the first opportunity I had to allow my child to not need me. Though I knew it was time, there were emotions that rose up, a sadness crept in as I said goodbye to a precious season of comfort and intimacy. My daughter was no longer an infant. She had entered the stage of "toddlerhood". It's funny how it all works out. You know in your head that it is the right move for your children to let them go, but there's a tug of war that goes on in your heart.
Years progressed and there were more opportunities to let go. Leaving her with her grandparents for the first time overnight, spend the night times with friends, going in a car with someone other than her dad or I. All these moments were natural moments that were part of living and letting go.
When she was 12 years old she went on her first outreach. Three weeks away from home, though not out of the city, my daughter embarked on her missions trip. It was another monumental time of allowing my daughter to stretch her wings a little in preparation for the day when she would move into who she was created to be. She thrived in this environment. I remember I wrote her a card for every day of those 3 weeks to open and read from me. I wanted my heart to go with her.
The teenage years brought on another type of letting go. This time it was behind a vehicle that could not only kill her, but another, if not handled properly. I will never forget that first day when she drove off by herself to work. I sat waiting for the phone call that said, "I'm here, and I'm safe." You know you never stop being concerned for your child's safety, you just learn to trust God with it all.
Not long after that, came graduation and entering into legal adulthood. No longer a child, I had to let her become an adult. In some ways this stage wasn't as hard as the other stages. She was ready. She needed to be set free to live in the responsibility and freedom. She needed to be her own person, following her own dreams
Soon after becoming an adult she decided to move into an apartment with another co-worker. I didn't expect the emotions to be as strong as they were. After all she was only going to be 30 minutes away. I hugged her goodbye, got in the car and drove home . It was a helpless feeling that came over me. I realized at that point that I could no longer protect her. She was no longer under my care. She was on her own. Would she be OK? Would she be safe? Would she follow God? Had I taught her enough? Had I done enough to prepare her? Fears, questions, and doubts rose up within me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. My little girl was all grown up. She was moving on to live her own life. I cried like a baby. I grieved the loss, it was part of the process of moving on.
Now 2 1/2 years later she will begin the largest adventure of her life. In 3 days she will fly across the ocean for a 5 month missions trip, a YWAM Discipleship Training School. She has always been within an hour from home. I have seen her almost every weekend for years. I will not see her for 5 months. I cannot call her at a moment's notice. What will it be like to have one who was carried close to my heart so far away? How will it be not to hear her voice throughout the day.
It is time to let her go. She is going after God. What more could a mother desire? I know it is good and right, but my heart aches. My baby is going to spread her wings and I won't be there to witness it.
All of her life has been leading up to this. I always knew this was a possibility. She had talked of missions work as a young child, wanting to be a veterinarian missionary, who cared for the people's animals while she told them about Jesus. Yes, she was a very creative child.....still is.
As we stood worshipping in church out of the corner of my eyes I saw her surrendering her life to be a beautiful display of God to others. With my hand upon her head and my heart praying her release, God came, for both of us. We held each other close, she wept, tears filled my eyes as I tried to retain some composure, for fear I would surely cry the "ugly cry" in a room full of people.
You know no one told me about this part. I mean I knew that you let go and everything. After all I don't live with my parents anymore. I left home... So I know it is a natural part of life. But I never knew it hurt like it does.... In just a blink of an eye, time has moved in warp speed and those little ones are leaving home to live their own lives. I didn't know when I had toddlers that life would move into warp speed.
The emotions are lying underneath the surface. I can feel them. I know they are waiting..... another time of grieving and rejoicing is on the horizon. Another opportunity of letting go.
May I let go with grace, Papa, like you do.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." II Corinthians 9:8