Posted by: glorifyhim1 | June 6, 2010

Letting Go

Today was graduate recognition day at church – from our kindergarten graduates all the way through our college graduates. What a bittersweet time! Milestones like graduation remind us so well of how quickly time passes. A slide show prepared for our high school graduates captured how fleeting these years can be as the smiling faces of babies and young children gradually turned into the young people we know today. As I thought about how quickly those years had passed in the lives of my own children, I couldn’t help but let a tear slide down my face. Where does time go?

Yet, as I looked at the faces of my eager group of kindergartners, I couldn’t be sad. They were smiling, laughing, playing – so full of joy and life. They are more than ready to tackle first grade and ultimately what the future holds. Likewise, our high school and college graduates, while they may understand the bittersweet nature of their accomplishment, they are still excited about their next steps and moving on with their lives. It is usually parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older friends and loved ones who fight so hard to let go. But, let go we must. Just as we champion our children when they take their first steps or ride a bike without training wheels, we must continue to be a source of strength and encouragement for our children as they take new and sometimes uncertain steps into the future.

But how do we do that? How do we just turn the page and move on with the next chapter? How do we let go? While it certainly isn’t easy, it is something all parents must learn to do, but thankfully, not all at once. I have learned through the years that letting go is a gradual process. As our children take each new step of independence, we, in turn, must relinquish our grip a little bit more until one day we see our children soaring completely independently of us. This is actually a time for rejoicing as we see our kids become adults with whom we can relate on a whole new level. We don’t lose them as children. We learn to relate with them as equals and friends.

I admit that all of this is easier for me to see in retrospect, but when I was in the middle of each change it was difficult. I had always firmly believed that my children were not mine, but that they were a trust given to me by God. I didn’t own them. They belonged to Him.  He had given them to my husband and me to love, care for, lead and guide. I believed this with all my heart, yet it was still hard to let go.

This belief, however, also was what eventually gave me peace as I went through this process with my kids. I knew that as much as I loved and cared for them, that God loved them more. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). I knew that He knew them before I did, that He knit them together in my womb, and made them just the way He wanted them for what He wanted them to be and do. “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16). Just as God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5), in the same way He has perfect knowledge of what He has designed for each of my kids. How could I not trust each of them to His love, protection, and care?

I claimed – and still claim – the promise of Psalm 121:8 over each of my children. “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” This verse assures me that God is always on duty, watching over my kids. I know that God is with each of them – whenever, wherever, whatever! What more could I need to know?

So, to my kids, and every child of God, remember —

Your God is before you

Planning your way,

He walks along with you

And guides you each day.

He’ll never forsake you,

He’ll stay by your side,

He’ll watch every footstep,

One step at a time.

At times you may falter,

Your pathway be dim,

But know He is watching,

You need only watch Him.

For He goes before you,

He walks by your side,

He follows you closely,

 Keeps You in His sight.

 

Thank You, God, that we don’t have to worry about Your letting go.

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