Monday, August 22, 2016

When Being A Mother Means Becoming A Child (Launching Kids)

I’m in the coffee line at Sunday school when a lovely young mother shares her heart. Her first child will be attending preschool soon, and her emotions run deep. I get it. Beside me stands my twenty-four year old son, home this summer for an internship, but off for his second year of law school in two days. This week another son will attend public high school after a childhood of homeschooling, and there will be only two left at home. My children are growing and changing and it’s good. Very good.

But letting go is hard.

It's common to motherhood, and if we allow it, this stretching is a spiritual experience. We let go in varying degrees – from preschool to adulthood - but it’s still an unclenching of the fist. It’s uncurling our fingers and stretching open palms to the Lord.

Releasing our children, as they grow, means opening our hands.

As the young mother and I chat, I think of stretching times and remember when Lonny and I left our firstborn at college. He stood on the sidewalk in front of his dorm, and I watched him in the mirror as we drove away. He grew smaller and the ache went bigger.  I feared that when Lonny and I returned to our hotel room, the seams of my soul would split. And they did. But then Lonny’s arms slipped around me, and the unexpected happened.
We danced.

It wasn’t romantic. There was no music. It was just the two of us, holding one another, hurting hearts pressed close.

The Lord was with us.

Open hands are hands that are ready to receive.

I’m learning, as I grow in my relationship with God, that I can always find comfort in the promise of His Presence. He doesn’t change. Growth doesn't separate us. In fact,  as I grow, He comes closer.  There's not a life stage or experience I'll walk through alone. He's faithful to provide - for my child and for me. Sometimes the grace is within expectation, but sometimes it’s too tender and beautiful for my imagination.

Like an unexpected dance.

And I can trust in God's love, care, and provision, because really...

letting go of children means becoming a child.

At the sweet center of child rearing is the gut-drive to provide for my boys. It began before I fed their bellies from my body and stretches through a lifetime of days. It’s soul-giving. It’s offering all I have for the benefit of another. My boys can count on it - even in my flawed human state. And the Lord offers the same to me – only His love is perfect and His grace is limitless. I can rest in His arms and find comfort in His care. I can let the truth of His Word cradle me and allow me to hear His heart.

 And it beats a rhythm of love.

The young mother and I chat while the line inches along and soon I fill my cup. My son and I press through the crowd and find a table. He pulls my chair back, and his smile stirs my heart.
Next week he’ll be gone, and my life will change in a lot of ways.

But it’s okay.

Because of my Father, I can live open-handed with my child.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them your food in due season. You open your hand, you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Psalm 145:15-16

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