Thursday, January 16, 2014

Giving Them Wings

Several years ago, I let my 18 year old daughter travel to Uganda with 10-20 women from across the US I did not know. It actually ended up being a comfort to me because I could strongly feel the love and the nurturing she'd be getting from the other women who love Jesus. My heart was wishing that I had been able to be with her on this incredible experience.

This brings me back to some verses God has given to me over the past several years. It's been a true struggle learning to let go of our children. We have given them wings and soon it will be time for them to fly. It's really something we start doing as early as when they begin walking. The question is, are we ever really ready to let them go?

"Let your hope make you glad.  Be patient in the time of trouble and never stop praying." Romans 12;12 I think that one was written especially for me! I feel strongly about hearing the Lord tell me to have hope and this verse makes my heart happy.  The patience part, I'm still working on.

Lamentations 3:22-23 -
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

There is no exclamation mark after this verse but I think there should be. I am an emotional person who feels deeply and I love the exclamation mark! His compassions are new every morning. That is just amazing to me! Thank you Lord for your great faithfulness!

So here's what happened: Hannah arrived in Dallas airport with 2 bags to check, a carry on bag, a purse a backpack and a small bag. She had to leave security to meet up with the team she was going to Uganda with. She rented a luggage carrier, which didn't help as she was told she must leave them within the security area. My 110 pound daughter begins to drag all this luggage across the airport. I received a phone call from her, she was frantic and scared. I was wondering what I had been thinking letting her go alone! Thankfully after her ordeal with the luggage she had a pretty easy time find her teammates.

Those 2 weeks she was gone were a lesson in letting go. I was so proud of her and yet so shocked that she was learning to manuever this life without me being there every minute.

When God was teaching me about giving my children wings and letting them fly, I completely didn't connect that perhaps Spencer would be the one I had to let go of first. That was a complete blow to me! I wasn't at all ready for what happened.

Two months prior to Hannah leaving for Africa, we chose to send Spencer to Teen Challenge, a Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems. He was only 16 years old and it was a 15 month program. Though there are hundreds of Teen Challenge sites, we chose Florida, which is a long way from our home in Minnesota. We chose this program because we thought it best suited his needs.

All this happened smack dab in the middle of my depression, making it even more difficult for me to to process. I missed him and I grieved the many losses involved with this situation.

Fast forward almost 3 years and I am amazed at what God has taught me and how I have grown.  I'm still learning to let go.  Hannah is now 21 and Spencer is 19, both of them live on their own and are needing me less and less and when they do need me, it is a different kind of need than when they were children.   Sterling is 17 and he's beginning to look at music schools in other states.  Learning to maneuver the road of parenting older children is a whole new world.

I continually remind myself that they were never mine to begin with. They belong to the Lord.

I recently came across a blog 'Keeping up with the Clarks'.  The author of the blog, Shirley wrote this very wise piece as a new mom and I'd like to share with you. I have paraphrased it a bit. Check out her blog, it is full of beautiful writing.

One day soon my child will outgrow my lap...though never my heart.

And that is the way it should be.

One day soon this baby will become a man/woman.  God will be his/her source and sustainer of life.  My child's needs will be met by Him and not I.

And that is how it should be.

One day soon they will be too big for me to wrap my arms completely around and soon after he/she will prefer the arms of their spouse.

And that is how it should be!

I really love what she wrote and it hit home in a way I hadn't thought of before.  I don't want my children to need me, I want them to need GOD!   I want them to be happy and confident in who they are as my child and as a child of God.  I want them to find that special someone and make their own life.

Of course, I want them to call me every now and then(texting is good but phone calls are better) and I love it when they come home, even for a few minutes to grab some food or play with the littles.

Sometimes I find myself worrying about them moving out of state or what kind of choices they will make.  I know I need to let them figure it out on their own and fail every now and then so they learn.

My husband will wrap his arms around me when this happens and look at me and say "When we have done our job as parents and everyone is gone, it will be just you and me.  We will always have each other and that is very important to remember."

I love him and am so thankful for how he loves our children and for how he loves me.

Dear Lord,
I'm a mom who has given my whole self to parenting.  I have never been perfect and I am always making mistakes.  One thing I know is that I always try my hardest to be a good mom.  I love my children.  I love who they are becoming.  I love that you love them more than I do and that is a lot!  Help me as I learn to let go of my children.  Help me as I learn to let go of control and let them make their own choices.  Help me to figure out how to parent adult children because this is new to me.  Also Lord, please give me the strength and endurance I need as I not only parent adult and teen children but also the twins who are 5.  Sometimes I am tired and think the road ahead is very long.  Thank you for gifting Kevin and I with 6 amazing kids!


White Lace and Promises said...

Wow, Gina. I have been there. I have bipolar depression disorder. It's taken me years to find the right balance of meds. I lost my parents within 6 months of each other 3 years ago having taken care of them for 5 years. God led me to a great counselor last year who I have seen weekly for over a year. I am finally feeling whole for the first time in my life. Sometimes God heals instantly (HE CAN) and sometimes he uses others. I know I would never have made it without HIM! My kids are 31 and 28. They are married and my son, the youngest and his wife have a 2 year old boy and are expecting a girl in March. My daughter's husband had cancer 6 years ago (testicular) and have tried 7 IUIs and 1 miscarriage and will hopefully start IVF next month. Please pray for them. I have prayed for adoption for them but they haven't been ready. Their faith has been shaken to the core and I was so scared, so scared that they were walking away from all they were taught. But God is faithful. It's a part of that letting go that is so hard. They will always be your babies, but honestly they are only on loan to us for a little while. I've believed when they couldn't. I will pray for you and your sweet family. What a wonderful opportunity you have! Maybe it's not by accident that we've met now. Who knows??? God may have a baby for my baby girl.

Blessings. I'm lookiing forward to getting to know you

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