As August is drawing near its end, parents are readying children for school. For some of those parents that school may be college and the child leaving the shelter of their home for a residence somewhere else. Last night I was at a meeting and a grandmother shared with me that her granddaughter was leaving the daycare she had been a part of since she was seven months old to start kindergarten. For a lot of children this can be a very exciting time and one for which they might even engage in a countdown of the days until it starts. But for this child there were a lot of tears because her two best friends, while also heading off to kindergarten, are each going to separate schools and their daily close bond will soon to be broken. Thinking of this caused the grandmother to choke up.
Whether our children or even grandchildren are heading off to kindergarten, college, or even marriage and/or a new career in a new location, letting go is a difficult thing to do. Yes, there are those you would like to use a pry bar to get them out the door, but even then I imagine it would be with some degree of mixed emotions.
And for those older children who have established a life apart from yours there is the tension which you feel as you hear of their struggles and as they experience new joys in which you now only share in at a distance. There is even intense heartbreak for some as their children make seemingly foolish or destructive decisions, some even turning from the foundation upon which they were raised.
A long time ago I heard the phrase, “Let go and let God.” I think it I might have even seen it on a poster with some kind of ‘cute’ picture like the cat with its paws grasping a bar with the phrase “Hang in there.” But this can be a difficult thing to do when it comes to someone for whom you feel responsible.
This is where we need to step back and remember that while we have been given charge over our children to raise them and to care for them, even this charge is subject to the protective hand of God. We can give them big hugs, put band aids on the hurts, take them to the store to get their school supplies, spend hours on the phone or chatting through some form of social media. We can fix meals, tuck them into bed, listen to hurts, give direction, and pray with them. We can do so much that is of extreme value and builds into our love relationships, and all of these are things that they desperately need. But this all comes with the humbling understanding that God has largely put us into roles in which we are learning as we go, roles in which we do so imperfectly, and roles in which we regularly realize our limitations.
When we commit before God to care for, raise, train, and love the children He has entrusted to us or to fulfill whatever role we might have in relation to others in our lives, we do so with an understanding that just as He is sovereign over our lives He is also sovereign over theirs. We move forward trusting Him to direct not only our steps but our interactions with others. We even trust Him to do what is best for them as we trust Him to do what is best for us. And when things go awry and we recognize just how limited we are, we can find rest in knowing that God does not have limitations such as ours.
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3–5, NASB95)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7–11, NASB95)
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/23)
Entrust your loved ones to Me; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one – as well as yourself. Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. … I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.
When you release loved ones to Me, you are free to cling to My hand. As you entrust others into My care, I am free to shower blessings on them. My Presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you, as you relax and place your trust in Me. Watch to see what I will do.
When they reached the place God had told them about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:9-12
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us….Ephesians 3:20
The Lord replied, “my Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14