One of the hardest parts of parenting is letting our kids go. I don’t just mean when they graduate from high school and go off to college. Letting go happens over and over again in small steps starting from the time they leave the womb. Sometimes we as parents aren’t aware of this gradual separation because it happens so slowly, almost imperceptibly.
As tiny babies, they want and need to be held a lot. At all hours they require us to meet their every demand. In less than a year’s time, they hardly have time to cuddle as they crawl around exploring the amazing world around them! I tried to snuggle with my sweet little 10 month-old granddaughter today and she seemed to say, “Grandma, I’m way to old for that anymore! Let me down! I have things to explore!” And I was reminded once more how fast they grow.
With each new milestone, it seems a new set of worries can develop if we are not careful to guard our minds against them. As babies and toddlers we are concerned with them putting fingers in electrical outlets, not sleeping through the night, choking on a small toy, falling off of something, running into a busy street, getting lost. As the children grow, the worries change: will they do well in school, eat enough veggies, get home safely, make wise decisions, choose to follow Jesus, make godly friends, say no to alcohol and drugs?
I hate to break it to you, but these concerns don’t magically end when they turn 18 and are legally adults. They just seem to grow: will they eat healthy and take care of their bodies, marry the right person, go to a good college, get a good job, use their time wisely, go to church, continue to follow the Lord, remember all the things we tried to impart to them?
It’s enough to drive a mama mad! So what’s a mother to do when worries and concerns over our children’s well-being assault our minds? Of course, we will be and should be concerned for our kids. They’re our babies and always will be! It’s definitely not wrong and is down right normal to want good things for our children. What I’m talking about is when you can’t sleep at night and it’s because you are so worried about one of your kids that you can’t rest. You have no peace. I’ve been there and it’s not fun.
Of course, we can pray for our children. However, I’ve been learning that there is more to praying for our kids than just telling God our concerns and worries about them. I call those, “worry prayers”. Maybe you know the type–where we pour out all our anxieties over our children’s well-being, but don’t feel better when we are done praying. Why is that? I think it’s because we are praying, but not really trusting God to take over the situation. We aren’t resting in His promises and His perfect love for us and we are forgetting that He loves our children even more than we do. He has given them to us on loan to raise into the men and women He planned for them to be. He wants us to partner with Him, not do it all on our own.
My 17-year-old daughter, Kidron, left early this morning to fly to New York. She is going on a week-long mission trip with our church. This is big for her, for our family. Only one other person in our family has flown before and none of us has ever been to NY. (Yes, we are homebodies!) 🙂 I feel very proud of her, but I also am concerned for her safety. I know she’s in very good hands, but it’s just a mom thing! This experience is just one more “letting go” opportunity for me. Am I going to be on pins and needles all week till she returns and is safely under our roof again? Or am I going to choose to trust God that He is taking care of my baby girl while she is serving Him this week? I want to choose trust.
I prayed for Kidron (and all my kids) this morning using, “The Power of a Praying Parent” book. The author states,
“We don’t want to limit what God can do in our children by clutching them to ourselves and trying to parent them alone. If we’re not positive that God is in control of our children’s lives, we’ll be ruled by fear.”
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I needed to hear that! I don’t want to be ruled by fear. I want to entrust my kids to the all-knowing, all-powerful One who created them for His glory. I want to trust that He’s got everything under control, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
Does all this mean my worries are over and I’ll never feel anxious about my children again? I doubt it. After all, I’m only human and it’s a mom thing! But I can choose to not stay in that anxiousness and fear. I can choose to trust God and release my kids into His capable hands. I can rest and have peace because I am partnering with God and He loves my kids (and yours) more than we can imagine. We don’t have to live in constant fear and worry. We can choose peace because we are entrusting our children to the Prince of Peace.