Monday, June 3, 2013

Jill {letting go}

Letting Go… to Watch Them Grow
Last August marked a new life event. My baby girl got engaged to her dream guy! We all knew this was coming. Almost from day one, she was sure he was “the one.” No unrest or anxieties involved with this relationship. It was very assuring to see God work in their lives and in the details of their relationship to confirm that He was orchestrating it all. We were all on board. It was and is a very happy and wonderful time. What follows is an ordinary mom’s perspective and the transition involved.
{last sippy cup in our house}
Engagement is such a joyful event. You really are thrilled in every way that your daughter is going to spend the rest of her life with the guy whom you’ve prayed for - for years. It’s a very special time for a mother to be a part of her daughter’s biggest dreams and plans. What a sweeter blessing could there be! Yet, in the midst of all the happiness, I sensed a change coming.

I felt like we had done our best (not perfectly mind you) to raise this child with all the morals, values and beliefs we’ve held near and dear. We attended every school function, every game, every violin recital, every church activity, and every kind of banquet. We took her to church, sent her to a private school, had family devotions, and tried to make as many special family memories as we could through the years. Yes, we’ve poured our life into this child. No reason to feel anything but sheer joy, right?
For some reason, this event later brought some feelings I was unprepared for. The transition is subtle, but it moves right deep into your heart, undeniably so. This daughter is going from a place where you had all the say - to a place outside of that. Yes, slowly, but surely. You watch up close, yet feel at a distance as you see her growing up and moving on to a new life. She is starting to live out the “cleaving” process. And, this is right and good in every respect, especially biblically. As you watch, you realize this new life status means she’s moved into adulthood. So now you are faced with a choice in the way you parent and relate. Is this easy? No way. You’ve cared for and nurtured this child since day one. Now parenting will take on a whole new twist. It becomes more about their choices and decisions, not yours. Ouch.

It is easy to feel a little “left behind” while this transition takes place. Pity-party you ask? I guess I was feeling maybe the reality of the fact that I wasn’t “all that” any longer. Humbling is a good way to describe it. However, in the midst of reconciling all that, it is comforting to know that God is really at work, in your very own heart. He is my Father, ready and waiting to give His sweet grace to me. Let’s be honest, it’s not about me (or you). What I started to see more starkly than ever was that in order for her to grow and become what God intends for her in life, I must step back. I must let her join her heart with his. I must not try to cling to what was. (Hear me preaching to myself?) Holding on or looking back stunts. Growth can only come through letting go and embracing the new. There will be new life for her and also new life in our home and hearts as well. God is doing a beautiful work and I must join Him. He has plans that are good that include a bright future. He IS orchestrating what we have prayed for and trusted Him for to do in her. I must now look to what He wants to accomplish in the present and the future, not stay in the past. I must not wallow in any regret. I certainly have made many mistakes. We were/are far from perfect. Would those mistakes adversely affect her - the rest of her life? These kinds of questions now came to my mind. “Did I do enough?” “Did I raise her to be what God wanted from us?” “Did I properly equip her to be a godly wife and responsible adult?” “Did I really say all that I’ve wanted to say and do to teach her as a beautiful young woman going out into the world?” Definitely no easy answers here. Only a twinge of indescribable thoughts came to mind through those questions. All of this put a heightened sense of awareness of the days left before us. So there is a choice, stay in the past and pretend like it’s not going to change, or move on and embrace what is before you.

One very important statement I was told early on that was tucked away in the corner of my mind was “Guard your heart.” This means protecting your heart and mind with truth. Put on the truth of God’s Word daily and pray. Major transitions are not easy, but God is in the midst of them - if you step back and see. He teaches us so many valuable lessons that may not come any other way. Don’t let the enemy wreak havoc in your relationship through emotions that go unchecked. I had plenty of emotions and didn’t handle them all in the best way, all of the time. But there are apologies and forgiveness. There is a relinquishing involved, and we can’t fight it. Tell God all about your feelings. He understands them, even if no one else does. And lastly, enjoy the new relationship - both with your daughter and also your son-in-law to be. It is truly a precious, God-given gift to gain another family member that also deeply loves your child and has their best interest at heart.


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